i would say good gear doesn't matter
its the right gear that does
I agree with this.
Good gear is the gear that is right for you.
How do you know what gear is right for you if you haven't been snowboarding long enough to understand the differences?
Simple. Talk to everyone. The guys/girls at the shop. The guys/girls on the forums. The guys/girls on the mountain. Call the snowboard companies. Use their board finders. Start building a sense of where the technology is and where the trends are going.
When you talk to each person describe the following:
Experience Level: beg, intermediate, advanced, expert
Physical Stats: weight, foot size, height, muscle strength
Riding Style: Park, Pipe, Powder, Steeps, Trees, Backcountry, etc.. just ramble off everything you love to do.
After all this you should have a selection of 5-10 boards/bindings/boots. Now here comes the hard part.
Boots - If you can't try these on in person do not order them. Its too big a gamble. Also try on every boot close to what you are looking for. Comfort and support are king here!
Boards/Bindings - Check for reviews, figure out what kind of riders like them and what kind of riders hate them.
Now should have a short list. Probably 1-3 boards, a couple bindings, and you should have tried on enough boots by this point that everyone you know will never go shopping with you again.