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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-06-2007, 12:44 AM
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Confused newbie

Hi, I decided I would start snowboarding this year now that I got out of college and actually have some money to do so. I've done a bit of reading but am still mostly confused about the gear. I was in sports authority earlier, thought I'd pick up a pair of goggles and then I'd be all set (aside from renting boots and skateboard). The guy who worked there told me he does a lot of snowboarding and showed me the gear I'd need (pants, jacket, gloves, helmet, goggles, straps, hat, board) with each around $100-$200 range. Needless to say I was a bit shocked spending almost $1000 for something I don't even know if I'll like yet. I was also planning to buy a lot of this stuff during the spring with the rumored 60% discounts. But now that I'm reading up online, his advice about pants and jacket makes sense, since I plan to spend a big chunk of my day there.

One thing I'm concerned about is that some of his recommendations might not have been sincere, so I wanted to ask you guys what a beginner should buy for jacket, gloves, goggles, helmet, and pants (snowboard and boots I'll get during the spring). The reason I'm concerned about it is that when he found me a helmet (triple eight old school with audio), it was XL, but I'm 5'9" 155 so I'd be closer to M, his suggestion was that wearing a hat underneath would provide the extra padding. When he showed me the jackets and pants, they seemed a bit too large too, he said it should be that way so pants and jacket go over boots and gloves and don't get snow in. He also recommended a $200 SIMS board, but looking at reviews of good boards, not a single SIMS comes up. He also said that as long as goggles block the sun (orange) and have anti-fogging it doesn't matter which ones I get, but I read online that a lot of goggles do fog up despite anti-fogging. I'm not saying the guy was trying to screw me over, he did give me a bunch of good tips like choosing jackets based on the water-proof layer thickness, how to prevent calluses, and keep yourself from sweating/freezing. However, I wanted to know what you guys would recommend for helmet, goggles, pants, gloves, and jacket. Also, I do wear glasses and don't ever use contacts. I would prefer to keep my budget under $500 for these items and get other upgrades/snowboard/boots during the spring (assuming I'll like snowboarding, since I've never done it before).
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-06-2007, 06:56 AM
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my wife and i are in a similar boat to you it seems, as we are planning a trip to learn boarding in a little over a month. (yay)

some things that we are planning on / learning as we go.

first, we are going to rent boards/boots the first time or two we go, to see if we like it well enough to continue with our own gear.

we asked around about clothes a little bit before we bought some, to get the range that we wanted for water proofing and breathability. from there we went to the closest store we could and tried some stuff on to get an idea how some of the brands fit. after that its lots of digging online. some retailers that seem to do ok for us:,,,, peterglenn(something), and some others.... theres a thread on the forums about that. and are probably the best place to find good values on your gear. you can find goggles for 30 bucks or so, brands that seem to have a good rep.

underlayers, midlayers, impact clothes (butt and wrist protection) you can find some good info on thoes things on the forums as well.

one thing we did is not buy the cheapest pants / jackets we could find. we found stuff we liked, that we could keep for a bit if we like it, and if not... had a little ebay value after the fact. (im really hoping thats not the case. )

anyway, some thougts from a fellow noob. if you have the time to do the research, and wait for some deals, you should be able to get outfitted fairly reasonably.
post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-06-2007, 07:06 AM
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Well, this is only my second season boarding so I'll tell ya what I've gone through (all together, I've sepent about $1000, but I've got all req'd gear)

Jacket and Pants; The water-proof/breathable ratings are key here... the more expensive stuff will have afiner weave 10000-15000 waterproof, but I'm not sure how necessary that is. If anything buy more expensive pants, cuz you might spend quite a bit of time on your arse as a n00b. I dunno where you live, but where I am (Toronto) Winners is a great place to find stuff cheap. We also have an annual ski/snowboard show that is amazing for sales. Both my jacket and pants were around $150 each with huge mark-downs. Your jacket should have things like a 'snow skirt' and lots of extra pockets & features.

Gloves: Don't cheap out here tho, spend a good $80 on a nice Gore-Tex pair. Make sure their meant for ski/snowboard applications, cuz those tend to have certain features you'll need on the slopes.

Goggles: There are a ton of good brands, Smith being one of the better ones, but spending a ton here isnt required. Just try on a bunch in your price range, and whatever feels good to you, buy. They all will fog up when you might accidentally breathe on them, but they shouldnt when your boarding.

Helmet: I just bought one this season, and I wouldn't worry about getting one until you start carving and getting into the parks. While just learning, and at pretty slow speeds, I don't think a helmet is necessary.

Personally, I think large stores like Sports Authority are a waste of time. Find a local board shop, or even a ski shop. Those guys tend to be more honest, even though they need your business more than the major retailer... don't ask me why though, lol... places like these also have more "un-common" brand names, specific to snowboarding, better selection and often better prices.

The local shop near me, Boardzone has been excellent with customer service, and I wouldn't even think of going anywhere else.

hope that helps ya, g/l.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-06-2007, 07:40 AM
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Do yourself a favor and dont by stuff at Sports Authority there useless and sell overprized crap..As equipment a Helmet should be a good thing to buy even if your just learning dont want a concusion..ouch! Helmets come in sizes mesured by cm's,measure your head with a tape measure and than you will know what size you would need.As far as pants and jackets..You should get them somewhat bigger reason being and this is the reason I wear bigger clothing is that you want to be comfortable and I personally wear ass pads, hurt my tailbone last year and that shit hurts!And trust end of season sales are the way to go.All the 2007/2008 gear will be on sale at the end of season thats when I rack up.And try a local board shop they will definetly know what they're talking about since most of them ride.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-06-2007, 10:16 AM
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Ok, your take on the guy at Sports Authority is pretty accurate. He was right on some wrong on others. He's trying to sell you what he has in the store but I wouldn't buy anything there unless you know what you are looking for. Try to find a local ski/snowboard shop and get some advice from the people there. It may end up costing a few $ more but you'll get good advice and good equipment because they are going to want you to come back when you buy your board, bindings and boots.

In terms of outerwear, you want to get a jacket and pants with a rating of 10K waterproof or better. Less than that is ok but if you can afford it go for it. Do not get lower than 5K as that is the bare minimum for snow sports so you don't get soaked and freeze through. Most snowboard gear is designed a bit larger so it fits extra layers underneath it. In most circumstances for the top you're gonna have your thermal/base layer and a fleece then your jacket. If you can find a jacket that has a removable liner that's great as well so when it gets warmer you can remove it. Pants wise you are definitely going to want a pair that has fleece lined butt and knees as you will be spending a lot of time on them your first few days so you want the extra lining to keep you off the cold. Crash/ass pads are definitely a good purchase as again you will be falling and I wish I had these when I first started. I don't even need them anymore and I still wear them just for piece of mind.

Goggles you don't have to spend anything crazy here you can but don't stress. Something around $50 should be absolutely fine. Brands I recomend are Smith, Spy, Scott, Electric, Dragon and Von Zipper. Spy Targas at around $50 are an awesome entry level pair or Electric EG1/5 depending on your face can be had around the same $ maybe a bit more but they come with a second lens so you can swap out depending on the light conditions.

A helmet is a nice to have but not necessary. I just started wearing one because I've been pushing myself a bit more and figured it was worth the $ but you really don't need one. Maybe buy this in spring when everythig is on closeout.

2 Things you should definitely get good quality of and don't cheap out are your thermal/base layer and your socks. These keep you warm and comfortable. You can have the best outerwear but if these aren't good your feet and body will still be cold and wet.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-06-2007, 02:05 PM
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just a quick note.. if you're getting a helmet make sure the goggles you get are helmet compatible. Most goggles tend to be helmet compatible these days but, some aren't. You can still wear goggles that aren't helmet compatible with a helmet but, they definitily don't fit as nice.
post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-07-2007, 05:52 AM
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Thanks guys. What about Columbia Titanium Snowking pants? They have 10k rating, and I can get them for $80. I will also need pads for knees and butt, but not sure if that comes as part of the pants or separate. For goggles, I'm thinking of Smith Knowledge OTG since they go over the glasses, the only problem is they'd cost around $80 in stores while online places sell them as cheap as $40. As for thermal/base layer, how much should I expect to pay for it? One of my friends suggested just taking 3 or so pairs of normal socks for the first time, and switch them around.
post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-07-2007, 09:09 AM
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In the future you will want to invest in a pair of snowboard socks. Should be able to pick up for $20 and these will wick moisture and keep you feet warmer and more comfortable than a regular sock. Make sure you don not double up on socks as this will actually make your feet colder.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-07-2007, 01:59 PM
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As kri$han mentioned, stores like a Winners (here in Canada, not sure about you US folks) are great for finding gems. I've found "entry level" (I use the term loosely) Burton pants and Jacket, each for 100 cause they were clearance from 06/07 season. I bought my helmet and goggles at Costco (both Bolle) for about 100 total.
Also, I've found snowboard/ski socks at a Winners as well for about 7bucks per pair, marked down from 20ish.
With regards to the base layer: You don't have to spend lots of Underarmour or burton baselayers. i've found that I can go to a major chain Sport Store like National Sports, and pick up the Hockey base layers. They're made of the same material as the Underarmour stuff but cost a FRACTION of the Underarmour price, $15 vs $35.

Keep in mind, these are also all Canadian prices, so I'm sure you can find them even cheaper.

If you're located in the States, you've even got more options with sites like GearEngine, CheapAndSteep, WhiskeyMilitia, etc etc.

I bought my board/boots/bindings at a yearly Snowboard/Ski show, and all 3 after taxes (06/07 season) brand new, cost me 750. You can pick up a used set of bindings with a board for roughly 250-300 CND, add Boots to that, and you don't have to spend ridiculous amounts.

Oh, and this will be my first season 'boarding.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-08-2007, 11:44 AM
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I just wanted to put my two cents in on this subject. I'm a bit shocked that there have been posts saying that you don't need a helmet right away.. WRONG!!!! soooo WRONG!! By all means, GET A HELMET! Get one that fits your head properly and get one specifically for snow sports such as snowboarding. Not only will it protect you from a head injury but it should also keep your head warm.

I can't stress enough the importance of wearing one. Believe me, it doesn't take much for a serious head injury to occur. It could be from someone running into you by accident, taking an unexpected fall and smacking your head especially in icy conditions and etc...

As a personal experience, I even suffered a minor concussion while wearing one. I couldn't imagine the injury I could have had if I weren't wearing one.

I was basically riding down a mountain pretty casually when I hit an unexpected ice patch and caught my back edge. Well, when I fell I hit the back of my head (while wearing my helmet) and still suffered a minor concussion. When I went to the doc's office hit told me that I was lucky that I had been wearing one.

Just my two cents!
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