When you go snowboarding some pieces of equipment are essential. You need boots, bindings and a board. But there are a number of other items that are not strictly necessary to call what you are doing snowboarding, but that make the experience much better. And if you are looking for a gift for the snowboarder in your life, check these items to see if you can fill any gaps in their setup.
1) Helmet…I know some people will not consider this an item to make your experience better, but there are a lot of great things about snowboard helmets. They protect your brain! That’s kind of a big deal. They are warmer than just wearing a hat. And they can connect you to your tunes (see below) Now they come in lots of great colors and styles too.
2) Audio chips…Bluetooth speakers that slide right into your helmet liner. You can keep your phone or iPod all safe and warm in your pocket and control everything right from your helmet. Outdoor Tech helmet audio chips are the industry leader and their chips are compatible with most helmets. Some snowboard helmets are also wired for audio and will plug right in to your device. Wireless earbuds are yet another option.
3) Toasty waterproof gloves or mittens…warm hands are happy hands
4) Facemask. There are few things that you will be happier to have in really windy cold than a nice warm facemask. It will prevent your face from getting all chapped, and it will keep your face from freezing off when you are traveling down the mountain at 40 mph with a driving wind, ice pellets or snow.
5) Goggles…ok, maybe goggles will make you happier than the facemask because if you are being bombed in the eyes with ice pellets it’s really hard to keep your eyes open and avoid crashing into obstacles. Snowboard goggles with extra lenses provide you with visibility in a wide range of conditions and protect your eyes from sun, wind, ice, branches, etc.
6) Sunscreen…I know it’s winter and sometimes it’s kind of gloomy, but the snow reflects a tremendous amount of light and the atmosphere is thinner at higher altitudes, so sunscreen will protect your skin and prevent the dreaded goggle tan…another option is a face stick like that from Joshua Tree. Theirs is beeswax with sunscreen so it will protect you from the wind and sun and will prevent your skin from drying out.
7) Snowboard lock. This is not a very glamorous accessory, but peace of mind is good. It really sucks to get a fantastic new shred stick, put it in the rack while you grab some lunch, and when you come out, your board is gone. A simple lock can prevent this. While some are harder to get through than others, it is much easier to grab a board that is not locked up that one that is.
8) Tool to adjust your bindings. Sometimes you just need a little tweak on the mountain. Mid to high end bindings generally have many tool less adjustments. But sometimes you need to tweak your stance or angle or just tighten your bolts. A pocket tool can be a huge help in such instances. Most resorts have tool benches somewhere, but where they are located can vary greatly and might not be anywhere near where you are when you realize you’re in need.
9) Stomp pad. People just learning to ride and those of us who are a little remedial when it comes to lift dismounts (not judging…I’m that guy, or girl) can benefit greatly from a stomp pad. It provides a bit of traction if the thought of cruising around with only one foot in your bindings makes you break out in a cold sweat and leaves you with heart palpitations.
10) Warm baselayers. When it is really cold, wool, capilene, or other synthetic blend baselayers can make the difference between comfort and hypothermia. Stay away from cotton and you will stay warm even if you sweat.
11) Portable snacks. A granola bar, pocketfuel, or gel pack can give you a much needed boost on a good snow day. It’s not always convenient to take a break when hunger calls. Who wants to break for lunch at 12 on a powder day!? You want to get as much as you can in while there is still fresh snow. But all of that hard work makes you hungry! Pack a snack that is easy to eat on the go and won’t upset your stomach. Besides, the slopes quiet down when everyone goes to lunch, so it’s nice to get a break from dodging the crowds.
These items can all make you more comfortable when you ride. But it bears mentioning that a little off snow training can go a long way to enhancing your on snow experience. You can find some tips in this article from getting your gear ready to a few exercises that will help you get in shape. But in the end it’s all about getting out there an having fun!
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