while i get where you are coming from, there are some of us beginners that have 1 really lame shop within a 2 hour drive from where we live.
going to a shop close to where we boarded gave us so much better selection to review our choices, but no room at all to take anything back with us. we tried to be up front and told the guy we were just there to learn about gear.
that being said, the boots that worked well for me there, didn't when i was able to buy them. an i ended up having to get the only pair of boots in my size at the lame ass local store. lucky for me... they seem to be very nice, and fit great. So while i understand there are so many reasons why to try to buy online, you really just can't. it only works if you're lucky.
I will say this, as new boarders, almost EVERY single person that is into snowboarding (instructors, random doods at the resorts and stores, even the online retailers) is just completely stoked to help in any way possible. its definitely a sport that people want to share with whoever they can. been a real positive thing for us.
whew. thats a lot of bs for sat mornin'.
wheres my dew?