When I first started snowboarding back in 1992 I was about the only person on the Mountain give or take a few people. Since then, snowboarding has progressed so much, that there are often as many (if not more) snowboarders on the mountain than skiiers. Today they make many different types of snowboards for each style of snowboarding and it is important to pay attention to this when you are buying a snowboard.
All mountain snowboards are designed to work anywhere on the slopes. This is the type of snowboard I would recommend starting with as a beginner or if you are someone that wants one board that can do everything. Freestyle snowboards are boards that are designed to work in terrain parks and in half pipes. They are good for doing tricks and are generally softer and shorter for than other boards allowing riders to turn, twist, and flip easily. There are also freeride boards. These boards are generally longer and sometimes are directional (meaning they are meant primarily to be ridden one direction). They are more stable at high speeds. Lastly there are powder boards which are designed for deep soft snow. They are usually wider and bigger in order to give you the correct float. Snowboard size is critical when purchasing a new board as each style requires a different size depending on your weight and ability. Most boards these days have their own chart which can help to guide you. Be sure to also ask a snowboard sizing expert at the store before making the purchase. There are also many different types of snowboard boots on the market that complement each type of riding style.
For example, if you want a freestyle board, it is best to go with a freestyle boot. If you are sticking with the all mountain type of board you may want to get an all mountain boot or all purpose boot. This type of boot can be used with any style of board. However, some boards use boots that are more similar to ski boots. These boots are usually used for slalom downhill snowboards. Along with the boot, the binding can also be very important. I like to build my board from the boot down in order to maximize comfort and fit. To do this I choose a comfortable boot first, and then make sure my boot fits well in the biding. This is the best way to build your snowboard setup and it will ensure more fun on the mountain.