“You will get blisters. You will get aches and pains. But you will also get good."
So said the roadie in Wayne’s World 2, and while his no-pain-no-gain sentiment is true of most things, beginner snowboarders have never had less to worry about while on the path to riding success. Entry level snowboards are made to be forgiving and predictable, helping to build confidence quickly and easily.
"It’s surprising how many of our grizzled testers had an absolute ball on what are technically ‘beginner’ boards"
The jury’s still out on what kind of profile is best for learning the basics, so you’ll find a varied mix of cambers, rockers and flats here. All, however, boast a fairly forgiving flex that allows you to manipulate the board quickly and easily. They might not be able to hold a strong edge at Mach 3, but that’s not a concern if a red run still gives you pause.
Having said that, it’s surprising how many of our grizzled testers had an absolute ball on what are technically ‘beginner’ boards. The fact that these are capable of much more than basic turns means you’re unlikely to outgrow them after one season. Here are ten of the best models out there:
All boards are in alphabetical order, other than the category winner which can be found at the end of the list.
All photographs by Sami Tuoriniemi
Production: Ed Blomfield / Mike Brindley / Andrew Duthie / Sami Tuoriniemi
If you reckon a rocker board is the best profile for starting out, then the Foundation is definitely one to consider.
It’ll help you dial in those first turns with reduces risk, and once the confidence comes you’ll find it easy to press the piste and figure out the basics of powder.
Now featuring Burton’s ‘Flying V’ profile, the Blunt is technically aimed at those who’ve already done a bit of snowboarding.
However, it’s certainly mellow enough to be anyone’s first board, and comes at a great price.
The sintered base and Frostbite edges mean that you won’t feel held back by the Blunt, so it’ll last you a while too.
Here’s another rocker stick, but one that’s geared a little more towards freestyle.
With a true twin shape and beveled edge, it’s ready to hit park features as soon as you are.
Until then it’s light and flexible enough to maneuver easily, and comes at a great price.
Despite the name, this isn’t one for ultra high speeds.
However, those looking to dial in their first turns will get a ‘rush’ of their own when its forgiving flex, rocker profile and lightweight poplar core carries them beyond beginner status and into the realms of all-mountain exploration.
Lib Tech Skate Banana
So this one isn’t technically an entry-level board – and isn’t priced as such – but our testers reckoned that its combo profile and flex made it a great choice for those just starting out.
Given that it’s a quality all-rounder, it also means you won’t have to upgrade when you get really good.
If the Elle isn’t the most affordable entry-level board out there, it’s definitely a contender.
Naturally it’s not boasting loads of tech, but it’s got it where it counts and leaves you with much more cash for liftpasses.
If you’re a female snowboarder on a budget, make sure you check this one out.
Flat bases like those on the Nitro Prime make edge catches less likely, while also offering great edge hold during turns on firm snow.
That’s great news for those who want something with which they grasp the basics, and that will also offer stability at speed when they’re ready to push the boat out.
By taking their popular Assassin model and stripping it back to basics, Salomon have created something that’s forgiving for the newbie but capable of more advanced stuff – especially freestyle.
Once you’ve mastered the basics on this, it’ll still be great for the next level – or you can always step up to an Assassin!
“Only the best, right from the start" say Volkl about their entry-level stick, and the Spade certainly is built for more than just those first linked turns on the green runs.
The combination of directional shape and flat base that make everything from freestyle to powder a future possibility - and on this, it won’t take long to get to that standard.
WINNER - Burton Clash
The Clash was the runaway champion for this category. Now boasting a flat profile rather than a rocker, the essence of what has made this a popular entry-level board for over a decade remains – in fact, it’s now better than ever.
It ticked all the right boxes for piste-cruising thanks to its directional shape, and the slightly tapered tail really delivered in powder. It's a blast to pop it off side-hits too.
Testers expecting a basic, underwhelming ride were properly impressed with what the Clash can offer a more experienced rider, and all agreed that beginners would have no issues with it either.