Alpine snowboarding is a small niche of the sport of snowboarding. It is typically practiced with hard plastic shelled boots called "hardboots" and carving or race-oriented snowboards. Loosely, it is the pursuit of snowboarding mostly on the ground, in the forward direction, with the primary goal of making clean, smooth turns. The term "alpine" has come to be mostly associated with snowboarding in hardboots, as they are the choice for people seeking the most efficient carved turn.
Alpine snowboards are stiffer and narrower than freestyle or freeride boards. Alpine boards are often longer than other snowboards; they have shallower sidecut depth, resulting in a larger sidecut radius. A larger sidecut radius facilitates carving turns at higher speeds. There are five main types of alpine snowboard: race, freecarve, extreme carve, all-mountain and skwal.
• Race snowboards are used by experts for high speed, high precision carving. Race boards are also commonly used recreationally by expert snowboarders, or those seeking to become experts.
• Freecarve snowboards are built for carving on groomed trails. They resemble race boards, but are designed to be ridden recreationally, and typically at slower speeds than race boards.
• Extreme carving snowboards are meant for the continuous linking of fully laid turns. Extreme carving boards has longer contact length, wider waist width, middle longitudinal stiffness and more torsional stiffness than freecarve boards. The goal is to link the totally laid turns, frontside and backside, with ease, fluidity and style.
• All-mountain snowboards are built to provide strong carving ability while allowing all-terrain riding. They are wider than race or freecarve boards, but still narrower than softboot boards (freestyle or freeride boards). All-mountain boards typically feature larger noses, to help accommodate loose or uneven snow, and they usually have rounded tails rather than the squared tails that are typical of race and freecarve boards.
• Skwals are combining the carving of skiing and riding feel of snowboarding. Waist width of the skwal is very narrow comparing to race snowboards. Skwal is a board which positions the feet one in front of the other in a line down the center of the board, pointing towards the front.