For the 50+ Traveler

1
Emsco Group ESP Freeride Snowboard

Top Pick
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If your child or grandchild wants to snowboard, but you want to ease in and not spend a fortune, this is a fantastic option. It occupies the territory partway between snowboarding-inspired toy and full-on snowboard, and young riders can definitely use it to coast down snowy hills and practice their balance. It has a decidedly snowboarder aesthetic thanks to its cosmic motif.

The board is made of solid polypropylene and it has adjustable bindings that should accommodate any snow boots. The upside of this is that you won’t have to invest in snowboarding boots, too. The downside is that the fit is not very secure, and the rider’s feet will inevitably come out of them from time to time.

The board can accommodate riders up to 95 pounds, but some reviewers say it can accommodate larger individuals, including adults. One reviewer who gave the product a five-star review notes that the Freeride board helped him gain confidence on smaller slopes and now he’s graduated to a real snowboard. Another calls this a “great board for kids who are just starting to snowboard.”

“Don't waste your money on an expensive board for a kid,” she warns. “They lose interest too easily. This is a perfect board for a beginner.”

Of course, this budget board isn’t loved by everyone. Some reviewers note that it doesn’t have the metal edge of a real board, the finishings look cheap, the decals aren’t placed appropriately, and the surface scratches easily. Finally, since the binding straps are riveted on, the board cannot be ridden switch or goofy.

Key Features

  • Accommodates riders up to 95 pounds
  • Polypropylene construction
  • Adjustable bindings

Specifications

  • Brand: Emsco Group
  • Board Length: 110 centimeters
  • Weight limit: 95

Pros

  • Real snowboard look
  • Very affordable
  • Doesn’t require dedicated snowboarding boots

Cons

  • Not all buyers are happy with the quality; may scratch easily
  • No metal edge
  • Bindings are not secure but are riveted in place, so board cannot be ridden switch or goofy

2
STAUBER Summit Snowboard & Binding Package

Honorable Mention
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This snowboard and binding package isn’t specifically designed for children, but it is a great legitimate snowboard option for tweens and teens. The twin directional board is available in matte and gloss finishes and 128-, 133-, 138-, 153-, and 158-centimeter sizes. You can buy the snowboard separately, but our pick comes with sturdy ratchet-strap bindings and the hardware necessary to affix them to the board. You can also level up and order a package that includes the snowboard, bindings, and a black or green wheeled snowboard bag with external pockets and straps that can be cinched down to keep the board safe and secure.

Over 75 reviewers have given this snowboard package a 4.7 out of 5 average star rating, and the 95 percent of reviewers who’ve given it four and five stars say it’s light, beginner friendly, and an incredible value for the price.

The Summit board has a camber-rocker-camber profile (more on what this means in our buying guide), and a 100 percent real wood core. The included bindings are light and relatively easy to install.

This snowboard package isn’t intended for younger children as the board is only available in longer lengths and the bindings are based on adult shoe sizes.

Key Features

  • Comes with hardware and bindings
  • 100 percent real wood core
  • Optional rolling travel bag

Specifications

  • Brand: STAUBER
  • Board Length: 128-, 133-, 138-, 153-, and 158-centimeter options
  • Weight Limit: Depends on board length

Pros

  • Real snowboard -- not a toy
  • Twin directional; can be ridden switch
  • Light and beginner friendly

Cons

  • Not designed specifically for kids or fit for younger children
  • More expensive than the kids’ snowboards on our list
  • Requires dedicated snowboarding boots

3
Geospace Original LED Ski Skooter

Also Consider
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This obviously isn’t a snowboard. Rather, it’s a snowboard-inspired toy that’ll entertain everyone in the family and the neighborhood, from the kid (or kid at heart) riding it to their cheering -- or at least intrigued -- spectators.

The Ski Skooter has a built-in LED light with flash, strobe, and fade modes that kids of all ages will enjoy being in control of as they “kick ‘n go” down (or across) the snow, holding onto the handle for balance. The product listing notes that this sled alternative is also well suited for sliding down grass or even sand dunes. The handle folds down for easy packing and storage, and it’s lightweight, so there’s no reason it shouldn’t go on your winter (or White Sands National Park) vacation with you.

Nearly 200 reviewers give the Ski Skooter a solid 4-star average rating. It’s made of tough but flexible polyurethane that satisfied reviewers say holds up well even to rough-and-tumble play.

While this toy doesn’t have bindings, unlike the Emsco Group ESP Freeride Snowboard, it can accommodate riders up to 220 pounds. Some less-than-satisfied reviewers note that their Ski Skooters didn’t come with LED lights, or that the light didn’t work, and, since it’s not a snowboard, note that it’s not very responsive. The handle is designed to help with balance, not steering, per se.

Key Features

  • Made of durable polyurethane
  • Fold-flat, snowboard-inspired design
  • Built-in LED light

Specifications

  • Brand: Geospace
  • Board Length: 37 inches
  • Weight Limit: Depends on board length

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Handle helps with balance
  • Fun for younger and older kids alike

Cons

  • Not a snowboard
  • Some reviewers have received Skooters without LED lights
  • Not very responsive

4
Burton Riglet Snowboard Kid's

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We’re proud to recommend Burton snowboarding products, partly because the company, which has been making snowboards and gear since the ’70s, is committed to succeeding at sustainability: reducing its carbon emissions, diverting waste from landfill, and doubling its product repair efforts so folks can use what they already have instead of buying new. These are great values to discuss with kiddos, and this is a high-quality, affordable, and stylish board.

The artsy astronaut motif definitely captures the collision of snowboarding and art that’s part of slope culture, and the flat profile (that is, the absence of cambers or rockers) ensures stability and less demand on the balance of little snowboarders.

The board has inserts for bindings (you’ll have to buy your own) and a retractable tow leash that can be used to safely and securely pull your snowboarder across the snow, grass, or even carpet for practice.

Reviewers give this board a solid 4.6 average star rating and call it an excellent teaching tool for snowboarding and “a sick little rip stick” with “good quality -- exactly as expected from Burton.”

Note that this board is for the littlest snow bunnies; multiple reviewers reference using it with their toddlers to get them accustomed to balancing before they ever wear dedicated snowboarding boots or bindings. One frustrated buyer reported that her child was almost kicked out of snowboarding lessons because it doesn’t have a metal edge.

Key Features

  • Flat profile
  • Retractable tow leash
  • Short and light

Specifications

  • Brand: Burton
  • Board Length: 90 inches
  • Weight Limit: 50 pounds

Pros

  • Made by a trusted snowboarding outfitter
  • Twin directional; this board is made to be ridden switch
  • Great for at-home practice and fun

Cons

  • 50-pound weight limit means kids will outgrow this board quickly
  • Doesn’t come with bindings
  • No metal edge

5
Lucky Bums Kids’ Beginner Plastic Snowboard

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This beginner snowboard from Lucky Bums combines features of our top and also consider picks, plus slightly more secure bindings, and is available at a great price in multiple colors (blue, green, pink, and red) and sizes (95 and 120 centimeters).

Nearly 70 percent of reviewers give the board 4- and 5-star ratings, calling it “a good buy” and “a great success.” There are numerous reviewer-posted pictures of kiddos playing and striking adorable poses on their boards, too.

The Lucky Bums bindings are simple and compatible with any snow boots, utilizing ratchet straps to provide a more secure fit than the Freeride board’s bindings.

Unfortunately, a few reviewers say the bindings weren’t the right size and show pictures of cracks in the plastic, both on the board itself and on the bindings. Like the majority of the products on our list, this board doesn’t have a metal edge, so learning steering and turning may need to come later on another board.

Key Features

  • Light plastic construction
  • Bindings with ratchet straps
  • Available in 2 sizes and 4 colors

Specifications

  • Brand: Lucky Bums
  • Board Length: 95 or 120 centimeters
  • Weight Limit: 100 pounds

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Well suited to little kids
  • Doesn’t require dedicated snowboarding boots

Cons

  • Bindings may not be the right size
  • No metal edge
  • Not the highest quality kids’ snowboard available
Related:

If you’ve decided to purchase a snowboard for a child in your life, you’ve got some decisions ahead of you. Obviously, it’s important to know whether the board you’re going to buy should be thought of as a sledding alternative for use on snow-covered hills near home, or if it’s going to be used on ski slopes and snowboarding runs, or in snowboarding classes.

Here are a few things to consider as you decide between our best kids’ snowboard recommendations, or continue the hunt for the right board on your own.

Snowboards Vs. Snowboard-Inspired Toys

Our honorable mention pick, STAUBER’s Summit snowboard and binding package, includes what’s obviously a real snowboard. It comes in numerous sizes and has a steel edge and a real wood core. The package includes snowboard boot bindings. In fact, it’s not even made specifically for kids. You’ll just order based on the child’s height and, more importantly, their weight.

Some other children’s snowboard products, including the Emsco Group ESP Freeride snowboard, Burton Riglet board, and Lucky Bums’ beginner plastic snowboard inhabit the territory between snowboard and snowboard-inspired toy. They come in smaller sizes or a single size, are plastic rather than wood, and don’t have steel edges, which makes steering and turning difficult if not impossible. It doesn’t mean these are bad products, just that the real, athletic snowboarding will come later, after a child has enjoyed their first kiddy snowboard and graduates to the next level.

Finally, there are snowboard-inspired toys, like the Geospace Original LED Ski Skooter. No one’s arguing that this is a snowboard. In fact, it’s best thought of as a sled alternative that allows kiddos to get up on their feet and practicing balance while they enjoy some snow day or winter vacation fun.

Board Length, Weight Limit, And Style

The board your child needs will be determined by their weight and height. Length isn’t a big issue if you’re considering a snowboard-inspired toy. But if you want a snowboard that’s going to be suited to ski runs or snowboarding classes, be sure to consult the sizing guides provided by the manufacturer. It’s also important to note that some kids’ snowboards, like Burton’s Riglet, have low weight limits and will be grown out of quickly.

Finally, real boards (and some in-between kids’ snowboards) can be twin directional (meaning they can be ridden switch) and will have a specific profile. Flat profile boards like the Burton Riglet are very stable, whereas snowboards like the STAUBER Summit have cambers and rockers, or upward and downward curves that affect how they move over the snow. If the child you’re buying for is ready for a real board and interested in specific profiles, be sure to read up before ordering.

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