The snow doesn’t discriminate. Fail to give it the respect it deserves and it will wipe you out – no matter your race, color, creed, religion, or gender.
But while there’s no discrimination when it comes to snowboarding there is a slight difference between men’s and women’s snowboards. And it’s an important thing to know, especially before you hit the slopes. Not sure what that difference is yet? Don’t worry, you will soon enough! Just keep on reading to find out – it promises to be quite a ride.
The 3 Main Differences Between Snowboard for Men and Women
It should come as no surprise that the differences between the snowboards used by men and by women centre around the general difference in men and women’s physiques. Put simply, we’re built differently – so we need a different foundation to support us as we journey through the snow.
The three main differences between a man and a women’s board are as follows:
● Length: Yep, size does matter! Women’s boards are shorter to match their smaller height.
● Width: Making a joke about girth would be too vulgar, so we won’t. Anyway, men’s snowboards are wider to accommodate bigger feet.
● Stiffness: No innuendos at all. Promise. In terms of material and structure, men’s snowboards need to be more rigid because, on average, men are heavier and ride harder.
So they’re the differences that are important in terms of your enjoyment and your safety. They need to be there. What doesn’t need to be there, is the gender stereotypes you may find when you visit an outdoors store. Maybe there are women’s boards off to one side, all girly and feminine-looking, then ones for the boys off to the other side, plastered with barely clothed ladies and dripping in testosterone.
Enough of the typecasting, people! Let’s keep the differences that are necessary, but scrap the rest! Luckily, those old-fashioned, often offensive, boards aren’t so common nowadays. Phew.
Can a Woman Ride a Men’s Snowboard?
Yes, of course. As a woman keen to snowboard, you should be able to use whatever board you want! (Within reason. Your five-year-old son’s board may not suffice.) And there are some cases in which a man’s snowboard would actually make more sense – for instance, if you’re quite tall, it can be hard to find a board with the dimensions you need. After all, the weight and size of the board are important for controlling and maintaining your balance, so whatever you buy should suit your own body weight and height.
Bonus tip: Remember to check the width of the board (if you have smaller feet) and that it isn’t too stiff – especially if you’re new to snowboarding.
Can a Man Ride a Women’s Snowboard?
Just like a taller woman might benefit from using a man’s snowboard, a man on the smaller size of the spectrum might struggle to find their perfect-fitting board. Especially if you happen to have smaller feet, too. You might be able to find a teenager’s snowboard, which should do the trick – or you could choose one made for women.
Bonus tip: Bear in mind that your board should be wide enough, and stiff enough, for you to sail down those slopes with all the power you want beneath you. Go for it!
Men’s vs Women’s Bindings
Bindings can be a little more interchangeable than the boards themselves, seeing as there’s quite a lot of leeway between sizing. Plus, most brands do standard unisex colors, like black or grey.
Still, it’s really important that you choose the right size binding for you – they are, after all, basically your connection to the board. What keeps you steady and (hopefully) standing. And with so much leeway between the sizing – for instance, a Medium in one brand may be very different to a Medium in another – it’s important that you choose carefully. So whether you’re a man or a woman, whether you’re choosing mens or womens bindings, make sure they fit your boot – and your board – like a glove!
So, are Snowboard Bindings Unisex?
Not exactly. Because while a man can often use women’s bindings and vice versa, it still boils down to the differences between boards that we mentioned above. Bindings on a typical men’s 154cm board, for instance, might include a space of up to 256mm between them. On a women’s board of the same length, the bindings could be up to 10mm less. That’s quite a difference when it comes to snowboarding!
The best advice we can offer is to just test them out – on your own feet, with your own boots and on your own board. A top tip is to buy your boots first: then you can choose the right board that fits those boots and after that, bindings will be easier to find.
It might seem like lots of effort now but trust us, you’ll be glad you put in the time once you’re cruising (and not falling) down those slopes.
What About Unisex Boards?
Times are changing and we’ve come a long way from gender-specific boards with their somewhat offensive branding. In fact, some companies are leading the way nowadays with unisex snowboards – including unisex bindings!
This allows outdoorsy couples to save money as they can share a snowboard – although then they’ll miss out on the chance to snowboard together. But if you’re planning a weekend away in the snowy mountains with the girls, borrowing your husband’s snowboard would save you a lot of time and effort in the rental shop. Yay!
Final Thoughts: Get Onboard!
We hope this article has been helpful and that the steep curve of learning to snowboard might be more of a gentle slope now. As with many ‘extreme’ sports, there can be a lot of equipment involved. But surely it’s worth investing your time and money now, for all that sweet freedom it’s about to bring you?!
Anyway, now you know the difference between men’s and women’s snowboard, you’ll be able to cruise through your entire journey. So have fun, and be safe!