Mammoth Mountain opened last weekend signaling the start of snowboard season in California. Sure, there are several mountains open already in Colorado, the East Coast, and Mt. Hood is really open year round, but Mammoth begins the So Cal, bro-bra, rail-slide madness. With one run and a number of different rails and picnic benches, the slopes were turned into what pro rider Rob Kingwill refered to as a “jib concentration camp.” After all, there wasn’t much else to do.
Kingwill was with several other members of the freestyle U.S. Snowboard team including Zach Horwitz and Seth Wescott, hoping the weather would get a bit colder and the mountain would blow snow and open the halfpipes. Local pros such as Billy Anderson and Josh LeVine were enjoying the soft snow and sunny conditions. Since we hadn’t ridden for a couple of months, as most of you haven’t, we remembered several different things about snowboarding and want to pass them along to you so you have the best possible experience.
1. Break in your boots before you go. Wearing sandals or loose skate shoes all summer spreads out the feet, and they’ll likely rebel the first day in those tight snowboard boots.
2. Try on your boots and bindings before you go. Hop around the floor while strapped into your board. It sucks having to adjust straps or stance angles the first day on the slopes.
3. Double check you have everything before you go. Things like a screw driver, extra clothing, sunscreen, and a hat are always useful to bring along.
4. Work out the muscles before going. The best exercise for snowboarding is snowboarding, but you better do something else to get those legs in shape. Running and squats help a lot.
5. You might want to consider taking your old board the first day, especially if the coverage is minimal and there are a lot of rocks showing.
6. Get your board waxed and detuned.
7. It’s usually icy early in the morning, so you don’t have to be in too much of a rush. Save the energy for when the snow softens up a bit more, but remember, it might get too slushy in the afternoon, so don’t lag .
8. Start the season early. More days means more fun.
9. Resort food is pricy. Have that extra cash, or pack your own lunch.
10. The last thing to remember: Snowboarding is super fun. Get off the couch and go, even if there’s only man-made snow and one run. You won’t regret it.