The Essential Snowboard Guide

Gareth Simpson

by Gareth Simpson

October 18, 2019

Snowboarding Guide : Accessories , Clothing & Gear

Going on your first snowboarding trip can both super-exciting and very stressful at the same time. However, you shouldn’t allow for your anxiety to take over you. Instead, focus on preparing for the trip and leave nothing to chance.

What follows is a checklist that will help you be fully prepared on your snowboarding trip. Most of the items here can be rented or bought at the resort, but at a much steeper price than what you get elsewhere. Therefore, it is the best to buy all the stuff before going on your snowboarding vacation. So, without further delay, here are the essentials:

What are the essentials?

Socks

A good pair of socks is essential and can make all the difference in the world. They are designed to minimize rubbing, especially around the ankles. That way you can avoid blisters. Snowboard socks are exceptionally good in keeping away moisture and sweat, as well as to keep the feet warm at any time. Regular cotton socks don’t come even close to what a good pair of snowboard socks can do for your feet in winter. However, what you don’t want to do is to double on socks. By doing so you risk overheating your feet which can potentially lead to blisters.

Pants

Forget about jeans or track pants. They are all made of absorbent materials that are not for snow. Instead, you can use them for underneath the snow pants. Snow pants are waterproof and can effectively keep you out of moisture.

Gloves

Avoid wool and cotton gloves on account of a pair of waterproof gloves or mittens.

 

Coat

The coat needs to be both waterproof and windproof. That’s how you will remain warm and dry while having fun on the slopes.

 

Goggles

A good pair of goggles can keep your eyes safe from snow, wind, rain, and UV rays. Never hit the tracks without wearing one.Make sure you know how to choose the best goggles for snowboarding !

 

Helmet

A good helmet can not only keep your head protected, but it will keep it warm as well.

 

Long underwear

For maximum enjoyment on the slopes, you need to make sure that you get the best possible long underwear. Any experienced snowboarder or skier will tell you that it’s best to buy thermal long underwear made from merino wool, synthetic, and blends.

Layer Up

The best way to approach this is to stick to the three-layer guideline of layering. Winter weather is quite unpredictable and because of that, it’s best to have the flexibility to remove or add layers. Whether you layer up or remove layers depends on your activity level, as well as the outside weather conditions. The three layers include a wicking layer, an insulating layer, and a protection layer.

Wicking Layer

The wicking layer is the one closest to the skin and typically consists of long underwear. The best ones are synthetic (made of polyester in most cases), type of thread that has “wicking power”. Thanks to that, no moisture will stick on your skin and instead it will pass through the fabric to evaporate. That way you are dry, warm, and comfortable. Silk also has the same wicking ability. Don’t be fooled by the outside cold temperatures, you will most definitely sweat – especially if you are on the slopes snowboarding.

Insulating Layer

This is the middle layer, the one that keeps the cold out and the heat in. The insulating layer includes pullovers, vests, sweatshirts, and sweaters. Some of the best insulation material is fleece – a type of synthetic that preserves its insulating features even when wet. Thanks to its insulating features it can efficiently spread the moisture so that the drying is pretty quick. Wool is also a pretty efficient insulator that can keep the moisture away.

Protection Layer

This is the exterior layer that acts as a protector from elements of winter. The goal is to block the wind, as well as to repel water from rain, sleet, or snow. At the same time, it needs to let perspiration to evaporate. The protection layer includes shell and pants that are both breathable (to some extent) and waterproof.

For Your Head

Headwear

So it’s a knit hat or a helmet that you should wear in order to keep your head warm when snowboarding. If you opt for a helmet then keep in mind that it needs to fit your goggles, as well as to breath properly. Wearing a helmet is recommended because it can keep your head in case of a snowboarding accident.

Eyewear

Even though sunglasses make you look cool and stylish, goggles are the real deal as they can provide true eye protection. Especially when it is snowing or the weather is colder.

Top Snowboarding Accessories

There are a few things that you might want to have on you that are there to keep you warm and dry. Here are some of the most important accessories you might consider bringing on your snowboarding vacation:

Smart Gloves

Removing your gloves every time, you need to use your smartphone can be a huge pain. However, if you wear smart gloves there is no need to remove them every time you need to make a call, answer a call, or simply snap a selfie on the slopes. The thing with smart gloves is that they conduct a small amount of electricity and thus let you work the touchscreen.

Go Pro

If you don’t record your snowboarding and don’t post it on Facebook or YouTube, it is as same as you weren’t snowboarding. Nowadays, people need to see to believe it. And why not film yourself while hitting the slopes in top speed.

Snowboard Lock

Unfortunately, snowboards are not immune to thievery. The best way to prevent someone from stealing your snowboard is to keep it locked.Summitdaily reported a total of 26 skis and snowboards that were reported stolen in 2016 .

Snowboard App

Nowadays, even the slopes are covered with mobile internet or even WiFi signal. A snowboard app can keep you inform on everything about the slopes, where is the best snow, weather prediction, avalanche danger, and so on.

Essential Safety Gears (avalanche gear)

Enjoying fresh powder and untracked runs is a big part of the thrill. However, all that fun is also followed by certain risks with avalanches being one of the biggest threats. An avalanche is very unpredictable and can strike when no one expects it or without any warning. Because of that, it is important to know how to react if that happens and have the right equipment to help yourself. That can also be of help to the rescuers in their efforts of finding you. Here is what you need to have with you to increase your chances of survival in case you are hit by an avalanche.

But before we go into what to buy and how to use it, the most important advice you are going to get on this matter is “never panic”. Don’t let your nerves get hold of you. Accept what happened and try your best to get out of that mess alive. Remember that you have options and that while you breathe nothing is lost. Being alive is a pretty good starting point for anyone.

Avalanche airbag

Once upon a time, getting hit by an avalanche meant certain burial. That doesn’t need to be the case if you have an avalanche airbag. This airbag contains enough compressed air or CO2 to keep the user rise on the top of the avalanche. That doesn’t mean you are completely out of the danger, just that you are not buried and that the rescuers can easily track you. Most avalanche airbags are shaped like the letter U in order to protect the user’s neck and head. They are reusable and can be refilled when needed.

Avalanche transceiver

The transceiver can send a signal to the rescuers if you are struck by an avalanche. Once the rescuers receive the signal, it is much easier for them to track you. Lacking a transceiver makes the entire rescue operation much more complicated, especially if it was a massive avalanche that covered a huge area. Without a transceiver, it comes down to luck and hoping the avalanche dogs can get to you in time.

Snow shovel

Most snow shovels have detachable handles and are made of aluminum. That means they can be easily packed in a backpack and are lightweight. Therefore, it is recommended to always carry one in your backpack. You might need to dig yourself out, dig out someone else, or maybe even built a snow shelter.

Backpack

That’s where you can keep the essentials. They don’t take too much space, they are lightweight, and they can mean all the difference in the world, often the difference between life and death.

Last but not least important is to know how to use your safety equipment. Being stuck in an avalanche means that you don’t have time to search for the manuals and trying to figure out what’s what and how it all works. Learn how everything works, how to use it, and lay it properly in your backpack. That way you can act fast in case of need. Nowadays, there are specialized avalanche courses that anyone can take.

Important stuff to pack in your backpack

All the avalanche safety equipment won’t take even half the space of your backpack. We are not talking about some big backpack, but a standard sized one. There are a few things that you should add to your backpack that can come handy in case of an emergency, you got hit by an avalanche or you are stuck in the middle of nowhere.

First aid kit

Snowboarding can take you to various places, places that at first might look safe, but in fact, are very dangerous. Falling or hitting something like a tree, a rock, or something else is always a possibility, especially if you are exploring new terrain. The first aid kit can help you stop a bleeding wound.

Bottled water

You may be surrounded by snow which is basically water, but that’s not the same. A single bottle of water can go a long way. If you keep it close to yourself, you can prevent it from freezing over.

Something to eat

When the avalanche strikes or when stranded on someplace, it is hard to tell when the rescuers will come and find you. Piece of fruit, a biscuit, any food can help you preserve your strength.

Backup phone battery

Cold weather can drain your phone battery pretty fast. A backup battery can help you charge your phone so you can call for help. There are even some phone backup batteries that can act as a heater if needed. Being stuck on a mountain in the middle of the winter and having something to keep you warm even for a while can be a lifesaver.

Painkillers or analgesic

It’s hard to think about saving yourself or looking for help if you are in pain. A broken arm or a broken leg can be the cause of serious pain. Pain that will prevent you from rational thinking and doing the right thing. One painkiller or analgesic can relief you from the pain and calm you down so you can plan your next move. The best part is that they don’t take any space. The most important thing to remember is to pack them in your backpack.

Conclusion

The list of the must-have things when going snowboarding might look like wow, that’s huge! Well, it depends on how you look at it and it is not that big. Half of the things described here are to be worn on you at all time, the other half can be easily fitted into a medium-sized backpack.

Plus, everything is lightweight so it’s not like you will struggle with it on your back, nor you will feel some strain. Everything here is to keep you, the snowboarder, dry, warm, and most importantly safe. All that while you have the time of your life.

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