If you’re looking for a new snowboard, you might be wondering what all the talk about “aggressive snowboards” is about and whether such a board is for you.
Whether you’re into carving down steep runs or charging through powder, an aggressive snowboard could be just what you need to up your game. But what exactly does “aggressive” mean for a snowboard? Harder to ride? Sharper edge?
An aggressive snowboard is one that will let you ride faster, harder, and dig your edges deeper in all sorts of conditions and terrain. It will be on the stiffer side and will either be a camber or camber-dominant profile with a bit of rocker at the tips.
In this post, we explore what makes one snowboard more aggressive than another, and how to choose the right one for your riding needs.
What makes an aggressive snowboard?
Aggressive boards are for riders who ride fast and want to push the board further. These boards are generally stiffer than the usual mid-range, both laterally and torsionally, and often cambered. They are designed to withstand high pressure in turns at high speed.
In addition to stiffness, aggressive boards have grippy edges that feel sharper (even though it’s not actually the case) and are less likely to slide or skid. They are great for fast and deep carving including on hard-packed and icy snow.
The catchy edges tend to make these boards harder to turn at lower speeds, and hence less forgiving for learners and less experienced riders who do a lot of speed checks and don’t yet have great turn form.
All the highly rated all-mountain boards are not aggressive charger boards, however. Many all-mountain models nowadays focus more on freestyle and park vs aggressive freeride.
Opposite of aggressive boards are softer boards which are fun and easy to butter at low speed, but are unstable at speed and will wash out and lose an edge when you’re carving and turning hard.
Aggressive boards are stiffer and usually cambered to allow support for high-speed turns.
Traditional full camber vs new hybrid camber
If you’re looking for an aggressive snowboard, old-school camber combined with new technology such as dampening material and modern radius is one option. These boards will hold a solid edge with little or no chatter when bombing downhill.
On the flip side, traditional camber snowboards are harder to skate on and easier to fall on flats e.g. when getting off the lift, as they generally have a very catchy edge. This is due to these boards having a lot of camber right up front.
There are now alternative options to traditional camber for stable aggressive boards that work in a wide range of terrain and conditions.
Camber-dominant snowboards e.g. those with “S camber” hybrid profiles and uplifted contact points are a lot more forgiving and less catchy compared to full traditional camber models.
New camber boards with rockered tips, although still aggressive, let you ride flat on your base in a much more relaxed way than traditional cambers. Popular examples are the GNU Antigravity and the Jones Flagship.
In contrast, even newer pure traditional camber models – e.g. the 2018 Nitro Team and many Burton models – are as precise but as catchy as the older models.
That said, if you’re looking for an aggressive board, whether you should choose a full camber or camber-dominant hybrid is a matter of personal choice and riding style.
Some riders can’t live without the precision and feel of true traditional camber, while others just want an aggressive and stable board that can be ridden in all sorts of challenging conditions while being decently forgiving.
The Rome Blur, for example, has a slight rocker in the nose and tail. It’s not exactly full camber but still offers great edge grip and stability.
When looking for an aggressive board, look for a model specifically designed as a charger board for experienced riders.
Hybrid rocker or camrock boards with a lot of rocker, on the other hand, will typically not be very aggressive. If you’re more of a mellow rider and enjoy riding slow and jibbing but still need some grip in icy conditions, a hybrid rocker, possibly with Magne traction, might be a better option.
What is aggressive riding?
Aggressive snowboards may be defined as board designed to be ridden aggressively. These boards are generally for intermediate to advanced riders who can reliably link turns and hold their edge through them.
Aggressive riding involves really attacking steep runs by charging hard, leaning into the hill, and making dynamic moves. It’s about pushing yourself and your skills for riding steeper and faster making use of the full potential of your board and of the terrain and line.
Aggressive snowboarding is more than just about speed, it involves carving hard by putting in significant muscle effort to push your edges deep into the snow, making tighter and harder turns to keep the acceleration going.
When riding aggressively, you keep a low stance and bent knees and dynamically transition from one edge to the other while you tilt your snowboard to always stay on an edge.
Aggressive boarders connect carved turns (as opposed to skidded turns) all the way down steep hills , staying over their board and holding their speed, including in rough snow.
You might aggressively ride groomers and moguls. Riding steeps (40º+ slopes) aggressively is likely the most challenging of all, specially if it involves rougher terrain or conditions.
As mentioned earlier, a stiffer setup will typically give you the confidence to push. Let’s look at a few good examples.
Aggressive snowboard examples
- Yes Hel Yes: this hybrid camber board is designed for charging the mountain. It has great edge hold including in icy conditions, yet isn’t catchy.
- Jones Ultra Mountain Twin: a stiff and aggressive board, camber-dominant, though more forgiving than a traditional camber twin. The Rocker-Camber-Rocker (not full camber) profile makes this board really stable but playful and easier to ride e.g. on flats.
- Burton Custom X: long-standing uber-popular full camber snowboard for aggressive charging. Its main downside is its lack of float in powder, but it’s a great option if you don’t ride pow a lot or have a dedicated pow board in your quiver.
- Rome Blur: as I mentioned earlier, the Blur has a bit of rocker in the nose and tail but is a very stable board with excellent edge hold. Also good for switch riding.
- Other good charging boards: Rome Mod, Gnu Mullair, Yes Optimistic, Lib Hot Knife, Mervin C3
An aggressive snowboard is built for high-performance riding. It usually comes with a stiffer flex, camber or hybrid camber profiles, and a directional shape. It’s generally aimed at experienced riders.
Before opting for a truly aggressive snowboard, make sure that’s really what you need and that you have the advanced carving skills required. If not, you can opt for something a bit less aggressive albeit still damp and stable, e.g. a medium+ stiff board with a longer effective edge.
A flexy board, on the other hand, won’t let you dig well into hardpack and ice for aggressive riding.
Monday 20th of March 2023
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Wednesday 15th of March 2023
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