Snowboards feature sandwich construction that uses a variety of materials, crafted together to make a performance board that gives you speed, flotation and response over the snow. Therefore, snowboards are composed from many materials, not just one. Specific construction and materials vary from model to model, but there are some elements that are quite common.
The center of the snowboard is called the core. This is the most important element of the snowboard and the piece around which the rest of the board is crafted. Cores are composed of different materials on different snowboards, but the most common type of core is wood. Strips of woods such as poplar, obeche and birch are vertically laminated and shaped. Other core materials used in some boards include foam and aluminum honeycomb.
On the top and bottom of the core, composite laminate material is added to provide additional integrity and structure. Fiberglass is a common composite used for this aspect of the snowboard. The fiberglass is bonded to the core with resin.
All snowboards feature a base made of a plastic called polyethylene, nicknamed p-tex. P-tex comes in several forms on snowboard bases. Extruded p-tex is the cheapest form and is p-tex that is heated and forced through a die to form the snowboard base. Sintered p-tex is powder that is pressurized into a solid, then cut into shape for the snowboard. Graphite bases include a percentage of graphite added to the sintered p-tex, reducing friction even further for a faster ride.
Inserts and Edges
Snowboards feature metal inserts and edges. The steel inserts are set into the core and used to mount bindings. The steel or stainless steel edges, which extend for the length of the effective edge or wrap around the entirety of the snowboard, provide grip into the snow.
The top sheet of the snowboard is the part of the board that you're probably most familiar with because it's staring up at you every time you ride. Materials used for the top sheet vary, but include nylon, wood, fiberglass, plastic and composites. The top sheet is silk screened with those sick graphics you love so much.
Some boards include additional materials besides the primary components listed above. Boards that feature sidewall construction include plastic sidewalls on the sides of the board between the edges and top sheet. Some boards also feature strips or rods made out of various materials such as carbon to dampen vibrations and provide pop and response.