Like many of us, the worldwide pandemic may have given you a renewed taste for the outdoors. There is no doubt that this winter season will, as a result, be once again a-typical, with potentially higher crowds in resorts, more backcountry enthusiasts and many trying winter sports for the very first time. Regardless of whether you are a seasoned park rat, off piste cruiser, or complete beginner, there will be plenty of opportunities to brush up on your skills, and your style. So whether you are booked in for your next winter holiday, or planning one down the line, our comprehensive guide for what to take with you on your next trip can help you get started.
For those that have never been before, the first trip can be both exciting and nerve-racking. The anticipation of trying this epic activity should not be diminished by any potential anxiety as to what to expect. By taking some time to make sure you are aware of what you need to bring and how to stay warm, safe and shredding, will guarantee that your first time snowboarding will only leave you wanting more.
You may be wondering then, what gear you are going to need to stay safe, comfortable and stylish. This article lays out what you need to stay warm, dry and protected - without cramping style.
A quick note about renting...
There is no denying it, snowsports can be expensive, particularly if you are new to it and not 100% sure if it is for you. Luckily, many of the things that you will need can be rented either prior to going, or from the resorts themselves.
If you are looking to go snowboarding, you will be well aware that you are going to need a snowboard. These are definitely one of the items to consider renting if it is your first time; and can be rented at snowsports stores at resorts. Whilst gear like snowboards can be rented, clothing is typically bought and should be purchased prior to the trip.
A quick note on quality...
Nothing ruins a snowboarding trip faster than getting caught without the right gear. It is worth knowing that with snowboarding, two things are necessarily true - you are going to fall and you are going to be sitting on your butt in the snow. alot. This snow will naturally melt on you and if you are wearing the wrong types of gear, you will get wet. and cold. It is therefore important to make sure that you have good quality gear that will allow you to stay warm and dry, even after spending a day rolling around in snow.
This guide will go through everything you need to get out on the slopes confidently, allowing you the freedom to hit it harder, with more style and less worries. With this guide, you will be ready for whatever the mountain throws at you.
NOTE: This checklist is for snowboarders, but if you ski you can swap out the boots and board, for skis boots and poles and the rest still applies!
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If you do not own a snowboard, boots or bindings, you will need to rent these from the resort. it is normal to rent these and they can be expensive to buy new, so don’t feel obliged to fork out unnecessarily. Below we will go into a little detail as to what to look for in the three pieces, regardless of whether you’re buying them for the first time or renting. It is worth bearing in mind that the quality will likely be higher if you purchase, but don’t let that put you off.
Snowboard & Bindings
Choosing your first snowboard can be tough. There are different types of boards (alpine, freestyle, and freeride) depending on what style you want to try. These might all look the same, but the paint job is not the only difference between snowboards. If you’re big into the sport, you might have a quiver of boards for varying conditions and styles of riding. For those newer to it, stiffness and shape of the edges are key factors that can drastically change the way a board rides.
If you’re new, you’ll most likely want a snowboard that is on the smaller side of your size range, this will give you more of an ability to manoeuvre the board. Beginner boards are typically softer and have less aggressive edges. These can be more forgiving if you make mistakes and won’t take as much energy to flex and manoeuvre as an advanced board. Beginners often prefer freestyle boards, as they are shorter and easier to control. A twin-tip shape on a board will also assist in your learning because you will be centrally placed on the snowboard, providing you with the ability to ride both ways.
Boards made for riding in terrain parks tend to be more flexible. They also have more of a dish-shaped base (called a rocker). This means it won’t grab an edge as easily but is great for presses and spins.
A race board or something made to go fast might be stiffer so it can hold an edge at speed. They also can be longer which gives a more stable ride when you get going faster. However, they also catch an edge far easier as well.
Backcountry boards are built wider to float on deep snow better and now come in a variety of shapes to aid in the ‘float’. You may also have heard of splitboards, which are a new trend for backcountry.
Advantages of renting
Rent: a rented snowboard has a few features that will make your initial boarding experience more forgiving.
- Edges: A learner board will generally have detuned edges making you less likely to have the painful "catching an edge" style fall.
- Flex: Torsional flex is extremely important in turning the board and, if you get a new board, generally it is harder to break into an ideal level of flex.
- Damage: You are far more likely to run over or into an obstacle that will damage your board in the early stages of boarding (rails excluded!) and you would be better off having that happen to someone else's board.
- Maintenance: While you might incur some more maintenance issues from the frequent use of a rental board and bindings, you'll also have the rental shop close by to cater for any repairs or tweaks you need - included in the price.
- Variation: Once you are reasonably comfortable you could upgrade to a more performance board and try several styles. Similarly you might have a preference for toe-caps over strapped bindings. Renting will give you a chance to try a few styles before investing in your own kit.
- Preference: Some people don't like boarding. If that ends up being you, you wont want to have to have sunk money into a board or be in the situation of trying to second hand sell something you don't know enough about to effectively sell.
Bindings will also come with your board. These fasten your boots to the board and come in different sizes to fit your boots. There are two main types of snowboard bindings that most people ride these days. There are three main types of bindings – strap-in bindings, step-in, and speed entry bindings (a.k.a Rear Entry Bindings). There are others but they are rare these days and highly specialized. For more info - see somewhere else.
Strap in These are the most common bindings on the market. They come with two straps (toe and ankle), a chassis and a highback. They are generally highly customisable. Adjustable heelcup, forward lean, straps, gas pedal or canting, strap-in bindings can be tweaked to your liking and are suitable for any kinds or riding. They are not the fastest bindings to adjust but they're super reliable and pretty comfortable.
Step On bindings only work with Step On boots.
Rear-entry bindings have a hinged highback which can be lowered. This opens the rear of the binding and allows you to slide your boot in. To close it, just pull the highback up and lock the switch. It literally takes seconds and can be done on the fly. If you've never used it, the first tries can be a little tricky but rear-entry bindings are a real time saver. If you don't want your skier friends to wait for you anymore, this is your option.
There are also different types of binding mounting systems on snowboards that may only be compatible with certain bindings. In most cases you can get special base plates that will allow compatibility, however we won’t go into those details here.
These specialised boots will connect you to your board through the bindings. Snowboard boots come in regular shoe sizes, but sizing can vary among different companies. Your boots should be snug, but not tight to the point of restriction.
Boots come in an array of lacing systems, styles, flexes, and fits. You’ll want a boot that fits just right, as they’re one of the most important parts of your gear. As a beginner, you’ll be taking a few diggers and moving in all directions. Having a boot that secures your foot and fits properly is highly important in developing your snowboarding skills.
There are many things that go into building snowboard boots, but the biggest difference is how stiff they can be. Some are quite soft, which makes for a comfortable and smooth ride. Comfort comes with a tradeoff though, a soft boot will lack control on hard snow or at speed. The opposite is true for stiff boots. While they can offer you more control over your board, they make for a less comfortable ride. You’ll always need to stay focused on your movements. A stiff boot can be less forgiving- shift your weight ever so slightly in the wrong direction and you’ll have caught an edge and be tumbling down the hill! The stiffness of the binding front to back plays a large part in how your edges connect with the snow. The amount of torsional (twisting) flex in the bindings has an impact on the way your board will flex and react to your movements. Of course, the weight of the binding impacts your riding too. It can affect the ease of how you move the board, and of course how high you can jump!
Advantages of renting
Rent: just like a board there are several styles of boots, but admittedly boots have less features.
Stiffness: the stiffer the boot the easier it is to engage a turn but until you get muscle memory up you won’t have the fine motor control to effectively make use of stiffer boots. If you buy a non freestyle pair of boots new they will generally be stiffer than forgiving rentals.
Lacing mechanism: this might sound odd, but there are several types of mechanism for lacing up boots and quite a few are not intuitive for the beginner boarder. Renting will get you a quick lesson in how the mechanism works as well as giving you a chance to find out which you prefer.
Nothing ruins a day on the snow like an injury. Snowboarders are particularly susceptible to sprains and broken bones because they fall a lot when learning and because of the tricks they perform in the terrain parks. Here is some of the safety gear you should have:
- Impact Shorts
- Back protector
- Knee pads
- Wrist guards
A helmet is really key for two reasons: 1) Everyone else has one and sooner or later, you'll have a collision. You don't want to knock noggins without a helmet; 2) if you're a novice, you will fall and you will whack your head ... and snow does not act as a cushion. Gone are the days where only the “uncool” wore helmets. The majority of people on the slopes wear helmets now. Even if you trust your own ability, most injuries happen because of other riders! Nowhere is safe. If you’re on a beginner slope you’re more at risk of being cleaned up by an out of control newbie. If you’re on an advanced slope, while collisions are less common, they tend to be even more devastating.
Your brain is the most important organ in your body, so wearing a helmet should be an easy decision. As a beginner, you may struggle with control, so protecting your head is paramount. If you do not own a helmet, the resort will have various options to rent one that ensure you will find one that fits.
This should be obvious with all the research out there about safety and sports, however, helmets will give you some protection against concussions by lessening the blow and ultimately protect the rider from the potential of skull fractures. Protect your noggin (head) every day on the slopes by throwing on a helmet.
You shouldn’t wear a beanie underneath your helmet as this will compromise the fit of the helmet, making it less safe to wear. Helmets have built-in insulation anyways, so you’ll be fine without. I usually bring a beanie with me to wear when the helmet comes off in the chalets, or while I’m hiking and touring.
Most helmets tend to be built for a single (large) impact. It’s unfortunate, but after a big collision, your new helmet won’t protect you as well as it used to. This is why I recommend against rental helmets. Not only do you avoid all the nasty sweat from strangers, but you have the peace of mind of knowing no one else has compromised the integrity of your helmet. Snowboarding (and skiing) are extreme sports. It’s important to invest in a quality helmet.
Guards and Pads
Knee pads, elbow pads, hip pads, and butt pads are all designed to keep you from seriously injuring or bruising yourself on the slopes. So for whatever area you prefer to be protected, get yourself a pad. They also make falls while learning new tricks a lot more comfortable.
Beginner snowboarders experience injuries to the wrists, knees, and ankles as they learn how to snowboard. If you would want to protect these parts of the body, invest in appropriate guards and pads. Knee and butt pads are readily available online and cheaply. Most people underrate wrist guards but they can mean the difference between having safe hands or a twisted wrist in the evening.
I would add knee pads to the list of items to buy, borrow, or steal as well, since--as a beginner--you will likely do a lot of falling and kneeling. After snowboarding for over 12 years, I still wear a pair of knee pads every time I go out. They're pretty cheap, easily fit under outerwear, and provide just enough protection to keep your knees from feeling like they're going to fall off at the end of your first day. Plus, they provide some extra warmth on the coldest days.
Impact Shorts (aka Butt Pads/Crash pants)
While skiers may benefit from the warmth and protection of padding around the derriere, padded shorts are generally more useful for snowboarders (especially those just starting out). These shorts tend to have padding around the coccyx, hips and thighs, which will protect you from a lot of pain when falling backwards or sideways onto hard snow (a no brainer for beginners).
Admittedly, some people don’t like the bulky nature of many of these shorts. However, as with back protectors, the snow protection gear industry has advanced leaps and bounds, creating items that are incredibly comfortable and flexible while still providing ample protection. For example, Rippl Impact Shorts are ergonomically designed to move with your body while still providing optimal impact protection. It does pay to make sure that, whatever padded shorts you invest in, they fit under your saloppettes before you buy them though, to avoid any annoying first-day-of-holiday realisations!
Not only do padded shorts offer protection, but if you are learning to snowboard, you are probably going to spend quite a bit of time sat on the snow. This can result in a very cold bottom if you don’t have the adequate insulation. While thermal leggings and salopettes can do the job, many padded shorts come with enhanced thermal technology that can be a very well received addition.
Back injuries are uncommon for snowboarders, but when they do occur, they can be severe and long lasting. Back protectors sometimes also come with shoulder padding, however they can seriously restrict your upper-body movement.
Back protection is a big one when it comes to skiing and snowboarding, especially if you are an adventurous rider who loves to explore the mountain. While back injuries are not the most common injuries seen in ski resorts, they do happen and can be extremely serious when they do. For freeride and freestyle skiers, who are most at risk from falling objects, solid impact or awkward falls, back protection should definitely be something to consider. Back protectors are also very useful for beginners as you will be constantly falling on your back and a back protector simply makes that less painful when it’s happening over and over.
Previously, back protection has been avoided by many due to its heavy, rigid, uncomfortable nature. However, with modern advances in technology, the SpineShield back protector shown above has become a lot more comfortable to wear. Created with more flexible material, they fit better with the shape of your back and are able to move as you do (kind of like a spine).
Back protectors come in either a harness, vest or jacket style. It tends to just be a matter of personal preference that sets these apart; all have their various pros and cons. The harness style, such as the Rippl Impact SpineShield above, is often more solid than the vest, and can be lighter and easier to manoeuvre. The vest style however is extremely lightweight and can be more comfortable for some people, fitting easily onto your body and staying in place well. Although for some people the vests can get too hot. Additionally, the back plates can usually be taken out in order for you to easily wash the vest, which is likely to get a bit sweaty while you’re working yourself on the slopes!
Finally, the jacket style offers all-round body protection, often including elbow, shoulder and chest protectors, but can also be very bulky, especially when worn between a base layer and an outer jacket. This offering from Dainese is the prime example – though it may be bulky and restrictive it offers a huge amount of protection for those that may need it!
It has been estimated that knee injuries account for around 25-45% of all ski injuries. If you’ve ever known someone that has injured their ACL skiing, or done so yourself, you will know how debilitating knee injuries can be, particularly for ski-lovers. Designed to cushion the force of impact, knee pads come in two types; hard and soft (like these Rippl Impact Knee Pads). Both are effective, but skiers and boarders tend to opt for the softer option as they fit better under salopettes and allow for more freedom of movement in the leg.
If you already have knee problems, knee supports and braces are something we would definitely recommend to help you get the most out of your ski holiday while remaining as free of pain as possible. There are many knee braces around, such as the discreet Ski Mojo brace, that takes up to a third of the strain off the legs, reducing impact, alleviating leg and knee pain and delaying muscle fatigue. It’s all about what works best for you and your specific needs, so make sure you do your research either online or by speaking to those in the know, such as your physiotherapist. Also, be sure to try the brace on before you head to the mountains to make sure it’s comfortable (you could even take it to your local slope!).
During a fall, the first natural movement is to brace yourself with your hands, especially for beginners. Even minor wrist injuries can take about eight weeks to heal. So buying a good pair of wrist guards is never a bad idea when you’re new to snowboarding. As you become experienced, you’ll learn how to fall safely and slide with it, making wrist guards not as necessary.
Wrist protection is definitely something that is more important for snowboarders than skiers. If you’re a skier, you can probably get away without these, but as a boarder (particularly if you are a beginner), wrist guards can be incredibly helpful. Website www.skiinjury.com found that snowboarders are twice as likely to get wrist fractures than skiers.
Snowboarders are much more likely to put their hands out to break their fall, which, if you fall the wrong way, can have devastating consequences for those precious wrists! Apparently, 40% of snowboard injuries are to the wrist and 24% of injuries are wrist fractures. So, wrist protection can do you a world of good if you are a keen boarder and we would definitely recommend investing in some protective gear.
When it comes to wrist protection, you have two main options; gloves or mittens with inbuilt protection, or standalone wrist protectors that fit under a glove. As with back protectors, there are pros and cons for each. Protection inbuilt into gloves tends to be slightly more comprehensive in protecting the entire wrist, and also means that you don’t have to worry about fitting or forgetting your wrist guards because they are always with you.
Clothing for Snowboarding
Once you have the warm base layers, you need some snowboard-specific gear to keep you dry and for best performance on the snow. Wearing the right clothing on the hill goes beyond just a matter of style. You need attire that will keep you warm, but not too warm. Layers are the way to go. When you make your first trip down the hill, your body isn't warmed up yet. As you warm up (and on those sunny days), you'll want to have layers you can strip off to stay comfortable.
Here are some suggestions for how to dress for comfort without overdressing:
- A water-resistant or waterproof ski or snowboarding jacket (if neither is available, a good winter jacket is the next best option)
- Water-resistant or waterproof ski or snowboarding pants (if neither is available, regular snow pants are the next best option)
- Ski or snowboarding gloves or mittens
- Technical ski socks
- Long underwear bottoms, preferably moisture-wicking
- In the extremely cold, another layer over the long underwear bottoms, like sweatpants
- Tight-fitting long-sleeved long underwear top, preferably moisture-wicking
- A medium-thickness fleece or wool sweater (if you don't have either of those, cotton will work)
- A polyester or fleece beanie
Layering is key when dressing for a day of snowboarding. Start with your base layers of thermal underwear and a synthetic long sleeve shirt. Your mid-layer is your insulating layer. It should be a soft-shell (or fleece) jacket or pullover. Your next layer is your protective layer including your snow pants. They should be waterproof, and wind resistant. Make sure you wear your waterproof socks, and maybe tuck an extra pair into your snowboard bag in case water or snow gets inside your socks. Gloves are very important as well. Don’t forget your goggles, buff and any other accessories you want to wear. Make sure you only wear inner layers that are made of wool or a synthetic (polypropalene, nylon etc.) These will keep you warm even wet. That is especially vital for socks.
Snowboard Jacket and Pants/salopettes/bib
A good snowboard jacket will have a wind and waterproof outer shell. The jacket should also be breathable, which means it will allow sweat to escape and keep you warm. While on the mountain, the weather can fluctuate on a whim, so owning a jacket that specializes in temperature control is important to feeling comfortable throughout the day.
Like your jacket, your pants/salopettes also need to be weather-proof and breathable. When your body touches the snow, good snowboard pants will prevent water from seeping through.
- Lots of pockets: Most resort skiers don’t carry packs, so it’s nice to have plenty of places to stash essentials.
- Specialized pockets: Some jackets have a clear sleeve for a lift pass; some might have an inner pocket with a soft liner to hold goggles.
- Powder skirt: This inner gasket snugs around your waist to prevent snow from creeping inside during a fall; cuff gaskets perform a similar function.
- Specialized hoods: Some jackets let you remove them; others allow you to adjust them to fit over a helmet.
- Zippered vents: Pit zips or core vents let you add and adjust ventilation.
- Bib styles: High in front, these fasten with suspenders; they are a little warmer and less prone to snow getting inside than standard pants. If you like suspenders but not full-on bibs, you can buy those separately. Keep in mind that bibs are fussier to get on and off for bathroom breaks.
- Snow gaiters: These built-in internal cuff gaskets help seal out snow.
- Thigh vents: These let you add and adjust ventilation – you can build up a lot of heat when you’re working hard, even on very cold days.
- Reinforced inner ankles: These patches protect your pant cuffs from sharp metal edges.
Base and Mid Layers
Base and mid layers are worn underneath your jacket and pants. On particularly cold days, proper base layering is crucial to staying warm. You want to avoid cotton products because they are neither breathable nor waterproof. Synthetic materials or wool are effective with wicking moisture and maintaining a comfortable body temperature. These are your next to skin tops and bottoms.
Baselayers will help wick moisture from your skin and keep you dry and warm. I usually take a few different weights of Merino wool baselayers on a snowboarding trip. These are odor resistant so I can wear them for a day or two before they need a wash. Plus they are quick to release moisture on the slopes. When I do wash them they’re dry by the next morning! This layer wicks sweat off your skin and keeps you warm. Choose wool, synthetic or silk (not cotton). You’ll want lightweight or midweight depending on the outside temperature and whether you run hot or cold.
On very cold days, adding a mid layer on top of the base is suggested. Mid layers are fleeces, sweaters, sweatshirts, or other common clothing items that add warmth. You don’t usually wear a midlayer on your legs, only on your upper body. This can be anything from a second thin baselayer, to a full on down jacket (advisable in a shell only).
Insulated and waterproof snowboard gloves are also very important. Your hands will be in periodical contact with the snow, so these specialized gloves will protect your hands. Durability is also key, as a typical ride will test the wear and tear of your gloves.
My personal favorite is mittens because all my fingers get to huddle together for warmth. GORE-TEX® has one of the best waterproofing materials out there. As you are learning to ride, your hands are in the snow a lot, to protect them and keep them dry, treat yourself to waterproof or water resistant and insulated. Generally, greater thickness equals greater warmth, and mittens tend to be warmer than gloves, but you sacrifice some dexterity (though inner liner gloves offer versatility). You don’t need ski- or snowboard-specific gloves or mittens, but they do have some nice features, like built-in goggle wipes and long cuffs that go up to mid-forearm to keep snow out.
What’s the Difference Between Ski and Snowboard Clothing?
Traditional skiwear was sleek because of the sport’s Olympic heritage and need for speed. Snowboard clothing is slightly looser, kind of like the sport’s renegade origins. That styling carries over in ski and snowboard brands today, but the features aren’t dramatically different. Which is a long way of saying skiwear would work fine for snowboarding and vice versa.
Snowboard socks are essential because cold feet will quickly ruin your day. Since your feet will sweat from the heat of your boots, you need socks that wick moisture. Thin, synthetic socks work best since your boots are already insulated. If your socks are too thick, your feet will sweat and lose warmth. Also, your socks should be high enough so your skin does not rub against your boots and cause irritation.
Ski and snowboard socks are taller than your boots and not overly thick (thick socks can actually make your feet colder if they make your boots too tight and restrict your blood circulation). Some have padding at the shins. Go with wool or synthetic socks and avoid wearing cotton socks because, when cotton socks get wet from snow or sweat, they take forever to dry out.
Thicker socks will hold on to more moisture and might make your boot not fit as well. I’ll usually buy ski socks to wear in my snowboard boot. They’re made from techy fabrics that work well at keeping my foot dry and warm without compromising my boots fit.
Snowboard goggles help battle glare and protect your eyes from the snow and wind while riding. When riding down a mountain, snow and debris can fly against your face, making goggles a necessary piece of equipment.
Depending on the type of lighting you’re typically riding in during the winter months, you’ll want to get a goggle lens with a tint that matches your typical sunlight exposure during the winter. For us in Minnesota, you’ll probably want a low light lens, like amber or clear. For all who are blessed with numerous bluebird winter days, a dark lens will do. This can get overwhelming and complicated, if you’re concerned, purchase a pair with multiple lenses or talk to a product specialist.
Goggles don’t only protect you from UV rays reflecting off the snow, but also make a huge difference in the clarity and contrast you’ll see on the hill. The better suited your goggle is to the conditions, the better you’ll be able to make out the definition of the snow. If you can see what’s in front of you, you can make adjustments to your riding and be a better rider.
You don’t want to wear sunglasses on the hill unless they are specifically made for winter sports. Of the rack glasses are likely not shatter resistant, are almost certainly not optimized for clarity on the snow. Unless they are a close fit, they won’t protect your eyes from wind and wayward UV rays as well as goggles too.
Goggles are generally classed in 4 categories, depending on the percentage of VLT (light) they let in.
Category 1 lets in the most light and is best for overcast and snowy days. Category 4 lets in the least light and is really only suited to a bluebird day in the high alpine.
For someone looking for an all-round goggle, I’d recommend a Category 2. You won’t get the best performance in sunny weather, or snowy weather, but you’ll get adequate performance no matter what the conditions.
Other gear that's optional but that will make your day more comfortable and enjoyable includes:
- Neck gator (a fleece tube for your neck)
- Hand warmers
- Glove liners or thin polyester gloves to wear inside your gloves or mittens
- Headband (to cover your ears completely)
- Small backpack or sling bag
- Camera to capture the good times
- Sunblock for your face
Along with the necessities, like a snowboard, these items are super nice to have with your setup, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro.
Stomp Pad: They are huge in helping you not fall and feel like you’re going to get hit by the chair when you’re getting off the lift. They help create a stable spot on your board that you put your foot down on when exiting the lift and gliding with one foot out of your bindings.
Wax: This will help you glide over the snow smoothly. Watch House employee, Guf, show you how to properly wax a snowboard.
And because you don't want to gear up before your drive to the mountain, you need something to haul your gear around. If you have your own snowboard boots, get a boot bag that can hold your gloves, goggles, wrist guards, knee pads, sunblock, and even some water and snacks. If you're renting your board and boots, any type of tote bag, backpack or sling bag will do.
Snowboarding Travel Insurance
You won’t regret having travel insurance when you leave for your snowboarding trip, even if it’s just for peace of mind. Especially if you’re traveling overseas, you’ll want to make sure you’re covered. We love using World Nomads any time we travel because they cover the costs for lost or stolen luggage, flight cancellations, and medical expenses in the case of an accident on the slopes.
Universal Power Adapter
Don’t get stuck without a way to plug in and charge up your electronics when you get to the mountain. Particularly if you’re headed on a snowboarding trip abroad, you can’t go wrong with packing a universal power adapter. This one works almost everywhere in the world and includes USB ports so you can plug in multiple devices at once.
Don’t forget the sunscreen: Avoid the racoon look and slather on the sunscreen on exposed skin. Sunlight is more intense at higher altitudes, and snow glare reflects the sun and intensifies sunburn and skin damage. Don’t forget the undersides of your chin, nose and ears
A multi-tool to tighten bolts and make adjustments to your bindings on the fly can be handy to bring with you. Most resorts have tool stations near the lifts, but these are helpful if you’re venturing further away or want to make adjustments as you go.
Capture all your tricks and falls with an action cam. Bring along a GoPro or other action camera to mount on your helmet and film yourself and your friends. If you’re bringing your expensive camera make sure you have a well-padded camera bag.
- Try apparel on ahead of time, and ensure it fits together, i.e. no "my snow pants won't fit over the layers" business.
- Account for how many days you'll be out there (i.e. one set of base layers per day), unless you'll have ready access to laundry facilities.
- Padded shorts can save your behind, literally. Landing on your tailbone (which learners are prone to) knocks men and women out alike.
This might seem like a giant investment all at once. But many of the apparel items you can reuse for climates with below-freezing winters. Or, borrow a friend's.
Learning to snowboard is "tough" enough on a lot of adults, who are not used to the sensation of being a total beginner. Don't make it harder for yourself not suiting up appropriately, and being cold, wet, and miserable out there.