How to Buy Snowboarding Gear

How to Buy Snowboarding Gear
Snowboarding is a sport that is highly gear-reliant. Not only do you need a snowboard, bindings and boots, but you also need gear that is the proper size and style. If you purchase the wrong gear, snowboarding can quickly turn from engaging hobby to frustrating, expensive waste of money. Get the right gear.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Snowboard

Step 1
Determine your style. Snowboards come in many varieties, and each style has a targeted type of rider. Some of your basic options are freestyle, freeride and all mountain. The best choice for most beginners is a freestyle or all mountain board with soft flex and a deeper sidecut. Other boards like freeride and powder are really tailored toward advanced riders.
Step 2
Size your board. The old rough size guideline is that the board should come between your chin and your nose. A beginner will want a board that is on the shorter side of that scale and possibly even just below the chin. More advanced freeride and all mountain riders go longer.
Step 3
Factor weight into the equation. Your weight will affect the ride of your snowboard more than your height. Too much weight on a short board will cause it to sink. Too little weight on a long board will make it difficult to maneuver. If you're average weight, weight isn't a big factor, but if you're above or below average, check the manufacturer guidelines for a good size. Size down if you're tall and skinny and up if you're short and overweight.

Bindings

Step 1
Pick your preferred system. Most bindings are strap bindings. They feature two straps to secure your boots. These bindings offer a lot of models to choose from and are preferred by many riders. The other primary modern option is the rear-entry binding. These bindings are quicker to get into and require less adjustment. However, many riders feel that they don't offer the same level of support and aren't as versatile as straps. Talk to some friends and other riders, read the reviews and decide which system is right for you.
Step 2
Find the right style. Bindings aren't quite as strictly categorized as boards, but you'll still find some types like "freestyle" and "freeride." As a beginner, you won't be dealing with high speeds and fast edge-to-edge response, so you don't need a very stiff binding. Aim for a more flexible, natural-feeling freestyle or all mountain binding.
Step 3
Check fit. Wear your boots or put them into the bindings to make sure they fit correctly. You want the bindings to secure down to the middle of the straps, not so loose that they need to be ratcheted to the very last rung and not so tight that they can barely be ratcheted at all. Though bindings include a sizing guideline, fit will vary by boot, so physically sizing is a good idea.
Step 4
Check the hardware. Make sure that the bindings feature hardware that is easy to open and close. The more adjustability available on the binding the better. Tool-less adjustability is optimal, ensuring that you can make adjustments while on top of the mountain without needing to drag a tool kit around.

Boots

Step 1
Opt for a softer boot. Like bindings, beginners won't benefit from super-stiff boots.
Step 2
Get fit right. Believe it or not, boots are your most important piece of snowboarding gear, and the most important aspect of boots is the correct fit.
Step 3
Wear the snowboarding socks that you will ride in. Start with your shoe size and try both boots on. Fully tighten both the inner bladder and the outside boot.
Step 4
Check your feet. Your toes should be touching the front of the boot, but shouldn't be uncomfortably curled up or cramped. You should have some toe movement. The boot should be snug around the rest of your foot.
Step 5
Check for heel lift. Heel lift is a big no-no. If your heels lift up in the boots at the shop, just imagine attempting to round a tight, toeside corner and having your heels lift rather than applying your toeside edge to the snow. Wipe out. To test, bend your knees and lean forward onto your toes. If you feel your heels sliding up, it's time for a smaller size or different boot.
Step 6
Test out the comfort factor. Take a walk around the shop and feel how comfortable the boots are. Pressure points? Find a different boot. Boot cutting causing pain? Try something else. While the boots may be slightly awkward, they should be comfortable enough that you don't get any pain or pressure.
Step 7
Double-check heel lift. Now that you've broken the boots in a little. Check for heel lift again just to be sure there isn't any.

Tips & Warnings

 
After your main gear, be sure that you have a snowboard jacket, pants, base layers and insulating layers. You'll also need accessories including goggles, gloves and a hat.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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