Snowboarding trips can be the most fun you have all year. There is nothing like travelling to another state, or part of your own state, that has new and exciting terrain to shred. Trips to South America or New Zealand will happen in the summer time for us in the Northern Hemisphere and are usually only worth the time and expense if they include at least 8 to 10 days worth of riding. If you are on the east coast and want to try for some sweet powder riding, then any number of Rocky Mountain or west coast states will do. There are also amazing spots in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada and Alaska has the best heli-riding in the world. You might also head to Austria or France where, when conditions are good, can be unbelievable.
If and when you do decide to take a multi-day snowboarding trip you are first going to want to figure out what to bring and what to leave home. Of course, I’m not going to tell you how much underwear you need to pack or what kind of toothpaste does not explode in a plane’s cargo hold- you probably have that dialed in already. But I will give you a few suggestions on what to bring for snowboard-specific gear based on my past and present experience. In general, these are suggestions for a 7 to 14 day trip that was planned in advance by at least a few weeks.
Let’s break it down into hard goods and soft good starting out with the snowboard bag.
- Snowboard Bag: Snowboard bags normally have a reinforced bottom to keep the bag from sagging when you pick it up. Most have wheels at one end and a handle at the other so you can walk it through the airport. A lot of bags have a lower compartment where your board goes and some have zippered compartments to divvy up your boots, apparel, helmet, bindings, etc. I keep my bindings attached to the board and stack the folded clothes and hard goods on the board. Board bags are pretty much the best way to go when travelling by air.
- Snowboard: When travelling by air weight is always a concern- a couple of ounces over 50 lbs and you can get wacked with some ridiculous surcharge. Instead of bringing a park board, powder board and an all mountain- go with just the all mountain board only since this will serve you fine if there is powder or you plan on lapping the park and it will save you a lot of weight. You will also have more room in your board bag to pack other stuff too.
- Tools: At some point you will probably need to tighten up the bolts on your bindings so bring screwdriver.
- Binding Straps: Binding straps can break so it is always a good idea to bring extra toe and ankle ladders. They are easy to replace if you have them but hard to find if you do not.
- Binding Ratchets: Ratchets can also break or malfunction. Sometimes it is possible to fix the ratchet but if the spring mechanism breaks then you will probably need to replace it. Your local snowboard shop will be able to get you spare parts for your bindings. They may have parts in the shop or may need to order them from the manufacturer.
- Wax and Gummy Stone: Also bring some rub-on wax because on multi-day trips your board’s base will tend to dry out by the fifth day of riding and shops can take a few days to wax a board. Read the directions for rub-on waxes as they tend to call for different ways of buffing it off. You can also bring a travel iron, scraper, buff pad and hot wax if you want but this will add weight and take up space. Also, bring a gummy stone to grind out any burrs you may get on your edges from hitting rocks or other hard objects.
- Laces: If you have lace up boots bring an extra pair of laces in case one snaps on you. If you have speed laces then bring a spare replacement kit. Renting boots is not always a great experience due to sizing and comfort issues.
- Base layers: Base layers are basically your long underwear including your socks. More than any other product on the market, wool keeps you warmer and drier, it insulates even when wet, and prevents you from over heating better than any other fabric. Wool base layers are also form fitting and stretchy so you can comfortably layer over them and they do not stink and can be worn for multiple days at a time.