Choosing the Right Snowboarding Equipment

Trench Sports - Choosing the Right Snowboarding Gear

As the snowboarding season fast approaches many of us are gearing up and getting ready to head to the mountains.  For some of you who may have gone once or twice last season for the first time and you are now deciding to take the plunge and get your own gear (because rentals SUCK) this guide is for you.



Trench Sports - Burton Snowboard

Burton Flight Attendant Snowboard

A beginner should have a board that has a beveled edge (so the edges don’t catch as easily), has a little flexibility, and is sort of hourglass-shaped so that it is relatively easy to turn.



Trench Sports - Ride Insano Focus Snowboard Boots

Ride Insano Focus Snowboard Boots

The most important thing is that the boot always moves with your foot. Since the boot is bound to the board and you are controlling it with your feet, if your foot moves within the boot, your foot movement will not translate into board movement. Make sure you get good boots.

1. The boot should be snug from toe to heel

2. When you lift your heel while standing, the heel of the boot should come off of the ground.  You don’t want your foot and boot to separate leaving a space between your heel and boot.

3. You should not be able to rotate your foot or ankle with respect to the boot when the boot is wedged or pinned in a stationary position. Loose boots may be a problem for women renting men’s boots; their feet tend to be narrower.  This can lead to an ankle injury so be sure your ankle is well supported.

Boots with dense, form-fitting foam in the heel solve problems (2) and (3). The foam is a part of the inside of the boot and protrudes into the recess of your Achilles’ tendon so that when your heel comes up, it catches on the foam and the boot comes up too.

If you are renting instead of buying, don’t leave the rental equipment desk until you are happy, it could mean the difference between having control of your board and not having control of your board.


Trench Sports - Anon Rodan Snowboarding Helmet

Anon Rodan Snowboarding Helmet

You’ll want a helmet with good visibility that doesn’t block your peripheral vision, and one which doesn’t deafen you so you can hear skiers and riders approach from the sides and behind. Different countries have different safety certification names. So, if it is made in Europe, it might say CE. If it is made in the US it might say Snell. They are made to crack so your head doesn’t. Replace your helmet if the inside or outside becomes cracked.

Lacing Up & Strapping In

Boots have lace holes and hooks. Pull hard on the laces when you lace them through the holes. Before hooking the laces through each set of hooks, tie them (like you tie your sneakers, except stop before you make a bow). After hooking the lace on the top hooks, tie them, then hook them through the bottom-most hooks again, tie them. Then hook them through the top-most hooks again and tie them in a bow.

It is obvious where you put your feet on the board. The strap bindings look like sandals, except with a support for behind your ankle. Put your foot in - make sure your heel is all the way back, touching the support. Strap the ankle strap first, then the toe strap. Make sure you get them very tight.

To walk around on flat ground, unstrap your tail foot.  Push off your tail foot and slide on the snowboard with your leading foot still attached.  Make sure to keep your toes up or you’ll face plant.  You'll feel awkward for a while. Don't sweat it. It goes away.


Your clothing should be warm, non-restrictive, water-resistant, and breathable.  Wear something you can move around in.


Trench Sports - Burton AK GORE-TEX Swash Snowboarding Pants

Burton AK GORE-TEX Swash Snowboarding Pants

Pants that are moderately tight, which work for skiing, won’t work for snowboarding. You’ll be bending your knees a lot more and twisting and squatting and balancing, so you won’t want restrictive clothing.


Trench Sports - Volcom TDS INF GORE-TEX Snowboarding Jacket

Volcom TDS INF GORE-TEX Snowboarding Jacket

Your jacket should significantly overlap your pants so you don’t get snow around your waist. So either get a long jacket that goes well below the top of your pants, or a normal-length jacket with tall ski pants underneath that cover your abs.

I opted for the latter: tall ski pants that looked and felt one size too large and nylon down jacket. I was dry, warm, and happy.

Everything that touches snow must be water resistant. The lining and layer underneath don’t matter much as long as they don’t retain sweat. COTTON IS BAD. Chenille, fleece, or wool is good. Gore-tex is very good. You really don’t have to spend a fortune, but you must spend enough to be warm, breathable, and water-resistant (read the clothing labels).


Wear only ONE pair of socks: Ideally, thick long acrylic socks with a very loose weave (turn 'them inside out to check).  Two socks will have your feet sliding around inside your boot, affecting your control.


Trench Sports - Volcom CP2 GORE-TEX Glove

Volcom CP2 GORE-TEX Snowboarding Gloves

Get really warm, waterproof gloves - long ones that extend over the wrists of your jacket. Get gloves you feel comfortable in - not ones that make you feel like you’re wearing the claws of a giant bear suit costume. You want gloves in which you can EASILY make a fist, for reasons I’ll explain in a minute. They make warm, non-bulky gloves these days.

Goggles or glasses with polycarbonate lenses ($25 USD); these won’t shatter when you fall.

Scarf - tied securely, or turtle fur (a pull-over cylindrical thingy for your neck)
I was going down a steeper part of the mountain toeside, and I reached out in front of me and touched the slope with my hand and felt it as it went by.

Dress in layers.  As the day progresses the climate changes and you may want to shed some of those under layers but hold on to the outer waterproof ones.

Trench Sports - Choosing the Right Snowboarding Equipment

Wherever you go to get your gear (recommendations below) don’t be afraid to ask questions.  At least with this article you don’t have to worry about going into the store blind, this will help give you a basic foundation on the gear.  

If you’re not planning on going a thousand times this season, don’t spend a fortune.  Snowboarding gear can easily go into the thousands if you are covering yourself head-to-toe in all brand new stuff.  Keep an eye out for holiday sales, promotions and even some used stuff that is in great condition.




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