Ready to go shred it up on the slopes? If you’re a beginning snowboarder or if it’s been a while since you last snowboarded, we’ve compiled a list of the essentials — everything you’ll need to stay safe, feel comfortable, and have fun snowboarding this season!
A smart snowboarder understands the importance and art of layering. How you dress beneath your jacket and snowpants can significantly impact your comfort level while boarding. If you’re riding hard and start to heat up, off comes a layer helping you stay cool. Same goes for those extra sunny and warmer days. After a few runs you may need to strip off a layer to stay comfortable. Here’s what you’ll want to wear:
Base Layers (Thermals) for Snowboarding
Also known as long underwear, many base layer options are scientifically engineered to wick sweat away from your skin so you stay dry, warm, and stoked as long as you’re out boarding. You’ll want both base layer pants and a shirt and depending on your preference or the weather you’ll be riding in you can choose between light, mid, and heavier weight options.
Most snowboard boots are well insulated, but you still need to consider your socks. Snowboard specific socks are designed to be warm, durable, moisture-wicking and quick-drying, comfortable (many have special cushioning features for added impact protection), and made to stay in place (hugging the lower legs as to provide protection from your boots rubbing the skin uncomfortably). Your typical gym sock just can’t compare.
Mid Layers for Snowboarding
The mid layer will be a sweater, sweatshirt, flannel, fleece, or vest. You’ll want to purchase one that brags about being “high performance”. This means it’s designed to do things like regulate your temperature, be moisture-wicking and quick-drying, breathable, and lightweight. And, it should be easy to take off in a jiffy when you warm up.
For the lower body, the base layer with snowpants overtop will usually be plenty. However, if you’re riding in extremely cold weather consider throwing on a pair of stretchy performance pants. They should provide you with a little extra warmth and allow you to move freely.
As your outer-most layer you’ll want to select a snowboard jacket that will provide protections from the elements. At the very least it should be windproof, waterproof, and breathable so it will allow excess sweat and warmth to escape. Higher-end jackets may also provide temperature control, special insulation features, and precisely placed pockets designed for snowboarders. Make sure the fit is just right — not to baggy and not to tight.
Snowboard Pants or Snowboard Bib Pants
Just like your snowboard jacket you’ll want all the features listed above to keep your lower body protected from the snow and cold. Some boarders prefer pants and others enjoy wearing bibs. Benefits of wearing bib pants include having one’s waistline freed up and extra protection from snow and cold around the belly and low back areas.
A hat or beanie is necessary to keep your noggin warm. You’ll want one that’s snug fitting so as you cruise down the mountain chutes there’s no risk of losing it. Additionally, a well-fitted beanie allows your jacket hood or helmet to slip over it no problem.
Snowboard Gloves and Mittens
Well insulated and waterproof snowboard gloves or mittens are super important. They keep your hands warm, dry, and protected. Additionally they can provide the necessary grip you need to effortlessly hold on to the tow-rope. High-end gloves and mitts may also feature designs to allow touchscreen control and special technology to regular the temperature of your hands.
Snowboard boots are a must as they are designed to connect to your snowboard via the snowboard bindings. They are made to conform to your feet and usually become more comfortable to wear over time. When trying on different styles, be sure to wear your snowboard socks which are thicker than your average gym sock. Some things to consider when shopping for your snowboard boots are the lacing system, flex and responsiveness of the sole, liner and built-in cushioning, the outsole or external footprint, and of course, overall comfort.
Even the most experienced snowboarders take a spill every once in a while. Wearing a snowboard helmet will protect your brain if this occurs and allow you to take risks on the slopes with greater confidence. Some helmets provide a little warmth and protection from the elements too. And when you’re shopping for your helmet bring your hat/beanie along so you get the size just right.
Going snowboarding for the first time? If so, you can rent a snowboard/bindings/boot set-up right from the resort. The good thing about this is that it allows you to try out different types of boards to see what you like to ride the most (all-mountain, freestyle, and freeride).
Once you’re ready to own your own set-up here are some things to consider:
When selecting your first snowboard you’ll want to know what kind of riding you plan to do most, your preferred board flex (soft to stiff), and your appropriate size. There’s a lot of boards to choose from, so knowing these three things can help you begin to narrow down your search. If you’re unsure about any of these things simply visit one of our shops and our expert staff can assist you. Our snowboard buying guide is also a super helpful resource to review before buying.
As you select your new snowboard you’ll also want to be thinking about snowboard bindings. The bindings attach to your board and they will need to be compatible with your chosen boots as well. You don’t necessarily need to purchase the same brand of boots and bindings, but doing so can simplify the process. Again, our snowboard buying guide is a helpful resource to learn more about the binding/snowboard set-up and our friendly staff are always here to help!
These items are not required, but they can sure make your day on the hill safer, more enjoyable, and even improve your performance!
Snowboard goggles, while not necessary, can help you see clearly amidst the glare of the sun on the snow, shield your eyes from flying snow, wind and debris as you carve down the hill, and keep your eyes from getting icy cold.
For Extra Ease
Stomp pads to help you get off the lift without slipping, small backpack for any important belongings you want with you on the hill (cell phone, wallet, camera, sunblock), hydration pack so you don’t have to stop riding when you get thirsty, gear bag to carry all your stuff to and from the resort.
Swing by your nearby ERIK’S to pick up any snowboarding essentials you may not have or check out our inventory online here. And then get out there and ride!