How to Buy a Used Snowboard and Save Hundreds
New equipment is extremely expensive. But if you know where to look, you can get amazing deals on barely-used boards. Here's how:
Your snowboard is one of the most expensive purchases you’ll make as a rider. Getting “this year’s model” from big brand manufacturers can easily cost you $500-600. But if you’re willing to put in a little time to do your homework, you can shave hundreds off those prices.
I’ve only Bought a Brand New Snowboard Once. Never Again.
Buying used can save you astronomical amounts of money, especially if you have expensive taste. Burton boards for example, can easily crack upwards of $500 when new; but I got this Modified Fish for $150.
I was also able to lock down a sweet Rossignol Sashimi for more than $200 off retail. Someone bought the board, took it out for a single lap and returned it because, quote, “I don’t like the way it feels in pow.”
Of course, these are two success stories. But anyone who has browsed the bargain bin, or Facebook Marketplace can attest: some sellers are trying to take you for a ride. (And hey, that’s the snowboard’s job.)
For this piece, I’ll be using my bead-up rock board as an example of how different kinds of damage impact the overall ride; what you can live with; and what should be a deal breaker.
Many blemishes and scratches here are strictly cosmetic. Be on the lookout for large chips or peeling sections, particularly near the edges.
These can allow moisture to work its way deeper into your snowboard and cause problems. But for the most part, topsheet issues are the least concerning on this list.
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Flip the board over. Some scratches and scuffs are to be expected. We’re looking for evidence of core shots; impacts that completely stripped away the outer protective layer.
These big black lines are deep gouges that were filled in with Ptex. Here, the repair was right up against the edge, signifying an impact that almost rendered the board irreparable.
The Edges / sidewall
Flip the board on its side. The first thing you’re looking for is any defect or break in the metal surface that digs into the snow and ice. Here, you can see the metal has actually been bent out of shape by an impact. This is a structural weak point in the board that can never be fully repaired. It’s also an absolute magnet for catching edges.
You’re also going to be looking for damage to the sidewalls themselves. Vertical cracks between the base and the topsheet are signs the board have taken a significant impact, that may have weakened the board. My example board shockingly does not have noticeable side wall damage. What we do see, are some horizontal cuts and gouges. These are pretty much surface level, and don’t impact the board’s integrity.
Be on the look out for places where the sidewall has separated from either the edge, or the top sheet. This is another way moisture can get into the board and cause more damage.
Considerations for different board types
Different kinds of used boards are harder to buy used than others. Powder boards are the absolute easiest, because they’re typically only taken out in the softest of conditions.
When looking at all-mountain and freeride boards, your primary concerns will be base or edge damage sustained in the trees.
Park boards — in my opinion — are the hardest to find in good condition. Impacts from jumps, jibbing, etc. can mess with a board’s structural integrity. Triple check the edges and sidewalls for impact damage.
Where to Actually Look
I mentioned above: I mostly try to grab demo boards and overstock from local shops.
Ski resort rental shops (at season’s end)
Outdoor Gear Exchange
Special Considerations — Online Marketplaces
Use extra care when buying peer-to-peer (i.e. Facebook Marketplace.) You won’t have the same recourse and customer protection if the seller tries to take advantage of you. Some sellers on these platforms have wildly unrealistic expectations for how much money they can get for a board. Then again: you could also stumble onto something great.
Just be careful! If you do go this route, I’d recommend closely looking at the pictures for the kinds of damage we discussed. Also remember to meet up to exchange your gear in a safe public place. Some police stations and sheriff’s offices will actually let you use their lobby as a meeting spot for exchanges.
I wish you the best in your search for quality used gear. If you have any questions I didn’t cover in the guide, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have your own gear buying tips you’d like to share, leave a comment below!
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