Snowboarding For Beginners: Everything You Need To Know About Snowboarding Gear
Going snowboarding this winter? Here's a complete guide on snowboarding gear for beginners
Snowboarding gear is one of the most exciting parts about being a beginner snowboarder. You choose a whole bunch of new kit - from a snowboarding jacket to snowboarding boots and a snowboard of your own.
There are so many different snowboarding brands to choose from - where do you start? Snowboarders tend to wear longer, baggier gear than their skiing counterparts, but this changes all the time with trends.
We would recommend visiting a good local snowboarding shop and asking the sales assistants there for help.
It’s pretty straight forward choosing snowboarding clothing, but things get a little more complicated when it comes to picking a board, boots and bindings.
We’ve put together a beginners guide to snowboarding gear below to get you started. Also you might like to take a look at our best tips for snowboarding beginners.
CHOOSING A SNOWBOARD
Choosing a snowboard is like being a kid in a sweet shop. There are so many great looking boards to choose from.
We would recommend going to a specialist snowboard shop and getting advice from an experienced sales assistant. The Snowboard Asylum have 12 branches around the UK inside Ellis Brigham stores. One-on-one expert advice from their staff will really help you make an informed decision.
There’s a constant debate over whether a camber or a rocker board (or somewhere in between) is best for a beginner. Generally a flat profile with rockered ends works well for beginners, as slight rocker means you are less likely to catch an edge. However, it really depends on the rider.
Whitelines voted the Burton Clash at the best men’s beginners board for 2016 and Nidecker Elle for women. Check out our guide to beginners snowboards here.
The number one rule when buying a pair of snowboarding boots? You’ve got to try them on in person. There’s no point buying a pair off the internet, only to find your toes are crushed in the end when you wear them on the hill.
Make sure they are laced up tightly. You should just barely touch the end of your boot with your big toe when you are standing up with your knees bent. Your heel should stay firmly flat on the bottom of the boot when you lift it.
If it is your first pair of snowboard boots, the chances are you’ll need to try on a few different brands for comparison.
There’s also a whole range of lacing system (yep, really - who knew laces could be so complicated?) so it’s worth getting down to a reputable snowboarding shop for first-hand help.
It’s really important when it comes to snowboarding gear to get your layering system right. I know, it sounds like something a wanky mountaineering type would worry about, but honestly it makes a huge difference to your day on the hill if you are layered up correctly.
Base layers are a good place to start. Make sure you aren’t wearing a cotton top directly next to your skin. When you sweat, cotton gets wet and stays wet, which ultimately will make you cold and unhappy.
Opt for a slightly more expensive but worth it sweat-wicking base layer, which draws moisture away from your skin.
We are big fans of Mons Royale base layers. Made from merino wool, they are sweat-wicking and naturally antibacterial, so will stop your base layers stinking too. Plus the designs look rad, right?
Next up in our snowboarding gear rundown is mid layers. This is the layer that keeps you warm on top of your base layers but beneath your jacket i.e. your jumper.
You can wear any old jumper underneath your snowboarding jacket, but it’s better to get yourself a proper riding jumper. Usually these are lightweight and made from technical fabrics which allow more breathability while you are riding.
Burton make a great selection of snowboarding gear. We are loving the Burton Women’s Scoop Hoody and the Men’s Bonded Full-Zip Hoody (pictured above).
They are both made with Dryride Thermex bonded fleece which means they have a waterproof coating to keep you dry. When spring rolls around, you can leave the jacket at home and just wear this hoody.
SNOWBOARDING JACKETS AND TROUSERS
Choosing the right snowboarding jacket and pants is definitely a matter of style. Yes, that does mean whether you prefer a baggy or tight-fit cut but it also includes choosing whether you want insulated outerwear or shell outerwear.
Insulated snowboarding jackets and pants have insulation in to keep you warm (as the name suggests) while shell jackets and trousers are waterproof but have no insulation inside, so you’ll need an extra insulated layer underneath.
It’s also worth looking at the waterproof and breathability rating. Waterproofing will be measured in millimetres with anything from 5,000 to 30,000 being normal.
Breathability is measured in grams per centimetre per 24 hours (bit of a mouthful) otherwise known as GSM. This will range from 5,000 to 20,000. The higher the number, the more breathable and waterproof your snowboarding gear will be.
GoreTex is the upper end of the scale. These won’t have waterproof and breathability ratings because GoreTex is 100 per cent waterproof and breathable. It’s also more expensive but worth it in many people’s opinions. You get what you pay for after all.
Oakley have an epic selection of upper-end outerwear designed specifically for snowboarders - with affordable gear right up to high-end GoreTex kit.
Some people prefer gloves because it’s way easier to do up your bindings when wearing them. Other people like mittens because they are warmer and more waterproof owing to less seams.
Warning: snowboarder’s gloves get trashed more quickly than skiers because you spend more handling your board. So don’t be surprised if they only last you a season or two.
Dakine make an excellent array of gloves and mitts for snowboarders - with a range of prices to suit all budgets - from the leather-clad GoreTex Kodiak gloves to the Fillmore Mitt.
You can also buy park gloves. These are thin liner gloves especially made for spring conditions (and riding the park) when it’s just too damn sweaty to wear proper mitts.
Howl have an awesome selection of park gloves with gel grips on the palms to help with grabs.
Twenty years ago, you wouldn’t have seen many people wearing helmets on the slopes. Nowadays the majority of riders do. It’s just common sense to protect your bonce. Snowboarding helmets are lighter, more comfortable and actually look cooler than ever before now.
Just check your helmet has a CE logo on it followed by the letters EN and a long digit. This basically means your helmet meets European Union safety standards.
When you try it on, make sure it fits your head and covers your forehead properly. That’s the vulnerable bit. You want to be able to shake your head quite vigorously and your helmet doesn’t fall off.
If there is one piece of snowboard kit you should spend serious money on (aside from gloves), it is your goggles. Trust me, cheap goggles are just not worth it.
Snowboarding goggles should fit your face properly, so again it is definitely worth trying them on in person. Like sunglasses, some will suit your face, other won’t.
You can get different lenses depending on the conditions - dark lenses for bright, bluebird days and paler lenses for low light days. If you are just starting out, go for a dark lens and then invest in a low-light lens later on.
Oakley are the one when it comes to snowboarding goggles. They have been making the best quality goggles since the early days.
Last but definitely not least, if you are travelling abroad with your snowboard, you are going to need a decent snowboard bag.
Douchebags are an award-winning independent ski and snowboard bag company that make the best board bags around. They are lightweight and size adjustable, so you can roll it down to fit the length of your skis and/or board. No more saggy ends, which make it so much harder to cart your board bag through the airport.
When you reach your final destination, you can just fold the Douchebag up into a small neat cylinder and stash it in your cupboard. Seriously, I’m doing a winter season in Australia right now and this bag has been a lifesaver.