Winter will be here soon and avid snowboarders will be flocking the snow again in droves. Many will just rent a party bus and head to the hill with a large group of friends. Snowboarding is an extremely popular outdoor sport that requires considerable prep work. Not only do you need to find the right snowboarding spot, you also need to pack all the gears and gadgets. Starting from the right apparel to the right equipment, you need to be aware of everything. Here are some important pointers to keep in mind when you go shopping for your snowboarding items:
Clothes- Wearing the right kind of clothes for snowboarding is very important because of the extreme nature of the weather. You cannot enjoy snowboarding as a sport if you are uncomfortable physically. Classically, it has three layers:
- Wicking base layer- The base layer is vital because it is immediately adjacent to your skin. The right base layer is one that draws or “wicks” away the moisture from your skin and preserves the heat. Ideal wicking layer is a synthetic material like polyester, that contains small fibers which draw the moisture away from the body. Wear the base layer from neck to feet, including thermal shirt, thermal underwear, thermal leggings and thermal socks. Remember not to wear any cotton since it absorbs the moisture and retains it. These results in a cooling effect later, when the cold wind blows, which defies the purpose of the insulating layer. Just like cotton, avoid denim or jeans as well.
- Middle insulating layer- The next layer is the main layer that preserves your body heat. This is usually made of wool or fleece and includes sweaters, fleece jackets, vests etc. In addition to preserving the body heat, they also act with the wicking layer to draw the moisture away from the skin towards the outer layer.
- Outer protective layer- This layer consists of clothing as well as accessories. It protects you from the cold wind, snow and rain. This layer should also be able to breathe, so that the moisture can be expelled from the body. It includes a hat or a helmet, jackets/shells, pants, goggles, snow boots and gloves. Sometimes, the jackets come together with pants as a single suit.
- Accessories- Four basic accessories are helmet, goggles, boots and gloves. They not only guard you against the extreme weather, they also add to your fun and fashion quotient. Each one has its own benefit as well. Since most of your body heat escapes from your head, a helmet or headgear can effectively prevent that. Additionally, it protects your head in case of a collision, since snowboarding is a physical sport. Other gears that are protective in the event of a collision are knee pads and wrist guards. Goggles prevent drying of the eyes from the wind and protect from any potential solar damage. Choosing the boots with right fit is also very important since they are connected to the bindings and snowboard. Can anyone guess another important accessory that we almost always forget? The sunscreen. Never part with your sunscreen, as ultra violet radiation damage during winter activities is very common. If possible, always carry a small bottle in your bag. More importantly, make a list of every small item that you need for snowboarding before you go for your shopping.
- Gadgets and equipment- Now, let’s come to a very important part- the actual gadgets of snowboarding. These include snowboard bindings and the snowboard itself. Just like boots, the bindings come in various sizes and you must choose the right fit that will help you snowboard comfortably. Snowboards are usually of three different types- Freestyle, Freeride, and Alpine Boards. Choose the right snowboard depending on the location and style of riding.
- Snowboarding activity- You may be ready with all the gears and gadgets, but there are still a few more things that you need to take care of before you can actually snowboard. One step is preparing your snowboard so that you can ride faster and have a stable footing at the same time. Clean your board, loosen it and then wax it with any of the products available in the market. You need to use a wax specific iron to wax your board. If you are a first time rider, take some beginners snowboarding lessons and determine your lead leg. When you actually get to the venue, have a family member or a friend with you. Snowboarding may be a fun sport, but it is a risky sport. Start regular exercises at least a month before your trip. Any physical exertion in a cold weather can be very exhausting to the body and you need to be prepared well physically. Once you arrive at the venue, don’t rush into anything advanced. Start with basic steps. Begin from the bottom of the mountain, where it is relatively plain and get used to the ride. Gradually, you will gain more expertise and then, you will be ready to start from the top of the mountain. One of the most beautiful experiences of snowboarding is if you can board in the powder. But, that discussion is for a different topic.
- Trip planning: Just like any other trip, you need to plan for this trip as well. You can plan to snowboard with your family or friends. List your group and determine the budget. Book well ahead as it is always better to book sooner than later. You can find local ski resorts or hotels for booking. After the booking, decide about the transportation. If you and your friends want to have a really fun snow trip, a good option is party bus. Party buses are available for rental in many states; however, keep your budget in mind.
Snowboarding is a unique and fun sport. But for a complete experience, you need to prepare yourself for months in advance, both physically and mentally. As an extreme sport, it is exhilarating and risky at the same time. Buying the right gears and apparels are as important as buying your snowboard. For your next snowboarding trip, if you keep the above suggestions in mind, you will never go wrong.