Being cold and wet can put a damper on your winter sports activities, and after a day of skiing or snowboarding, your boots will be damp from sweat, even if you’re wearing moisture-wicking foot warmer socks. The same goes for your gloves—even on a cold day your hands may get sweaty. But the right equipment can keep your hands and feet warm and dry.
-Glove and boot dryers: Setting gloves or boots next to the roaring fire in the ski lodge can cause them to break down sooner. Instead, try a glove and boot dryer. You can buy a portable model that holds one pair of boots and gloves at a time. Or you can find larger models of dryers to install in your ski house that hold several pairs of gloves and boots.
-Foot warmers: Some skiers prefer the convenience of air-activated foot warmers, while others prefer electronic warmers, such as Cozy Foot Warmers. A point about electronic foot warmers: Choose a model with a side-mounted battery pack, rather than one that attaches to the back of the boot, so you don’t need to worry about banging the battery against a chair lift.
Snowboard goggles look cool, but they also serve a function – to protect your eyes from sun, snow, wind, random tree branches, bugs and anything else that might get in your way.
Because your snowboard goggles should fit securely over your snowboarding helmet, it helps to have your helmet with you when you shop for goggles. Goggles can be adjusted, but two similar styles of goggles might have a noticeably different fit on the same helmet. And if you like to wear a face mask, bring that along, too. Try on a complete ensemble of snowboard goggles, snowboard helmet, and face mask to get a real idea of the fit. And step outside to see how the goggles work in natural light. You may want a different tint if you’ll be negotiating around more trees.
At the other end of your seasonal snowboarding accessory list, don’t forget socks. Sock technology has come a long way, and there’s no need to end your day early due to cold, wet feet. Synthetic, moisture-wicking fabrics from brands including Thor-lo and Smartwool can help keep your feet warm and provide padding in the right places. Look for specialized socks for use with mens snowboards and womens snowboards to guarantee the right fit without bunching.
You’ll have more fun on your snowboard, and your feet will thank you, if you invest in the right snowboard boots. Even advanced snowboarders can use a reminder about how to buy the right boots, so try these tips on for size:
-Bring your snowboard socks. Don’t just walk into a shop and try on snowboard boots with your gym socks and expect to get the right fit. You need to try the boots with the socks that you’ll actually be wearing. Need new snowboard socks for the new season? Buy those first, then go scope out the latest boots.
-These aren’t your running shoes. For you multisport athletes who may have forgotten since last winter, snowboard boots are supposed to be snug. Unlike your running shoes, which should have about a thumb width of space between the end of your big toe and the end of the shoe, the front of your snowboard boots should barely touch the end of your big toe.
When you’re enjoying a winter sports vacation in extreme cold temperatures, foot warmers can keep you out on the slopes longer. For maximum comfort and convenience, try air-activated foot warmers, such as Heatmax Toasty Toes, that can be used in your ski boots and apres ski boots.
For winter sports, the best air-activated foot warmers have these features:
-Adhesive to stick to socks
-Environmentally friendly, with natural ingredients
You also can buy electronic boot warmers that fit into the insoles of your ski boots. Both types of foot warmers have their pros and cons. The electronic warmers come with battery packs that attach to the outside of your ski boots, and they can be covered by snow pants or gaiters. But some skiers may find that the power cords and battery packs are more extra gear than they want to manage.
And even if you opt for electronic foot warmers, a smart skier keeps a set of reliable, air-activated warmers in reserve in case the electronic warmers break down.
Whether you are looking for mens snowboards or women’s snowboards, you want the features that will give you the perfect ride for the terrain you’re on, and what you want to do on it. Start by reading the reviews and features of different brands to keep up with the latest.
Here’s one example: The women’s Promise snowboard ‘10 from Ride includes several lightweight woods in its “Performance Tuned Core” for an all-terrain board designed to be responsive. But any snow pro knows to consider many features when snowboard shopping, such as the length of the effective edge. A longer edge is more stable, but a shorter edge turns more easily. So if you plan to hit the terrain park a lot this year, you may want a shorter edge. But if you’re going down the mountain more than a few times, you might appreciate the control of a board with a longer effective edge.
To check out other Ride snowboards in 2010, visit one of our Sun & Ski Sports shops for a great seletion of Ride and other brands, as well as expert advice.
Can’t decide whether you like strap-in or step-in bindings better? The flow-in style of snowboard bindings combines the best of both worlds—the simplicity of step-in bindings and the precision of strap bindings. Some of the reasons to give flow-in bindings a try:
-Flexibility: The flow-in bindings allow you to wear soft boots.
-Ease: To get in and out of flow-in bindings, just flip back the highback and slide your foot in our out.
-Control: Flow-in bindings resemble strap bindings in that there’s something across the top of your foot. But instead of a strap, flow-in bindings feature a large tongue that covers most, but not all, of the top of your boot.
Caveat: You can’t adjust a flow-in binding as precisely as a strap binding. But flow-in bindings are becoming more popular with many boarders of all disciplines.
No matter which type you buy, remember to select the right snowboard bindings size to get the most from your ride. Visit one of our shops for sound advice on choosing the right bindings.
When it comes to snowboards, size matters, and so does weight, but there’s room for individual preferences. For both mens snowboards and womens snowboards, size guidelines are just guidelines, and your personal preferences, skill level, and snowboarding style are just as important. But a few ground rules still apply:
-In general, you can gauge the right size for your snowboard this way: The tip of the board should reach your chin when you place one end on the ground.
-If you crave the speed of the big mountains, you’ll want a bigger, slightly heavier board.
-But as you take your freestyle snowboarding to the next level, you may want a shorter board for maximum maneuverability. Some mens snowboard reviews mention boards such as the Burton Vapor, with its composite core and stainless steel edges.
-What about width? When sizing a new snowboard, your feet shouldn’t hang over the edge—you’ll just get slowed down by the drag from your toes or heels. But don’t allow too much extra space between the edges of the board and your heels and toes or you’ll have a hard time putting down the pressure to make sharp turns.
Step-in snowboard bindings offer the easiest way to get on and off your board fast. All you do is step on the binding and click it into place. Step-in bindings are a good choice for freestyle and freeride/all-mountain snowboarding. But all types of snowboard bindings have their pros and cons, so here’s what to know about the step-in option:
-Convenience and speed of getting on and off your board.
-Easy to find as rentals, if you want to test out freestyle as a change from your usual carving days on the slopes.
-Less additional support than straps, which can make doing tricks more challenging if you don’t have the right fit.
-Step-in bindings require step-in boots, so your boot choices may be more limited.
Read some snowboard bindings reviews and test out some boot and binding combinations before you make a final decision. Then talk to an expert at one of our ski shops about testing different types of equipment. If you are transitioning between skiing and snowboarding, you may find the step-in bindings easiest to use because they are similar to step-in ski bindings.
If you want to get the most out of your next snowboarding season, think about your snowboarding stance. Everyone’s stance is unique, but if you haven’t given yours much thought lately, consider these elements of stance that can help you select your snowboards:
-Foot in front: Do you prefer your left or right foot in front? Most people go for the left, but go with what works for you. If you are left-handed, you may prefer your right foot in front.
-Width: Your stance width is the distance between the front and back bindings of your snowboard. If Alpine snowboarding is your thing, try adjusting your bindings so your stance is a bit narrower. Are you a freestyle boarder? Set your stance a little wider so you have a more stable foundation for jumps.
If you are breaking in a new board and you aren’t sure where to set your stance, use the width of your shoulders as a starting point. Ride for an hour or two and make some adjustments as you get used to the snowboard. Some other guidelines—if you are shorter than 5 feet, try a width of 17-18 inches. Taller than 6 feet? Try 22-23 inches. Visit one of our Sun & Ski Sports shops to check out the latest models of Ride snowboards 2010, as well as a selection of other great boards.
Before you decide what to pack in your snowboard bags, make sure you have the right bindings for your board. Strap bindings are the most common type of snowboard bindings. These bindings have three components: base plate, straps, and highback plate. The specifications you choose for these components depend on how you use your snowboard, so plan accordingly. In particular, the height of the highback plate varies depending on your preferred snowboarding style:
-Tall for control. If you’re an Alpine boarder looking for speed on the turns, a higher backplate on your snowboard bindings will improve your control.
-Short for flexibility. A freestyle boarder or a regular at terrain park? Choose a snowboard binding with a lower backplate for more flexibility and more turning power.
Other benefits of strap snowboard bindings include flexibility, comfort, and security. The strap bindings can be used with any type of snowboarding boot. Look for strap bindings with plenty of wide padding on both the toe and ankle straps for maximum comfort and fit.