Snowboarding Outfitting Tips for the Mature Snowboarder
Whether you are a novice snowboarder or a seasoned veteran, there are some basic things to keep in mind when getting outfitted for a day on the slopes. And while age doesn’t matter, it doesn’t hurt to get equipped with the best, most compatible gear for your ability level. For those hitting the hill for the first time, ask the rental shop for a beginner board, which will be more flexible and easier to turn. This makes the learning curve a little smaller, and the chances of spending the day on your backside are slightly less. For the more advanced boarder, inquire about demo packages. A few extra dollars will get you the most current board on the market. This equipment is usually in mint condition and boasts the latest, cutting edge technology of the season.
Board, Boots, Bindings: These are the three main things you will need to have dialed in. There is a snowboard for every weather condition, riding style and ability level. There are all-mountain boards, freeride boards, park/freestyle boards or powder boards. Splitboards are also available for those looking to explore the backcountry. What matters most, however, is that you find a board that fits you. With your board next to you, the general rule of thumb is that the tip should be between your nose and your chin. A softer and narrower board will take less effort to maneuver. Width size is very important, as it will directly affect how you turn your board. A springier camber will help stabilize the board on harder snow and also make turning a bit easier.
Boots are an important piece of equipment, will effect how your bindings and board fit, and ultimately what you get out of your day of riding. The bindings can be tweaked and positioned to accommodate your comfort and stance, and a professional can help you adjust the settings until you find what will work best. There are obviously many, many more considerations to take into account when choosing the right set-up for your age and competency level. If you go to a trusted rental shop, they will be able to tailor your board, boots and bindings to your specific needs and help you reach your riding goals for the day.
Ditch the tight one piece, leave the turtle neck and stretch pants from the 70’s behind and embrace the fashion and philosophy of snowboarding: keep it lose. Since your youth is a distant memory, you will likely want to wear a lot of padding. It helps to have baggier, waterproof clothes, as they also allow for more freedom of movement, space for pads and keep you dry as you carve turns (or slide on your back side, as the case might be) down the mountain. A good pair of waterproof gloves is also a must.
Catching an edge on your snowboard can cause a painful fall. You don’t want to spend you vacation icing your bruised body, so pad up! Knee pads, elbow pads and back braces are all available at your local rental shop. But the two most important pieces of equipment will be a helmet and a pair of wrist braces. A good helmet will not only protect your noggin from injury, but will also keep you warm while you ride the lifts. While you may have chosen snowboarding over skiing to protect your knees, be aware that injuries to your upper body are just as likely to occur. The instinct is to outstretch your hand to break a fall, and you can end up breaking your wrist. This is the most common snowboarding injury, especially among beginners. So it is worth investing in a good pair of wrist braces.
Snowboarding is a great way to stay young at heart!