This page is designed to give you some trix n tips that will enable you to make some better decisions about what equipment might be suitable for you. This is only designed as a guide for a more personal appraisal of what might work best for you, better to drop us a line on our contact us page. We will be happy to help.
What angles should I ride?
How you ride and what you like to ride, are the main questions here. Freeriders/off-piste riderstend to only make turns in a forwards direction will probably opt for a forward facing stance something like +24’ on the front foot and +6’ on the back foot. Riders more focused on freestyle will probably take a duck stance which is basically both feet facing out at the same angles +15’ on the front and -15’ on the back. This is good for going in both directions. A good all round stance would be +18’ on the front foot and -12’ on the back. A notch either way on any of the above is perfectly O.K.
What are highbacks and what do I do with them?
High backs are the section of the bindings that support your calf muscles enabling you to tilt the board more effectively into a turn. The more the high back is angled forward the more response you will have. However if you over do it you will experience foot pain and thigh burn. If you are focused on freestyle, less angle is quite often used whereas speed demons and carvers will probably crank it up. Most brands use a 1 to 5 system. Set both left and right bindings to 2 or 3 for a sensible set up.
What type of board should I buy/rent?
What you intend to do with the board is what counts here. Freeride boards are “directional”. That means the board is set up with the feet slightly towards the back. This design is for riders who mainly go in a forwards direction, and don’t ride switch that much. Freestyle boards are as the name suggests, for doing tricks on. However, a relatively soft freestyle board can be a very good board to learn and progress with generally, not just for tricks. The shape is forgiving and the board is happy going either way, backwards or forwards. There are also “all mountain” boards, which are a bit of both. But remember, no one board does everything.
Don’t get suckered into the top of the range super stiff stick either. Price does not always reflect how well you will be able to ride the board. It’s all about choosing something easy to ride so that when you get on the slopes you don’t have to work too hard.
These days there are a multitude of base contours, S rocker, V rocker, flat bottom etc etc. If you are going to buy a board before getting to resort, there are a few things you might want to consider. The more of a banana shape the board has the less performance it will have at high level riding, especially on firm, icy conditions. V rockers or reverse camber boards are playful and work well in soft snow and are great for flatland freestyle.
The more you head to the camber side of the spectrum the more performance the board will have. Camber boards grip incredibly well in firm, icy conditions and carve like they are on rails. If you buy one soft enough, they can also work well for freestyle.
There are a bunch of boards which sit somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. My personal favourites are Flying V and Camber humps, sometimes called hybrids. My advice is test in resort. Snodroppe let you test any Burton board for pretty much nothing.
S rockers are the perfect shape for powder and charging at high speed through chopped up variable snow. I do like a good S rocker in the Quiver. Check out the Burton Fish, these really are the ultimate Pow boards.
Never buy a board too big. Seriously. Unless your going to enter boarder cross comps or charge big Alaskan lines, there just not necessary.
My tips are. Go soft, short and spend as much money as you can on the techist stick you can find. Top brands like Burton are top for a reason. They are the best. Don’t believe the Burton haters, Burton have been making top quality kit for longer than anyone else in the industry. They have the best R&D and the return policy is second to none. What would you prefer the Skoda or the Audi?
Should I buy my own boots?
Definitely. This is the one thing apart from your clothes you should buy. Its not a problem to buy them in the U.K as it gives you time to walk around prior to your holiday to break them in. A nice mid range boot with medium flex by a reputable make should see you through two or three even four years of riding if you are just doing a couple of weeks a year. Don’t buy them too tight; yes they give a little but not that much. Think of it like buying a pair of trainers, you want to feel held in place but not in pain. These are sports shoes and you spend hours and hours in them, especially if you keep them on through après so they need to be comfortable. People talk a lot about heel lift, but seriously I have never owned a pair of boots that had no heel lift, I just crank up the ankle strap on my bindings. Hey presto no more heel lift. Basically, the length is the most important, when you stand up tall, your big toe should just be touching the end of the boot. When you bend or flex your knees, your foot should slide back, and your big toe no longer touching the end of the boot.
What would be the best way to prepare myself for my snowboard experience?
Snowboarding is a physical sport. Preparing yourself as much as possible will improve your riding and your enjoyment whatever your level. Getting in the gym will reduce the chance of injury. Also if you plan on doing some off-piste with Rebel Alliance cardio will be very important. Get running in the hills or take your bike for a spin. You will enjoy the uphill almost as much as the down hill if you have a reasonable level of fitness. Yoga is proven to be excellent for snowboarding. It will improve your strength, flexibility and general peace of mind. Ohmmmmmm!
Snow Domes and Dry Slopes
These days most people have a snow dome or dry slope nearby. For beginners, a couple of sessions would be useful. You will still be a beginner when you get out to resort but at least you will be familiar with the equipment and jargon. Higher-level riders will always benefit from an hour or two prior to coming on holiday to clean out the cobwebs.