by Trevor Muller
What’s that whi-i-ite stuff on the ground? No Ali, it’s snow and every snowboarder is on edge, ready to take that first hit. But before you hit the slopes you need a board and all the gear that goes with it. So here I am to give you some guidance.
When purchasing a snowboard, whether it’s your first or fourth, make sure you buy it from an experienced retailer. Experience does not necessarily mean how long the store has been open but the knowledge contained within. Do some research by reading up on the stuff in magazines, asking other snowboarders, etc… then go to your local shop. Ask to speak to a snowboarder and get them to help you to pick out the board best suited to you. Choosing the perfect board depends on the person’s height, weight, build, gender, style of riding, and shoe size. Graphics, brand names, warranties are subject to personal taste.
Now that you’ve got the board covered, you must keep yourself warm and dry in style. Snowboard suits must be waterproof, wind-proof and made from a tough material. Some materials which have these qualities are Condura, Gortex, Kevlar and Thinsulate (less tough than the first three). They must also be very baggy because there is a lot of movement involved in snowboarding from bending over to buckle up to spinning 540 over the gap. (Hint: ask your retailer to hold the jacket want to buy under a tap on high pressure to test how waterproof it really is.) Gloves should definitely have a leather or Kevlar palm and be double- or triple-stitched. They should also be a bit loose – tight will cause the hands to get cold.
Some other necessary gear is proper boots, leashes, waxes, goggles, bindings, toques, etc. Most are chosen on personal preferences but get the facts on each from your retailer. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, that’s why they’re there and you’ll be the one riding it all year.
WHAT TO BE AWARE OF WHEN BUYING A SNOWBOARD
The rider’s weight, height and build are what determines the board’s length and the flex needed.
Gender does matter! Because males and females have different centres of gravity, females tend to need a lower side-cut radius than males.
The style of riding you do will determine the type of board you need (race, freestyle, free ride).
Bindings – rotational or semi-baseless only require a 4×4 hole pattern where a baseless needs more options.
The width of the board depends on shoe size. If the rider has big feet, a wider stance is need to prevent toe drag.
Now you’re up to date with the products, anyway, but what’s the scoop for ’96 so far? Rumour has it that Ben Eoin will be open by December 19 with 32% riding snowboards. Peter Rodgers expects to bring back his no limits riding. “I’m going back to a longer. I’m not injured, it’s back to the roots, baby.” The snowboard park promises to be bigger and badder than ever, and I personally guarantee lots and lots of snow.
Well, that’s everything. I would like to end by saying let’s go way back to our roots. Let’s keep snowboarding what it is really meant to be – fun. Compete against yourself, not each other. Treat your fellow snowboarder as a brother, not an enemy, even if you will be riding against him in the next competition, or if she is from somewhere else, or if it’s a beginner riding a Black Snow. It’s all fun, not attitude. Some people will say that’s lame but you are who I’m talking to. Ride hard, stay proud, and keep the roots.
Oh yeah, and when purchasing equipment, try to keep it Canadian.