Now that we have a bunch of snow, it’s time to get familiar with some winter sports gear. This week we will be talking about snowboarding gear, so getting to know your snowboard, boots, bindings and attire.
Let’s start with start with snowboard length. Riders should reference a height to board length table either online or at a sports shop. Board length can also vary depending on skill level, height and weight. After finding a board length range based upon weight and height (more importantly weight), specific length is the next step. The shorter side of the spectrum is more beneficial for beginner boarders and people on the lighter side of their height bracket because turning is easier, speeds are slower and board length is more weight dependent. Also, those interested in doing freestyle or powder riding will also benefit from a shorter board. More experienced riders typically use longer boards because of the increased speeds. Additionally, people who are on the heavier side of the height scale should use a longer board because the length will keep the board above the snow when boarding off groomed trails. After determining the right length board for you, width needs to be taken into consideration. Board width is dependent on foot size and using a sizing chart to determine what board width is needed for your specific shoe size is the easiest way to find the right size snowboard.
Bindings are the next aspect of getting a snowboard ready for the season. A unique feature of snowboards is the variance in binding locations and positions. Snowboard bindings need to be mounted to boards and can be secured aft, center, or forward. In addition, bindings can be mounted at different angles and separation distances depending on comfort. Because boards can be ridden backwards (switch) or forward, bindings are usually mounted equal distance from the middle of the board with a slight angle so toes are just barely towards the board ends. When boarding in heavy powder or backcountry, bindings can be mounted more to the aft of the board to help keep the nose of the board from sinking in the snow. Distance between the bindings is dependent on comfort, but placing them too close together or too far apart can be unsafe. A general rule is just wider than shoulder width apart; this allows for a high level of balance and helps with knee bending comfort and safety. After finding the right board and mounting the bindings every rider needs to get boots.
Finding the right boots for snowboarding is as easy as finding a pair of shoes. Try on boots to find a fit that is both comfortable and snug. Most snowboarding boots can be tightened by the individual, so ensuring the ankle and lower leg are secure in the laced or tightened boot is important. After getting a boot that fits well, the bindings need to be adjusted to secure your boots.
For safety, all snowboarders are highly encouraged to wear a helmet and have some type of wrist protecting gloves or mittens (though not required). These additional safety precautions can help riders avoid broken bones and concussions, which have been known to ruin the season for a boarder.
After getting all the gear fitted and having the proper clothing, you should be ready to shred the mountain! Keep in mind, the Outdoor Recreation Center (ORC) has boards, binding and boots available for rental. Also, they have trips scheduled to different locations in the area for your snowboarding enjoyment. I hope to see you out there soon!