Last week in Breckenridge, I got to try snowboarding for the first time. What a blast, but what a difficult sport to pick up! I am in complete awe of what even minimally-proficient snowboarders are able to accomplish. I know I'll continue trying to learn, even as I also add back in skiing, which will allow me more time with the rest of the family, who all ski at this point.
For fellow novices, I'll review some of the products I brought along or rented, and hope that some of the info will allow you to choose some basic, less-expensive options when the time comes.
On my head, I wore the Giro Nine 10 helmet and Zeal Detonator Polarized goggles. I bought both on sale at REI.com, which is sometimes a good place to find items at a reasonable price. (Italicized text from store website.)
The Giro Nine 10™ snow helmet delivers an excellent fit and solid protection. Lightweight design with progressive lines and wide-angle cut provides great peripheral vision and a gapless fit with your goggles. 15 vents move cool, fresh air through the helmet while radiating heat and stale air out. Fit system features outrigger arms and an adjustment dial to fine-tune the fit; dial is easily operated, even with gloves on. Giro Nine 10 snow helmet complies with ASTM F 2040 and/or CE EN 1077 alpine ski and snowboard helmet safety standards.
- This was an incredibly comfortable helmet. If you're a cyclist, you'll recognize and appreciate the one-handed adjustment at the back of the helmet. Full coverage gives a feeling of safety and also keeps the head warm. Even though my goggles were from Zeal and not Giro, they fit well over the helmet and under the visor. The goggle keeper at the back kept the goggles attached when I pulled the entire set-up over my head, nice touch. Even if you don't buy this exact helmet, I highly recommend getting one with as many vents as you can afford and definitely with the adjustment dial!
Zeal Detonator Polarized goggles with the advanced ZB lens keep your eyes shielded from the sun and snow. Lightweight, pliable and strong frames provide all-day comfort during long days on the hill. No Fog lens treatment inhibits fog formation; it's infused into the inner lens material so it will never rub off or smear.Proprietary ZB rose/brown lens tint enhances vision and allows your eyes to easily adjust to changing light; allows 23% visible light transmission (VLT). Zeal Detonator Polarized ski goggles are sized to fit medium-to-large faces, and will accommodate small eyeglasses.
- The highest compliment I can pay these goggles is that 99% of the time I didn't even realize I had them on. Incredibly comfortable, with just the right amount of tint and polarization for our conditions - we had bluebird skies with neverending sun, perfect for spring skiing. These goggles adjusted to fit over the helmet and fit snuggly against the face - with several serious faceplants to my credit, I can vouch for their fit and fortitude. The goggles never fogged and easily shed layers of snow after my wipeouts.
I rented gear through Rentskis.com. (While their equipment seemed top-notch, it was also quite a bit more expensive than in-town options, but the convenience to the ski/snowboard school may be worth it to some.) The board I was offered as a novice snowboarder was the Burton Cruzer, which is a beginner board Burton once had as part of their Progression series. I felt it was pretty heavy, so would probably look to something else if I were to purchase my own board. That being said, the solid construction probably allows these boards to last a lot longer under the beating us novice renters give them.
The Cruzer was paired with the Men's Progression boots, which were comfortable and responded well to the little guidance I could offer the board. The equipment guys set me up with a pair one-and-a-half sizes smaller than I normally wear, and I was worried my toes would rebel, but the tighter fit gives more control on the board and was not uncomfortable at all, just strange feeling. Relatively light, comfy, these were boots I could imagine buying for myself.
Can't remember the model of bindings that came with the board, unfortunately, but I hated them. The straps inevitably crossed and tangled and were difficult to use with gloves. I'm guessing they were the Burton Progressive bindings, so I would steer clear of those.
|*Slimming feature not included, unfortunately|
I wore my Patagonia climbing bib to snowboard, not recommended as it was not really waterproof and my butt soaked through from all the sitting I did. Probably fine for skiing, though. Underneath I wore my Polar Max Heavyweight 4-Way Stretch baselayer: 'Winter sports demand that you move, and your base layer will move with you with our 4WAY Stretch fabrics--92% acclimate dry polyester and 8% spandex. You could call this "comfortable compression"--it doesn't squeeze you into an uncomfortable position. It just provides high performance stretch, comfort, and warmth without the bulk.' (Source: Polarmax.com) We were told that the baselayers had an "athletic" fit, which meant they were more snug and supportive. Absolutely true. This comes from their "Warmer" selections, and it was almost too warm on 60 degree days on the slopes. Better too warm than too cold, of course. The baselayers have an antimicrobial odor preventer and it definitely worked, as the baselayer smelled brand new after a day of my sweat (and that is saying a lot!). Laima also tried out the 4-Way baselayers - check out what she thought over at Women's Endurance Gear.
Our kids also benefited from wearing some Polar Max: the Double Layer from the "Warmer Collection." They kept the kids dry and warm while spending every day on the slopes and, best of all, remarkably stink-free. With growing kids, malodorous hugs can be the norm after high-energy pursuits. No such problem with Polar Max = very happy parents!
Last but not least, the socks. Just as in running, socks can make or break the enjoyment of an outing. I was lucky enough to get some pairs of Under Armour snowboard socks to try out. In my opinion very stylish, with fun and vibrant color combinations. Stretchy yet supportive feel, these socks were comfortable all day. True to their claim, these socks never smelled.
(Disclaimer: I was sent some items for free to review on my blog. Polar Max baselayers for Laima, myself, and the kids were provided by Terra Public Relations. Under Armour Socks were provided by GoldToe Moretz via Maguire Public Relations, Inc. I did not pay for these items, receive payment for these reviews, or agree to give positive reviews. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)
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Contact me at Kovas@midwestmultisportlife.com.
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