Get The Right Gear For You
Whether in a shop or on the Internet, sifting through the mass of new snowboarding gear can be daunting-but buying a proper setup is not. Just ask yourself what type of riding you do (or want to do), and follow this simple advice for buying your new kit.
Stiffer (generally more expensive) boards, boots, and bindings are very responsive and supportive-making them ideal for fast, aggressive riding or freeriding. On the other hand, softer gear is more forgiving-better suited for learning the basics, jibbing, and stretching out grabs. There’s also plenty of gear that sits right in the middle and does it all.
Start here. Boots are the most crucial part of your setup-it’s very important to buy a pair that fits well. Try them on at a local shop and avoid the Internet gamble. A new pair of boots should fit snug (without pressure points)- holding your heel firmly in place while your toes are just a hair away from touching the end. Remember: boots generally pack out a quarter to a half size, so start with your normal shoe size or smaller. Using comfort as your guide, go with the boots that feel the best.
When shopping for bindings, pay attention to compatibility and size. Make sure they fit your boot and also fit on your board. Burton boards and bindings have differing mounting systems, so double check before you buy.
Pick your snowboard by your weight, riding style, and budget. Most manufacturers provide sizing recommendations, including weight ranges and suggestions according to the flex of the board. The length and shape of a board is more related to riding style-smaller for freestyle riding, larger for freeriding. Keep in mind that alternative camber boards should be ridden two to eight centimeters smaller than a regular camber snowboard. Freestyle-board decks usually have a twin shape, while all-mountain or freeride boards generally have a directional shape.
- Many shops offer discounts on board, boot, and binding packages-just ask.
- If you’re unsure about how to put everything together, don’t. The shop will set you up. Or cruise the How To pages of TWS
- Don’t buy something just because the guy in the shop says, “Everyone is buying these.”
- Ask the salesperson all your questions, and ask them to compare gear-if they can’t answer you, take your money elsewhere.
- Many shops offer waxing and tuning services with the purchase of a new board, and it can easily outweigh other discounts.
Illustrations by Shawn O’Keefe