Downhill snowboard

Downhill snowboards are commonly referred to as carving, alpine or race snowboards, and are best used by more experienced snowboarders. Whereas freeride and freestyle snowboards are designed and regularly used for performing tricks, downhill snowboards have only a shovel on the nose, look noticeably narrower - almost like an enlarged ski - and are intended simply for riding and carving at high speed downhill.

The stiff, narrow construction of a downhill snowboard makes it ideal for speedy edge turns, and provides stronger edge-holding power when boarding on hard snow and good stability for high speed travel downhill.

There are three main types of downhill snowboard: race, freecarve, and all-mountain. Race boards are most commonly used by thoroughly experienced downhill snowboarders, as particularly evidenced by the fact that they are raced at national and World Cup parallel slalom and parallel giant slalom and Olympic level parallel giant slalom competitions. Freecarve boards are intended for carving on groomed trails, and, as such, are similar to race boards, but intended to be ridden recreationally and at a slower pace. Finally, all-mountain boards are designed for strong carving and all-terrain riding, and are wider than race and freecarve boards, while also having larger noses and rounded tails.

There are many notable alpine snowboarders, of which perhaps the most successful is the Austrian professional snowboarder Siegfried Grabner. He has been several times champion in ISF and FIS Series, has won an Olympics bronze medal, and supports the SG Pro Team, the only international Brand "PRO TEAM" still competing in downhill snowboarding.

Sadly, alpine snowboarding has become an increasingly niche interest over time, though highly skilled alpine snowboarders can still take part in the high profile slalom and giant slalom events held every season by the USASA (United States of America Snowboard Association).

But why would you want to have a shot at such events, and buy a downhill snowboard for yourself? Well, often, snowboarders who have thoroughly honed their abilities in freeride and freestyle snowboarding like to purchase a downhill snowboard to help them learn the more advanced craft of alpine snowboarding. What snowboarder doesn't love to take on a new challenge?

And what a unique challenge using a downhill snowboard can pose. Many boarders prefer to use a snowboard for racing, for which a downhill snowboard is ideal, rather than performing tricks - as evidenced by the recreational use of race-oriented downhill snowboards by more experienced alpine snowboarders. Many other boarders just like to use a downhill snowboard for achieving high speeds and making quick turns on hard and unridden snow.

Carving using a downhill snowboard is similarly popular among snowboarders who enjoy its 'roller coaster' sensation, and enjoy snowboarding without skidding. This form of downhill snowboarding also makes a great spectator sport, as carving snowboarders can achieve the kind of beautiful turns rarely seen elsewhere on the slope.

Given these incentives of downhill snowboarding, it is unfortunate that it tends to have a rather more niche following today. Before you rush off to buck the trend and buy that new downhill snowboard, though, there is just one other important point to be made. Many people casually and erroneously use the term 'downhill snowboard' to refer to a freeride or all-mountain snowboard. This is because 'downhill' is the term used to describe freeride or all-mountain skis; 'downhill skis' refers to all the common types of alpine skis, sparing cross-country alpine skis.

Hopefully, being familiar with the main jargon used to describe different types of downhill snowboard should aid you in your plight to buy your very own downhill snowboard. Happy boarding!