I am a beginning snowboarder and am getting ready to buy a board. What size should I purchase and are there girl-specific boards?
— Laura, Tahoe-bound
The basic rule of thumb is that your snowboard placed lengthwise on the ground should reach up to your chin. Chin- to-nose level is probably your best bet, as you can learn on this board and also improve on it. Think you will be hitting the half-pipe? A slightly shorter board may be easier to maneuver, good when you are new, and is used for performing tricks. A bit longer board (eye-level and up) is going to be good for deep powder and zooming down the hill. Also, take into account if you are heavy or light for your height; this can affect the length and also the flex of the deck (heavier = longer and less flexible; lighter = shorter and more flexible). Don’t forget that the width of the board should correlate with your shoe size and stance on the deck. The board should be the same length as your feet on the board or just a just a hair under allowing you to turn easily. Absolutely look into women specific boards and models; while these aren’t necessary, they are a bit lighter and narrower and are usually designed by women for women — and we approve!
Enjoy the ride,