The snowboard industry is filled to the brim with gear reviews and awards. But what does all of this mean to the rider? What can/should you get out of all this information? For every snowboard, binding, boot, etc… there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of opinions about them. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s very useful and can help you make a more informed purchase decision. However, you should be careful about how you utilize all of this information.
Your purchase decision should not be made solely based off a review or award. The reason is simple: everyone has their individual preferences. This means that you should only use reviews and magazine awards as guidance rather than the reason. You want to look for riders that fit your profile: similar weight, boot size, type of terrain ridden, and style of riding. These reviewers should have the most relevance to you. When viewing other riders’ (that do not fit your profile) reviews, filter for information on tech and quality. How the board rides for them is irrelevant to you if they have a different body type unless they are on an equal weight/boot-to-board size ratio as you. If the reviewer is on the same size board as you, but weighs 20lbs more, the board handles differently for him/her. Also pay attention to the rider’s skill-level. The same skill level will give you a general idea of how a board will ride for you now. More advanced riders will give you an idea of what you have to look forward to as you progress to their level. You can even take useful information away from lesser skilled riders. After all, if you are more advanced than them, that means you were once in their position. You probably still ride like them when you aren’t doing the advanced stuff. Perhaps they even know more about the gear than you!
The most important information to look for is ones that the majority of reviewers agree on. If most of them agree that a model has excellent edge response, then you can be pretty sure that this is the case. If most of them agree that the snowboard gets really sketchy on steeps, then you should take note.
All of this applies to any product really. One person might say that an iPod sucks because theirs broke after one drop during a jog. The question at hand is, do you jog as much as that person? If you see that everyone is talking about how fragile the iPod is, then you can be pretty confident that you have to be careful with it no matter how you use it. Product reviews can be an invaluable tool to making an informed decision. However, it is really easy to get lost in it all. Your best bet is educating yourself on the products first. Then narrow down your list until you absolutely cannot decide between them. Finally, start your review research to help guide you to your final choice. SHRED!