The Well-Outfitted Snowboarder

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Winter Travel Guide 1996

The Well-Outfitted Snowboarder

The Outfits
With more than 400 companies offering everything a snowboarder needs to hit the slopes, it's tough to choose. Here are some solid products we've discovered, along with tips on what to look for.

Jackets and Pants: Powder gaiters in possible snow-entry areas are important features in garments like Dub's Blackhawk jacket ($179). For those interested in semi-technical outerwear without the high price tag, Wave Rave added the GPSX1 Extreme Wet Weather Gore-Tex jacket ($300) to its technical line of rider wear. For women, there's Bombshell's Challenge jacket ($140), with the matching waterproof/breathable Utility Jean ($129). To take pants on and off with your boots on, look for knee-high side zips; Yang's Waders Tech Bib ($179) has a high bib to keep you dry on deep-powder days. Better yet are full-zip pants like the Tech by Tonawawa ($170) that allow superior ventilation.

Boots: Soft freeride models should provide ankle and heel support: The Airwalk Freeride ($260) has an internal heel-hold sleeve, and the Sims Liberty ($179) for women has a lower outer shell and narrow ankle construction. Hard boots have more support and greater response for carving, but are less forgiving. Multiple adjustments

I want to hold your heel:
Airwalk's Freeride boot
help dial you into a comfortable fit. The Raichle SB125 ($435), Blax's Franz ($368), and Burton's Reactor ($400) feature forward lean, lateral and canting adjustments, and overlapping shell designs with four-buckle closures. The step-in soft systems are the wave of the future and allow riders to get into bindings without having to adjust straps. Better versions of these boots, like the Blax I-Spine ($348-$358) and K2's Couloir ($239), offer lateral mobility and adjustable forward lean.

Bindings: What you need varies depending on boot and riding style. For all-mountain freeriding, freestyle highback bindings are the norm. Forward lean and ratchet strap adjustments, heel-cup sizing, and multiple strap placements are available in Burton's Custom Freestyle ($170), the Blax Luminum ($148), and Morrow A1 ($139). Plate bindings are needed for hard boots and should offer

No more snow-up-
the-sleeve tricks: Dub's Blackhawk jacket
canting, multiple angles, and toe (not heel) entry and release latches. Good bets are the SnoPro Force ($160) and Mistral's Tool-less Pro ($169). Plate bindings also come in step-in versions (make sure boots are compatible) like the Blax Diet Intec ($248) and Nitro Step-In ($217).

Boards: If you're just getting into the sport, go with a freeriding model so you can learn on a forgiving board but still have plenty of room to graduate to more advanced terrain. The Lib Tech Emma Peel ($399) and Ride Timeless 146 ($420) have stiffer tails that punch you out of turns, but softer noses for plowing through anything. For a second board on those extra-deep powder days, go with the longer boards and longer noses found in Morrow's Matt Goodwill 176 ($421) and Ice Age's Tom Burt 172 ($415). If you're into carving, most companies have shifted to symmetrical tails for quick edge-to-edge response and stability. Try the Nitro Range 157 ($350), Rossignol Accelerator 159 ($410), or Generics Geland 152 ($368).

Filed To: Snow Sports

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