If you’re the proud owner of a snowboard, you might be worried about snapping or breaking your prized possession. A broken snowboard is no laughing matter and you’ll want to do your utmost to prevent this from happening.
It is possible to break a snowboard. This can be caused by an existing crack or damage in the fiberglass being subject to a strong impact of force. Landing very hard on the tail and awkward landings with large amounts of force can also result in the snowboard breaking or snapping. Extreme over flexing of the snowboard will also cause it to snap.
Now we’ve established a snowboard can break, let’s look at why it happens and go over a few of the ways to mitigate any unnecessary snowboard casualties.
Why Snowboards Break
- Landing heavily on the tail
- Jumping big gaps onto rails
- Awkward landings
- Existing damage
- Quality of the board
- Hitting rocks
Whether you’re just starting out with snowboarding or you’ve been hitting the slopes for multiple years, despite being a rarity, board breakages can and will happen.
By no means fragile, snowboards are designed and built to be durable, resilient, and flexible, however indestructible they are not. Like any object, if you apply enough force in the right places the laws of physics will prevail.
Whilst there are several reasons as to why a snowboard might snap or break, there are generally a few main culprits that you’ll often hear of.
Landing Heavily On the Tail
One of the main reasons why snowboards break is landing heavily on the tail. A few factors can affect this – size of the jump, weight of the person on the board, the angle of the board when landing, any existing damage or underlying splits, etc. And sometimes its just pure bad luck.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s always best to land straight with the board parallel to the ground. This allows the force of the jump to be evenly spread throughout the board, as opposed to concentrating the whole force of the jump on one spot.
Jumping Big Gaps Onto Rails
Another cause for snowboards breaking is jumping big gaps onto rails. A perfect opportunity for a solid wipeout and the more often you do them, the weaker your snowboard will become. Sooner or later, it’s only a matter of time before you achieve snapped-board status.
Awkward landings are another prime suspect, in most cases, this shouldn’t be too much to worry about but if there’s an underlying split or break in the board then its a recipe for disaster. Learning to land jumps takes time and practice, and falling down is part of the learning process, so don’t let the fear of snapping your board get in the way.
Simply put, the more stress and impact a snowboard is subject to over its life the weaker it becomes, and the likelihood of a snap increases. Avoiding big jumps onto rails is a good way to prolong your board’s longevity.
Quality of Board
You get what you pay for, as they say, and snowboards are no exception. A second-hand snowboard off craigslist that’s had a hard life and is in a bad way has a much greater chance of snapping sometime soon. Compare that with a brand new snowboard from a reputable brand like Burton or Saloman and there really is no comparison.
Whilst hitting a rock will usually result in cracks in the board, sometimes this will be enough damage to the board where it’s beyond repair. Rocks become problematic when there’s not enough snow and is more of an issue on the east coast during early and late season riding. Landing hard directly onto a rock is never going to do your board any favors.
Landing a Jump Properly to Avoid Damaging Your Snowboard
One of the best ways to prevent your board from snapping is learning how to land a jump properly. Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind.
When learning to jump a key factor that’s often overlooked is having a good approach. Having the right amount of speed and positioning makes a big difference.
For the approach do two to four quick turns – this will set your speed and line you up with the jump.
These quick turns allow you to set the correct amount of pace to hit the sweet part of the landing. Additionally, these quick turns will also line you up so that you’re pointed straight off the take-off.
Next up is the take-off. This is where you’ll pop off the kicker and you’ll make the jump. Stability and balance mid-air are crucial – this can be achieved by arriving at the lip of the jump with a reasonably flat base.
As your board approaches the lip of the jump, pop or jump into the air – this will help to bring your knees up which in turn will keep you more balanced mid-flight. A general rule of thumb is to ensure your shoulders, knees and hips are all square to your snowboard with your head looking in the direction of travel, over your shoulder.
On descent as you approach the ground, extend your legs so that you can bend your knees as you hit the snow and absorb the impact. The board should be parallel to the ground as you land to evenly distribute the force of landing across the board. Finish off with another two to four turns to control your speed.How To Maintain Your Snowboard
Can You Repair a Snapped Snowboard?
If part of the snowboard is completely snapped whether its the tail, nose, or in the middle of the board the best thing to do is to replace it.
From a safety perspective even the best attempts to rectify the board will leave you with a compromised board that could give out whilst your on a mountain.
The cost of a new deck will cost you in the region of $200 – $300, snapping one mid-ride could potentially end your season and land you with a medical bill.
On the other hand, small gouges can be repaired. This type of damage is usually fairly superficial. If the gouge is shallow or mid-depth and does not touch the edge, there’s a good chance it’s repairable. If the gouge is cavernous and touches the core or the edge, take your snowboard to a shop to be repaired.
Are Snowboards Flexible?
Snowboards are designed and built to bend and be flexible. The amount of snowboard flex needed is very much down to personal preference and depends on a variety of factors including body weight, style, and ability. Most boards will be flex rated on a scale of 1-10, each rating has its uses and will be suited to different scenarios.
Snowboard Flex, as the name suggests, describes how flexible a snowboard is.
- 1-2 equates to soft flex
- 3-4 is medium-to-soft flex
- 5-6 is a medium flex
- 7-8 means medium-to-stiff flex
- 9-10 is stiff flex
There are two types of flex to consider:
From the tail to the tip of the board is known as longitudinal flex. Flex ratings given by manufacturers refer to the longitudinal flex and it can be either progressive or continuous.
Continuous flex means the flex is consistent throughout the board.
Progressive flex means that the tail, tip, and center could all have different amounts of flex. For example, a softer flex between the bindings, with the tip and tail being stiffer.
Torsional Flex is the flex measured across the board’s width from edge to edge. When deciding a snowboard purchase this attribute is rarely taken into consideration.