You should be! Experts are predicting higher-than-average snowfall for many parts of the country, from Washington and Oregon all the way to the Dakotas.
Whether you’re a seasoned expert or a complete newbie, you’ll need the best snowboarding gear to prepare for the slopes. In this post, we’ll walk you through the essential gear you’ll need and offer some other snowboarding tips.
It’s not long before the first flakes start flying, so read on and get ready to shop!
Snowboarding: Essential Gear You’ll Need
Snowboarding culture may be laid-back and chill, but make no mistake: There’s a lot of gear you’ll need before you can cruise comfortably (and safely) around the mountain.
Here’s a handy checklist to get you started.
Selecting a snowboard is like being a kid in a candy shop, but you need to base your decision on more than just aesthetics.
First, consider your snowboarding style and ability level. Are you a beginner just getting comfortable on the green runs? Are you intermediate trying to move onto the black diamonds? Or do you plan to improve your jumping and rail skills at the park?
If you need help with the basics, such as the difference between rocker vs camber style boards, head to your local gear shop and ask the experts. They can also advise you on the proper width and length of a snowboard to suit your size and snowboarding style.
The best snowboard boots fit snugly (but not too tight), leaving a little wiggle room for your toes. Your heel should remain in place even when you bend your knees and take a lower stance.
Beginners and park riders typically like a little more flex to their boots, while advanced riders favor a stiffer boot. You also have control over the amount of flex based on the type of lacing you choose—traditional, quick-pull, or Boa system.
Keep in mind that the type of boot and board you choose will also determine the types of bindings you’ll need. It’s always best to buy your gear in-person and ask the sales associates for their recommendations.
Even if you’re a confident snowboarder, anything can happen on the mountain. Keep your noggin safe by investing in a quality helmet to wear when you ride (or, at the very least, rent one).
Pro tip: Choose a helmet with built-in fleece lining to keep your head and ears warm. If the helmet doesn’t have this feature, make sure to factor in enough space to wear your beanie or balaclava underneath.
4. Base Layers
Any winter sport is all about getting the layering right, and snowboarding is no exception. Nothing will ruin your day faster than being cold or damp (or both).
Stay away from cotton base layers, which will get wet and stay wet when you sweat. The layers closest to your skin should be made with a thin, sweat-wicking material like merino wool. It will keep you warm and dry and (added bonus) it’s antibacterial too.
As the name suggests, your mid-layers lie between the base layer and your snowboarding jacket. Depending on the weather conditions, you might be able to get away with wearing your usual hoodie or sweatshirt—especially if you’re just riding for the day.
If you’re serious about investing in the best snowboarding gear, though, you’ll want to add a proper fleece jumper to your shopping list. These are lightweight and breathable but offer plenty of warmth where you need it most.
Outwear for skiers is generally more fitted than snowboarding jackets and pants, but you can choose any style that appeals to you. The most important thing is that they’re waterproof and breathable.
Shell jackets and pants feature only the outer layer, while insulated versions include an extra (usually fleece) layer inside. If you’re unsure what you need, always take the warmer option. Remember: You can always shed a layer if you get too warm, but there’s nothing you can do if you get chilled!
What should you wear under your snowboarding pants, by the way? Something comfortable and warm, like long underwear or soft leggings made from wool or synthetic material.
7. Gloves or Mittens
The debate continues about which is better—gloves or mittens—but it ultimately comes down to your preference.
Mittens are generally warmer, but they reduce your dexterity. This can be annoying for snowboarders, who need to adjust their equipment more often than skiers. Gloves allow more freedom but may not be sufficient for extreme cold or backcountry riding.
If in doubt, try both and listen to your body. You might also want to invest in one set of each and alternate them depending on weather conditions.
Your sunglasses aren’t going to cut it on the hill, so invest in a pair of well-fitted goggles. Dark lenses are better for brighter days, while lighter lenses are ideal in low-light conditions.
Be sure to try them on before you buy so you know they comfortably fit your face (you should have your helmet and other facial gear on too).
9. Neck Gaiter or Balaclava
No matter how many layers you have on, you’ll still want an added layer around your neck. A scarf might suffice on a warm, calm day. But if there’s even a hint of wind, you’ll want something to cover your face.
A balaclava can cover your entire head or just the lower half, while you can pull a neck gaiter up and down as you need it.
10. Snowboard Socks
Remember what we said earlier about cotton? Don’t even think about wearing your standard cotton socks on the mountain, unless you enjoy being miserable.
Snowboarding socks are thin, tall, warm, and made from wool or synthetic material. Some even offer comfortable padding around your shins.
Ready to Shop for the Best Snowboarding Gear?
No matter your skill level or budget, you can find the gear you need before the first snowflakes fall.
Use the checklist and the tips listed above in your quest for the best snowboarding gear. Then you’ll have everything you need to have fun, stay warm, and stay safe on the slopes!
Did you find this article helpful? Be sure to check out our other recent posts for more great information.