As an extreme sport, snowboarding takes an inevitable toll on one’s equipment. If you are in the market for your own equipment or feel like your current snowboard has lost its original flex and pop, you might be interested to learn how long a snowboard should typically last.
An average snowboard should last a rider between 150 and 200 days of riding. Assuming you handle your board relatively well and don’t grind the base on every rock out there, a rider should experience about 100 days of high riding quality from a new board. The following 50 days will not be as good but still enjoyable.
If you ride your board longer than that, you will begin to notice general wear and tear, often beginning with a damaged core and broken rails.
Let’s dig a bit deeper.
How long do snowboards stay in good condition?
How long your snowboard maintains its quality is dependent on a bunch of variables. These include:
- The type of board you ride. For example, a park board might be used less often than an all-mountain board but will experience heavier wear and tear. However, unless you’re a professional competitor, a park board could last you over 5 seasons.
- How well you care for your equipment. Keeping your board waxed during the off-season and getting a base grind every so often can extend the life of your board substantially. If possible, you should replace your equipment as soon as it loses its lateral and torsional flex instead of waiting for the base to deteriorate. As long as you purchase good quality gear, your boards and bindings should last you a good amount of time.
- Your level of boarding expertise and how often you ride.
Decent riding days
Some snowboard brands state that boards should hold their quality for between 75 and 100 days.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that a board becomes unrideable past this stage, however, riders should expect a faster decline in the quality of ride after putting in a solid 100 days of boarding.
In contrast, some riders feel that a decent board only starts to give-in after 250 days on the mountain. For the average seasonal rider who uses their board for a week each year, a board could last an entire snowboarding career.
Naturally, these boards would require some maintenance and waxing to care for the base and edges. Often this rider profile only purchases a new board when they feel like a change of rocker or camber.
The condition of your board depends on how much time you spend on the board and how well you snowboard.
Camber profile, stiffness, base, edges
The type of board you ride makes a big difference too. Different board profiles have variable rockers and cambers, many of which are hybrids between the two.
The more cambered your board is, the more curve it has to lose over time. Boards with flat bases and rockered tips don’t have a camber to lose, and often last longer.
All boards eventually reach a stage where they lose their lateral and torsional rigidity, and where their bases and edges have been grinded and sharpened to the core.
There is only so much base to grind and edge to sharpen before you run out of material. Before you reach this stage, you might prefer to replace your board and even try a different board profile.
Snowboard design is constantly improving, and there is a huge difference between the quality of boards made 15 years ago than those pioneered today.
Regardless of this, a board which has powered through 5 seasons and has reached the end of its days can still be used to mess around on dicey rocky runs.
How long do riders keep their boards?
All riders are different. Some prefer to ride a board for only one season, while others choose to run their equipment into the ground.
Some choose to buy a new board each season to keep up-to-date and test out different technologies, selling their old board before it is even run-in.
Those satisfied with their current gear may choose to buy a new board of the same model each season, selling the previous board while it’s still in decent condition.
If you’re a beginner, you might want to look at starter packages which often offer a special deal for a bunch of gear (boots, boards and bindings).
Depending on how many days you ride each season, your first board could last 3 seasons before you choose to upgrade to a more advanced board.
Extending the life of a snowboard
No matter how well you treat your snowboard, repetitive use will wear out your edges and base. Especially if you enjoy riding back-country, riding over rocks and stones might shave some considerable time off your board’s life.
Certain boards decline faster than others. For example, a hybrid camber or hybrid rocker freeride board may not last more than a couple of years, even if you don’t take these boards into a demanding park environment.
Because the average snowboarder spends most of their time carving between from edge to toe, the edges of your board are often the first to wear out. Such wear and tear is almost always accelerated by hitting a couple of rocks along the way. This can be fixed by shaving and sharpening the sidewall.
A few tips to extend the life of your board
- Always wipe your board dry after using it. This helps reduce rust build up on the metal edges.
- Store your board in a dry, room temperature place outside of direct sunlight.
- Wax your board at the end of every season or vacation and leave this wax on in storage. This helps to prevent the board from drying out over the year and will ensure your board rides faster and smoother the following season.
- Before the next season, scrape off the old wax and add a fresh coat.
- If you are boarding for an entire season, you should consider waxing your board a couple of times during the season for optimal performance. It is recommended to wax your board every 5 to 10 trips if you’re a recreational boarder and even more if you’re a professional.
- You should tune your board every few years once it has been properly ridden in. A board tune includes grinding the base and sharpening the edges. This is especially necessary for the underside of boards which have seen their fair share of rocks and debris. A full tune and repair can cost you up to $75.
- Only grind the base of your board when necessary, as there are only so many times you can grind a board before you run out of material to grind.
- Keep your own stock of P-Tex, wax, Loctite and a range of files and scrapers on hand during your vacation or season. P-Tex (polyethylene) is the base material of a snowboard. These items can be super useful for conducting overnight repairs.
How long does a snowboard last in storage?
As long as your board is stored dry, well supported and waxed, it can last for over 10 years in storage without deteriorating too much. Most riders store their boards for about 6 months in between seasons each year.
Seasonal boarders take note: storing a board standing upright for a long period of time can alter the camber profile and flex of your board. Although this won’t destroy the board, it’s better to keep your board stored flat and well supported.
Before putting your board away, it is recommended to wax the base to keep the P-Tex from drying out during the off-season.
If there is any existing rust on your rails, give your board a quick edge tune to make sure it doesn’t spread.
Ideally, you should keep your board bone try for storage. Any substantial moisture can impact the wood core and lamination quality.
How long do bindings and boots last?
Your boots and bindings are most likely to break before your board. Bindings can last anywhere from 50 to 100 days.
Of your snowboarding gear, boots are usually replaced most often. Boots directly contribute to every aspect of the comfort of your ride. For most, a pair of boots will last between 1 and 2 full seasons.
After 50 days or so on a single pair of bindings, you might want to add some Loctite to your metal screws to prevent them from loosening and corroding. Loose screws are common and can also be caused by stripped snowboard sockets.
Loctite Blue is useful for preventing screws from loosening while you ride. Simply add the adhesive solution to the screws and make sure to let it dry completely before reassembling the bindings.
It is advised to keep your bindings and boots out of direct sunlight and any extreme temperatures. Plastic, foam and rubber are fragile materials and are susceptible to disintegration, tearing and general wear and tear.
The quality of your bindings heavily affects their lifespan. Some bindings last only a couple of seasons and others much longer. Usually, binding ladders and ratchets strip and crumble first. They are easy to replace.
Next to go will likely be your ankle strap, which absorbs the most amount of tension as you ride. These are also relatively easy to replace as long as your bindings are not outdated.
With this information, it is clear that while the lifespan of your snowboarding equipment may be contingent on a bunch of factors, looking after your gear and keeping it in good condition can considerably extend its expected life.
(1) Featured image: “Powder” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gavin Craigie
(2) “Pressed and ready for cutting” (CC BY 2.0) by Ruth and Dave
(3) “Powder Sucks!” (Public Domain) by liamgrehan
(4) “Sweet Snowboard Bench” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Maddapple