Thinking about getting into snowboarding as a fun new way to enjoy some outdoor winter sport? You’ll need a few things before you begin. Below we’ll break down some of the basic necessary gear to get you started.
Might as well start with the most important item: the board itself. This is what snowboarding is all about, and there are several features you need to know about before making a board purchase. You should have a board that is designed for your level of expertise, as well as for the type of riding you plan on doing. A freestyle board is very different than a freeriding board. You definitely need to look more closely than just the flashy graphics.
Not all boots are created equal, so plan on getting a good quality pair that are designed for snowboarding. Though it’s the bindings that hold you onto the board, you still need proper snowboard boots for comfort as well as safety. The extra firm support around the ankles is a must, and the boots are reinforced in all the right places to match up to your bindings. Choose from traditional lacing or quick-pull laces that do up fast. Get a professional to help you size them, and don’t forget you’ll be wearing heavy socks when you’re actually out on the snow.
Your bindings are what keeps you on the board, and there are some important features you need to look for. Softer flexibility is crucial if you are doing a lot of tricks but a firmer set of bindings would give better support for speed down the slopes. You can also choose the common strap-on bindings that have 2 or more adjustable straps that hold your boots in place, or the more sophisticated rear-entry bindings that you just step into. They latch firmly with just one motion behind the heel.
In either case, check the mounting pattern underneath before you buy, to ensure that they match up with the holes in your board. Not all bindings and boards are going to be compatible.
Not only do good snowboarding goggles protect your eyes, they are intended to cut the glare on a sunny day. Different colored lenses can block light differently, though that level of customization is going to be limited to the hardcore riders. A good-quality pair of tinted lenses should do just fine for a beginner regardless of the color. Vents are handy to help reduce fogging too.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. There really aren’t any unique factors for snowboarding helmets specifically. Any winter helmet for outdoor sports, like skiing, would be fine for snowboarding. It should be well-insulated, have vents and fit properly with your goggles.
Unique to snowboarding gear, a stomp pad is a pad of heavy studded rubber or metal that mounts on your board so you can get some traction when you need to maneuver with only one foot in the bindings. Snowboarders will argue about how important a stomp pad, and not everyone bothers with them. The main time you would use one is during those few moments when you get off a lift and haven’t gotten your other boot fastened into your binding yet, but still need to move away from the chair.
Your last piece of snowboarding gear should be a leash. You can probably figure out what this one is for just by the name, and it’s used to keep your board from getting away from you and heading downhill on its own. Of course, if you’re just doing tricks in a park, you won’t have to worry about something like this. A typical leash will attach to your bindings at one end, and your boot at the other.
This is your typical host of snowboarding gear, though you’ll also want a good set of warm clothes to keep toasty and comfortable when outside in the cold all day. Once you’re geared up, it’s time to hit the snow.
image credit: Pixabay