The Key Difference Between Men’s and Women’s Snowboards
It is snowing outside! I have lived in a mountain town for three years now, but I still get that jolt of excitement every time it snows. I still rush outside to catch flakes on my tongue and get filled with that crazy joy that only comes from thinking you’re going to get a day off school.
As I wait for the ski resorts to open, I have been scoping the internet for a new board. With some frustration, I have noticed several sites which categorized boards in the following manner:
All Mountain Boards
As though we didn’t need all different kinds of gear! As if girls weren’t shredding the pow, careering down gullies and riding rails! It is frustrating that there are far less “women’s” boards available than men’s.
This raises the question, is there actually any difference between men’s snowboards and women’s snowboards? Or have they just given their boards the “shrink and pink” treatment so that they can attract new buyers?
Specific Boards for Specific Bodies
For a long time, snowboarding brands took a thoughtless approach to gear designed for female bodies. As cis-men made up the bulk of the outdoors industry, this was sadly true across the board: cis-women were an afterthought. This approach tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy: by making women feel like secondary citizens of the slopes, they contributed to keeping the market for women’s boards smaller.
Anyway, snowboards of the 90s and the 00s were virulently sexist: men’s had half-naked women on, and women’s looked like a cupcake had thrown up on them. Men’s received the research budget and technology; women’s were shoddy copies covered in flowers.
The problem with this is that male and female bodies are not the same. Cis-women are, on average, lighter, smaller and have less muscle-mass than cis-men. We also have a lower centre of gravity. These differences make a difference to our movements while riding. For instance…