Riding the Snowy Waves
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but snowboarding is awesome. Ever since I picked up the sport a couple of years ago I have been obsessing over it more than one person should. It’s fast, it’s cool, it’s exhilarating, and it’s got everything one needs for that much-needed jolt of adrenalin.
With that being said, it wasn’t an easy ride. There were lots of ups and downs, falls and cold ridden nights. Clothing may be one of the most important aspect of any winter sport, especially snowboarding, so let this blog post serve you as one amateur’s guide for how to prepare for riding the snowy waves in the freezing winter.
Before we get to the clothing, first let’s examine the snowboard itself. At first glance, a snowboard may look like a standard longboard with some leg attachments, but there’s more than just that. It’s not just the board, but what it’s made of, how you ride it and how it makes you feel!
First off, snowboards are composites, made off of several different materials layered on top of one another. It’s a sandwich structure of urethane wrap, several stringers and a few layers of fibreglass. This is all for the purpose of making the board strong, flexible, durable and easily slideable on the snow.
Once on the board, the direction in which you are moving becomes the tip, and the opposite side, the tail. Now all that’s left is to develop a sense of balance and start riding this bad boy as soon as possible.
With all of this mentioned, now we can move on the clothing and cover everything from mens snow gloves to safety gear.
We’ll start off with snow gloves, because from personal experience, if your hands get cold, you won’t be able to enjoy much of anything while snowboarding. Mens snow gloves are essential for any snowboarder. Heat usually leaks from our extremities, and the warmer we keep them, the more fun we can have before frostbite sets in. This is where mens snowboard gloves come in.
Being made from leather, nylon, polar fleece and elastin, they allow full motion of the hand without that pesky issue of hypothermia. They increase grip straight and also function as stylish hand accessories.
When I first got into the whole snowboarding thing, I had an old pair of mens snow mittens that were kind of worn out. This of course made them less water and cold-proof as expected and my first snowboarding session was ravaged by pain in my hands from severe cold exposure. The very next day I went to the local store and bought myself a new pair of mens winter snow gloves, learned the difference between glove and mitten and started my actual “second” first day of boarding.
So what do you want in a snow glove you may ask. First off, always go for GORE-TEX® material gloves. GORE-TEX® make some of the best waterproofing materials out there. This gives you extra protection from the snow because, as we all know, snow is cold and wet and if that happens to your hands, you end up being an icicle.
You also want to look at the thickness of a glove. Thin gloves don’t have much in the case of isolation, but thicker ones do, so it’s preferable to always go for thicker gloves that have several elements of leather. Leather not only provides isolation but drastically increases your gripping capabilities, not to mention it looks incredibly cool.
Snow Socks and Boots
Socks and boots go together like PB and J, so you can’t really go for one and not the other…they work as a team. Winter socks are usually made of wool, cotton and several types of polyester fleece material that are waterproof. This will keep your feet warm and dry while you’re on the board.
Boots are a bit trickier, for they have extra factors. They have to keep you warm, keep you stable and be comfortable all at the same time. They usually have an array of lacing systems, styles, flexes, and fits for every type of foot. You really need the boots to fit just right, as they’re maybe one of the most important parts of your gear. Having boots that secure your foot to the board and fit properly is highly important in developing your snowboarding skills while keeping your feet nice and toasty!
Finally, outerwear. This means pants, shirts and jackets, all made to keep every Watt of heat surrounding your body as long as you are in the snow.
When it comes to jackets, find one you’re comfortable in. Style and colour is nothing if the fit isn’t satisfactory. A good fit ensures maximum retention of heat and no uncomfortable tight areas. Also, make sure to purchase a thicker polar fleece jacket. This will allow the jacket to breathe so even if the temperature rises above zero, you won’t be overly sweaty from being wrapped up in all those layers.
Pants are the jackets for your legs. Wise words. Jokes aside, just like with gloves, I highly recommend GORE-TEX® winter gear, making your pants waterproof and extra insular. Also as with the jacket, you may want to consider purchasing snow pants with extra pockets. This sounds insignificant now, but pockets do come in handy on the snowy mountain tops.
Our final stop is safety gear. As previously stated, while you get the hang of it, you will fall off your board time and again, so it’s best to be prepared for such occasions. Helmets, knee pads, elbow protectors and hip pads will help you out a lot in regards to this.
That’s my short run-through, I hope you find the joy in this sport as much as I did and hopefully, we’ll see each other at the ski lift next time.