A snowboard is a board designed to glide on the snow which is used in the winter sport called snowboarding. The modern version of this sport developed from the 1960’s and became extremely popular. A snowboard is usually 140-165 cm (55-65 in) long and about the width of the feet, although this depends on the type of board. The feet are attached to the board with bindings and the user adopts a similar stance to that of a skateboarder. There are a number of styles of snowboarding and different boards have been developed to cater for these different styles. However, the boards all share some common features including common materials used for construction.
What are snowboards made of?
The core of the board is made from wood, usually poplar or beech, which is then surrounded by layers of laminated fiberglass. The fiberglass provides strength and adds stiffness to the board. Alternatives to the wood core include aluminum, foam, and resin, but these are not commonly used. Other woods such as birch and bamboo are also used occasionally.
The base of the snowboard is made of a special polyethylene (plastic) called ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene, commonly known by the brand name P-Tex. This material is important because it is extremely low friction and allows the board to glide on the snow. A P-Tex base is either extruded (melted into form) or sintered (ground into a powder and then molded into form). A rider will add a certain type of wax to the board depending on the conditions. A third type of base, called sintered hybrid, uses other materials used in the base such as; indium, gallium or graphite, which are added to improve the strength, glide or ability to hold wax.
A strip of metal is used on the edge of the board, which affects the responsiveness of the board depending on how it is setup. This edge is usually sharpened to allow for ice riding.