Along with wax, sharp edges, and flat bases, a base structure is an important variable in the performance of a snowboard. A good base structure will help elevate a rider’s (and their board’s) potential.
There are two types of structures that can be put into a snowboard base: crosshatch and linear. Visually, crosshatch looks like little diamonds cut into the base, while linear looks like a straight LP-record groove. Both are cut with variable depths and widths, depending upon snow conditions.
Linear structure is rarely used alone. An aggressive cut will cause the board to track straight and make it difficult to turn. The only uses for it are downhill racing, speed testing, and very, very cold snow conditions. In all these cases, a very fine structure is most effective.
However, this does not mean that linear structure is off limits for everyday riding. Linear structures work well as a layer in multi-layer structures, as a cutting pattern for removing material, and as a section of base in a rare sectional-structure tune when the nose, waist, and tail of the board all have different base structures.
A crosshatch structure is more versatile than a linear structure. A fine crosshatch pattern is good for cold snow conditions, while wide-open aggressive crosshatch is good for warm, wet snow. A medium crosshatch is the old standby. This structure, with the proper wax, is good in any conditions.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different grinds. Take a couple of boards with different structures to the mountain and test their performance. It’s good to know what structure works best at the resorts in your shop’s area. Of course, snow conditions change quite often, but you can establish some good guidelines. For example, Wasatch snow is commonly very dry, and a fine crosshatch pattern may work well into the spring. But Sierra snow is commonly wet and an open, medium-to-aggressive crosshatch may work better all season long.
The actual specifics and recipes for these structures will vary from one machine to the next. Once you find consistent recipes for these grinds, write them down so you can reproduce them. Put together a group of examples like samples from a carpet store. Cut old boards or skis with these structures into small, manageable pieces and keep them at the service counter so customers can actually see the difference between structures prior to the work. This will help your store gain credibility, make more money, and will give your customers something to talk about on the chairlift.