I’m doing this partly for SEO but also because people have been pinging me lately with advice and asking what I’m doing to prepare. Honestly, most snowboarding gear guides make things REALLY complicated or so simplified that you’re left wanting more info.
On my flight up to Boston from Jacksonville, I met a guy who saw my North Face coat and asked, “you headed to Boston?” which was pretty random as we were connecting in ATL. The odds of me being on both of his flights were slim. I said yeah and he said that he drunkenly was talked into buying plane tickets for snow boarding in Vermont. He was a Florida native and didn’t even have a jacket yet. *facepalm*. I told him he was in for a huge sticker shock if he was going to buy everything. Good luck! I gave some pointers but one weekend of snowboarding, you need a lot of gear and it’s not all cheap or rentable.
First, I’d recommend at least visiting 2 snowboarding shops. Get a few experts to recommend 2-3 different packages that work for you and then go online and do some research and see if the shop can price match.
Snowboard length, width and flexibility mostly is dependent on your weight. Of the 5 shops I went to, each only had 2 boards in stock for a man of my size (6’3″, 255 pounds, size 13/14 shoe). Yes, I’m a fairly large man. If you’re 5’9″, 190 pounds and sports a 9 shoe, you’ll have much more luck. The snowboard specs also depend on your skill as a rider. Just like in surfing, the size of your board will greatly vary depending on your skill level. I’m kind of stuck because my board has to be large due to size which limits me on tricks. I guess the goal is to snowboard a lot so I get good enough to need a more flexible board and, in turn, lose weight in the process. These should go hand in hand.
—— You can skip this part if you have snow-ready clothing———
You need to keep snow OUT of and it can’t touch your body. Once snow gets in, things get miserable!
- Snow pants will run $99-$250 depending on brand and weight. If you’re big and run hot, you can get lighter gear. My pants were from LL Bean and cost $99. They’re all one piece, very thick, go over my boots and tighten at the top and bottom. North Face pants with various layers can cost more.
- My jacket has three layers. One is a wool piece, then fleece then an outer weatherproof bit. They all three disconnect as you get hotter but, for snowboarding, you need all three layers. Again, keep out the snow and water! Make sure they have straps that tighten up the waste and sleeves to keep everything tight. My jacket was $179
- I also have Wool Leggings and a long sleeve shirt. They’re form fitting and breathe pretty well. Avoid cotton. The combo was $70. You can go without these but if you plan on doing it often, invest in a good pair. These don’t substitute the support of underwear. Still wear your undies under the thermal pants.
- Get 5 finger floves that tighten up. My North Face gloves have a zipper pocket on the back for a hand warmer and suede inner palm for a better grip. Mine were around $70
- A wool, medium weight tight beanie for my head. It’s thin and forms around my head. I can wear this under my helmet and it keeps my head warmer and hair out of the way. This should be $15 or less
- Wool socks are nice to have. I wear ankle high socks with wool socks over them. Wool socks can be $10 for a pair
The helmet I got was the RED Avid in Black It was $65 in the store I bought it from and NH is tax free so that helps. RED is a popular brand that’s actually designed and manufactured by Burton snowboard company. They had more expensive helmets but remember, most of the gear I bought is low cost. Who knows if I’ll still be in NH next year. If the gear pays for itself this year, I’ll be happy.
The boots I got were Burton Motos. They’re the most popular boot of the year due to comfort and the awesomely cool speed laces. They’re not laces, you just pull and lock these strings and the whole boot tightens up. They also fit my ultra wide feet with total comfort. I’ve already broken them in and I LOVE the color!
Finally, the hot tamale itself, the snowboard! I ended up getting the K2 Raygun (Wide Atlas Style). It’s a great board that is flexible but not too much and is extra wide for a guy my size. It’s long enough and w/ bindings, it came in at under $500 which was the sweet spot for me.
Most snowboarding shops will bundle boards with bindings since you really do need both. I couldn’t find this board cheaper than MSRP which is $349. With bindings, which I got the Indy model for $149, I had a pretty sweet deal. I really wanted to go Burton all of the way, but a lot of their good boards are $500+ and some can be $800 and those are for skilled riders. This is a good growth board.
Of course, none of the stuff I BOUGHT will help YOU. You have a different skill, size and so on. I think the winter gear is important but the board and rest of the things are personal preference. I haven’t bought something in person in a very long time. I’m an online shopper but you simply can’t read and get all of the facts. Snowboarding gear is an in-person purchase.
And now…. PHOTOS!
Finally, because someone just asked me where I’ll be snowboarding this year. I’ll share links in order of places I’ll be going.
- Whaleback - 10 minute drive from house and very cheap
- Pico Mountain – Still low cost, tons of slopes
- Killington - Pricey and I’m waiting until I am more experienced to make the lift fee worth it