|Snowboard Beginner's Equipment Guide|
Ski & Snowboard
Items required for begin snowboarding: Boots,
Bindings, Board and a Leash. A snowboard tool kit is also a very nice
item to have. In addition proper clothing for warmth and comfort, and
protection. For injury prevention and your own safety, wrist guards and
a helmet are highly recommended.
1. Soft System
4. Hard Systems
Because the binding is providing the support, the boot has a softer sole and can roll slightly from side to side within the binding. As it has the most margin for error, it is also the least responsive of the three systems.
Many freestyle riders prefer the soft system because there's a better chance of recovering landings. Soft boots are also comfortable for hiking and walking around in.
Disadvantage for beginners is that the soft system binding typically uses straps which for most require you to sit in the snow to put on and secure tightly. This means a cold wet bottom and effort to stand up. One soft system that is easy to attach is the “Flow Binding System” with its rear entry for the boot and snap up high back for locking the boot into place. It is the convenience of a step in without the special boot.
For its convenience, it is a top choice for rentals and beginners and intermediates.
The disadvantage with most step-in systems is the boot. The boot is usually stiffer making walking less comfortable if you plan to hike in them. They typically have a metal component on the bottom of the boot that may damage floors or ice up and must remove the ice build-up before attaching onto the binding. Because of the metal on the bottom of the boot care must be taken when walking on hard floors.
There are two bindings that I know of at this time that allows nearly step in convenience using soft boots. Flow binding allows the wearer of a soft boot to rear entry into their binding and you just pull up on the high back and lock it in. Another binding that also allows for rear entry is a new model K2 binding for this year 2004/2005 season. The K2 has the traditional straps so you can fine adjust the tension on the boot after you put the foot in.
They are the most precise of the 3 different
The hard system offers superior control for speed, offer greater ankle support, are extremely durable and make getting in and out of bindings easy
Within the hard system, there are both traditional toe-clips and step-ins systems. Generally, a step-in is slightly stiffer than toe-clips, because step-ins use an interlocking latch mechanism to secure the boot to the binding. The latch allows minimal movement of the boot within the binding, while toe-clips allow the boot a degree of roll within the binding.
The leash is a short cord that straps your front foot or boot or leg to the front binding. The leash should always be attached to your leg or foot when you are riding your snowboard. When you are carrying your snowboard, you should loop the leash around your wrist so the board will not get away. Typically the lease is attached to your front foot.
Choosing a board:
As a beginner the board best suited is one that is most forgiving. These are usually also the ones that cost the least. Going by low price point is typically a good indicator that the board is for beginners. What is most important is that the board is appropriate to your weight, height, ability and type of riding.
Here are some key points to look for in a board to help you narrow down the selection.
1. Styles of Riding: Snowboards come in different
styles of riding. Choose the type that suits your style.
The first 3 types of riding style Technical freestyle, Freestyle, and Freeride we find basically 3 Shapes of boards
3 basic shapes in board design:
Directional Boards: very popular choice for all mountain/powder riding abilities. These boards have a longer nose for powder, generally have a stiffer tail than a nose and, usually, the stance is set back from the center of the board. Generally, these boards are your all-mountain boards made for the freeriders.
Twin Tip Boards seem to be the freestyler's choice. These boards work exactly the same either way you ride them for true park and pipe performance.
The Directional Twin Board combines the shape of a twin with the flex pattern of the directional. This board is an all around board made for the freestyler. As a beginner this maybe your best choice.
2. Waist width.
Board length Height Weight Ability
Boards typically should be at least chin height, and no wider at the waist than the length of your foot. I suggest keep your first board below your upper lip.
Check the specifications of the particular board. Usually each board will have a riders weight range recommendation. If your weight is below the lower end of the recommended weight range then the board will ride stiffer than what it is intended for making turning more difficult. If your weight is above the upper end of the range it will ride softer than what it is intended for not allowing you to hold an edge very well.
Consult a knowledgeable snowboard-shop employee to help you choose a board.
For lighter person, a stiff board will feel unresponsive and will be harder to pilot through choppy snow. Longitudinal flex has a lot to do with a rider's individual weight. A lighter person the board may feel like a plank while the same board may feel like a rubber band to a heavier person. Purpose plays some part in flex selection. Mountain riding is better on a stiffer board, while a softer stick works well in the park.
Torsional flex is how stiff a board is side to side or toe to heel. Torsionally, soft boards seem to get in and out of turns easier. Basically, a stiffer torsional flex will work better on groomed snow, railing turns, while soft will absorb chopped snow better.
Now that you have your equipment do not forget about developing the skills needed to put them to good use. Take lessons, preferably before you go to the mountains at SnoZone Endless Slope Ski and Snowboard School.