Women have been down for snowboarding since Day One. In fact, Sherman Poppen invented the "Snurfer" (the 1960s forerunner to the modern snowboard) for his daughter to ride! Even so, ladies didn't always have the same choices men did when it came to snowboarding equipment. But over the past 10-15 years, both women's ridership and talent pushed the limits and the ladies called for more custom equipment. Snowboard manufacturers eagerly took to the task of developing and designing women's-specific boards, boots, bindings and outerwear-- catered towards a woman's height, size, weight,body mechanics, and, of course, her affinity for fashion.


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Women Snowboarder - SnowlinkWhile the look of your board obviously doesn't alter the function of your equipment, it feels good to rock graphics, designs and colors you can relate to, and feel proud of, when you're looking down at it on the lift. Snowboard brands employ talented designers whose job is to know what appeals to snowboarding's feminine side - from colors to designs and treatments. But, no pun intended, this is only scratching the surface.

The most important differences between a men's and a women's board are length, waist width and flex pattern. On average, womenare shorter, with smaller feet and frames than men. A snowboard should reach to about a rider's chin, so women's boards tend to be a bit shorter to accommodate the average female height. A narrower "waist" on a board - the width at its narrowest part - keeps your board to scale with your feet, ensuring optimum steering power and control over your edge. The flex pattern (technology that allows you to bend the board and make it turn) is also specifically designed around the proportions of a lady rider. A female rider is usually lighter-weight, with a lower center of gravity, and needs her board to be a bit softer in order to flex it and get it up on edge.

With the popularity and sales of women's snowboard equipment increasing each year, today women can find a variety of boards tweaked for different riding styles at their disposal. Popular models of men's boards now have their women's counterpart and are designed for a woman to be able to do the same things. Many snowboard companies now offer women's-specific all-mountain, freestyle and freeride boards. Read more about these snowboard shapes here.

The Perfect Connection

Just as boards are being made specifically for women's smaller frame and foot size, so are boots and bindings. Women's boots are typically lighter and narrower than men's versions to reflect their foot shape. Keeping your heel in place is crucial to response time and the progression of a rider. Women's boots also offer shorter and wider ankle cuffs to accommodate the female calf muscle, which attaches lower on the leg than a man's. Ladies' bindings are engineered to best fit the narrower boots snugly. They also have a shorter highback (the part behind your boot) to accommodate the calf muscle. Today's bindings also offer complete adjustability from side to side, in the heelcup and with the amount of forward lean. It might take a little while to get your binding perfectly dialed, but it'll be worth it when you do.

Women Snowboarders - SnowlinkYour setup works best when all the pieces fit together. Equipment compatibility is extremely important. If your boot doesn't jive with your binding, or your binding baseplate can't attach to your board because of the screw holepattern, it's back to the shop. Your stance width needs to be set to accommodate your shoulder width and riding style, too. Make sure everything works together and feels good. Once your setup is put together try it on at the shop or at home and see what feels comfortable BEFORE you get on the mountain, so you can enjoy your day instead of spending a lot of time making adjustments outside the lodge.

Content courtesy of SnowSports Industries America | SIA and Snowlink.com.