Many new snowboarders and skiers think they are ready to go once they’ve got the board or skis loaded up and their boots on their feet, and arguably they are the most important piece of your set up when you hit the slopes. What you bring, and how you prepare yourself for riding is different all together and depends on how long you’re planning to be out, where you’re going and more.
Let’s start with the basics first. Board with bindings, boots. No-brainer right? While we’re on the topic of brains, I always wear a helmet when snowboarding. This year, I’m most excited about the K2 Thrive Pro Helmet – with a dial adjustment via the K2dialed system, it adjusts easily and keeps my head warm. While you could wear a beanie under a lot of helmets, I don’t find it needed while riding. Carry a beanie in the pocket though for before and after or taking breaks.
Goggles – In the Midwest, getting out some times means being on the hill when the snow guns are going, and gray winter days make the lighting flat. It’s critical to have a goggle with a lens that transitions well from high light to low light conditions. I prefer a mirrored lens like the one on Oakley’s O2 XL goggle because it reduces glare and helps me see the change in a slope or spot my landing better.
Gloves – For cold days I prefer a mitten like the Dakine Scout, but always have a second set of gloves handy if my first pair gets wet or if I’m in and out of the bindings for park runs. A lightweight glove like the Ride Shorty trades a little warmth for a lot of grip!
Neck Warmer – For cold days, or for going incognito, you gotta keep the face covered. I always carry the Neff Bandannarama for staying warm and laying low.
Tools – Whether it’s changing the stance on your board, or making sure everything is tight, it’s important to carry a tool with you and the Stance Driver from Dakine makes it easy to do so. With a tape measure to check your stance width, a ratcheting action for easy adjustments and a selection of bits included, you can save the day for you or anyone else on the hill for that matter.
Security – Your board is no small investment, and in the shop, I’ve heard far too many people having to replace a treasured board because they didn’t secure theirs while getting some food or loading and unloading. Unfortunately the crooks know most people don’t care for their board or skis, but this works to your advantage if you lock them up. I’ve used a Dakine Cool lock for the past 4 seasons and its going strong. The cable lock is long enough to lock up two boards to a rack, and I can enjoy a $9 cheeseburger in peace. I’m never telling my combination, but you can set it for a number you’ll remember easily.
Storage and Transport – Skis and boards have sharp metal edges that are not nice to car interiors, so a bag is a must. For travel in town, I always use the Dakine Freestyle Bag – and my seats stay dry and cut free. A word of warning though: DON’T leave your board in the bag when you get home. Pull it out, towel it off and leave it out to dry. When the bag and board are both dry you can store it inside, but no sooner or the edges will rust.
What do you carry with you to the mountain/hill in your area?