- Snowboard Physics -

Snowboard Physics?

Learning "Snowboard Physics" is in order, to fully enjoy and maximize your snowboarding experience. I will breifly touch on Gravity, Momentum, Acceleration, Inertia, etc... However, it is not the science that I want to convey, but more so an understanding how a rider, a board and physics come together to form a fluid creative outlet.

It is a good idea to work towards understanding your equipment and how you as a rider will use it to manipulate snowboard physics. Understanding how and why it works the way it does. We're talking about all the equipment. Such as snowboarding outerwear, boots, bindings, boards, goggles or glasses and all the other accessories. Like tuning and waxing tools, not to mention binding tools. How and why it all works the way it does. Then understanding how the equipments characteristics combine body movements over the board and physical laws of nature to become snowboarding.

In the following snowboard physics definitions, I want to teach you about the relationship between you the rider and the gear. Though the brands and styles you choose will reflect your personality and are your choice, I feel it is extremely important that you understand the physical effects of the makeup and construction of your gear. That way you can utilize the equipment and your skill to reach towards your potential as a rider.

-for a good place to start-
Check out: Snowboard Reviews Snowboard Science Page

A Snowboarders’ Weapon of Choice

The quality of snowboards continues to rise, consistently trying to find a construction and design that offers the best board characteristics.

  • A snowboarder gets to utilize and manipulate physics, i.e. Gravity, Momentun, Acceleration and Inertia through the use of a snowboards design. The boards design will hold certain riding characteristics, that are a reflection of the boards Flex, Camber, Side cut, Length, Edge Contact, Shape and Board Construction.
  • The design of the board will define such riding characteristics, including Turning Capabilities, Durability, Stability, Edge Hold, Liveliness or Snap, Swing Weight, and Float.
  • All of these factors together create the feel of the board when riding. Therefore, it is good for a rider to experiment to find what they like or dislike in the characteristics of a board and what combination of factors give a board the ride the individual is looking for.

As in any sport, along with progression comes the need for more and more specialized equipment. In the following, I explain the key factors to make a snowboard ride the way it does, and why.

  • Flex-- The flex of a board is basically the resistance or give that is experienced when the board is bent. Flexes are characterized as soft or stiff.

    (Longitudinal flex)

    –Which is the bend of the entire length of the board. This will give the characteristic of liveliness, also known as the snap. A board that is stiffer will be livelier or have more snap than a board that is softer. This snap will aid in the ability to Ollie or pop of off the tail or nose, and define the feel of the board in a off-balance landing or turn, in terms of the ability to recover. A softer board will be easier to turn, but harder to recover on, because the board will be less able to hold your weight over the tip or tail and lead to a fall. While a stiffer board is more difficult in turn initiation (especially for a beginner), but recovers better because it is more likely to hold your body weight over the tip or tail, and give you a better opportunity to push off of the weighted end of the board, moving back into a stable position.

    (Torsional flex) --The torsional flex will define a boards ability to hold and edge through a carve. A board that is stiff torsionaly, whether it is soft or stiff longitudinally, will hold and edge well. Meaning that a torsionaly soft board has less edge grip or bite in a carved turn. The way to test this is to check the ability to twist a board, so that the tip and tail are rotating in opposite directions. This is its torsional flex.