Determining your ability level will help nail down which type of snowboards you should look at. Many snowboards are actually described as Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert or have a range such as Intermediate to Advanced. The right board can help make learning easier for beginners or have specific characteristics designed for an expert rider.
Beginner – If you’re struggling to stay on your feet or stop without falling you’re a true beginner. But if you’re able to link turns and aren’t too comfortable doing so, you’re at the high-end of beginner.
Intermediate – If you’re comfortable at linking turns but skidding a little bit you’re just entering the intermediate range. If you’re comfortable linking turns on Blue Runs and can somewhat navigate Black runs you’re at the high end of intermediate. You’re also at the high end of intermediate if you’re learning or able to ride switch, can take small jumps in the park, or your able to venture into the backcountry.
Advanced – You’re comfortable to ride black diamonds and some double black diamonds and you can link turns at high speeds or steep terrain. Or you’re comfortable landing most small/medium jumps, handling small/medium features (rails and boxes), able to get in and out of the pipe, or ride off-piste/backcountry with some confidence. At this point, you’ve also probably found your style of riding: all-mountain, freestyle, freeride, park, or powder.
Expert – You’re practically a professional and are sponsored. You’re riding fast down a double-black or challenging backcountry, or taking large/extra-large features at the Park.