Sunday, 2 March 2014

Snowboarding gear

Following on from my Thailand packing post earlier in the week, I wanted to post about the snowboarding kit I used, during my incredible ten weeks of snowboarding in the Swiss and French Alps. If you're thinking of investing in your own board, bindings and boots for next year, I'd highly recommend shopping for these in the summer. I have however seen lots of great deals mid season both instore and online. I visited Noah's Ark in Stroud, in July 2013, when we were hoping to get some bargains and they didn't disappoint. Although we were slightly limited with options as it was so out of season, they offered at least a 40% discount and even up to a 50% discount on most items. 

We were assisted by Kristian at Noah's Ark, who spent a whole three hours advising my girlfriend Emily and I on the best set up for our needs. He couldn't have been more helpful and I'd absolutely recommend this shop to anyone. After we both bought boards, bindings, boots and some clothes from Noah's Ark, Emily also bought some more clothes from the Noah's Ark website, which we'd also recommend.

Firstly, I chose a Forum Honeypot board. This was recommended to me in the shop as being a great all-rounder. At this point I had only been snowboarding on a one week holiday, so this board is ideal for beginners, but also for progressing to intermediate level too. It's also a great board for powder, as I discovered after many epic snowfalls in the Alps! I chose Burton Mission bindings, which have quite standard clips, which were easy to clip up and off.

During my first snowboarding holiday in Tignes, I hired all my kit including boots. If you're going to invest in just one piece of snowboarding gear, other than clothes, then boots are super important for a comfortable holiday. I had laced hire boots in Tignes, which I wasn't a fan of. These Forum boots have a great system where you just pull the cords tight and clip them in, which is great for getting them fitting tight and well each time you use them. These boots are super comfy, even when wearing them for boarding and apres 34 days in a row in Meribel! 
This Vans snowboarding jacket looks great and is super comfy, but was quite expensive [RRP £199.99]. I saw it on offer at Ellis Brigham at the Milton Keynes snow dome and couldn't resist buying it. It looks great with a basic pair of black salopettes and is an all round great snowboarding jacket. 

I looked at various options for salopettes, but settled on a black Trespass pair from eBay. They were only around £30 and were very comfortable and waterproof. I've had an O'Neill pair of salopettes, which really weren't very waterproof and nowhere near as comfortable, despite costing a fair bit more.

It really frustrates me when I see people skiing and snowboarding with wearing a helmet. It's an absolute essential on the piste. I found it crazy seeing people still not wearing a helmet this year, given the huge press the issue has been getting after Schumacher's horrendous accident. I had a helmet made by brand 'Red', but it was a truly terrible design, with the goggle clip constantly falling off and not holding the goggles in place properly even when the clip was in place. I invested in this Bern helmet while in Verbier. Although not popular with everyone, I really like the peak as it provides a little bit of protection from the sun and also helped protect my face a couple of times when I face-planted!

This set up was great for me as a beginner/intermediate snowboarder. I might get a new board next year, but will most likely stick with the rest of the set up including the bindings. There's nothing wrong with the board, I just think I'd quite like something new and sexy - I get massive piste envy on the snow when I see other amazing bits of kit! 

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