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Old 04-30-2012, 03:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Total newbie looking for a little advice

So I'm as green as it gets--as in, I've never even touched a snowboard. I've skied once at a crummy man-made slope in Tennessee, where the snow was so packed down it was more like ice. I did all right, but I was fat back then and am in much better shape now. I work out 3-4 times/week, do a lot of scrambling, climbing, and swimming, and right now I'm focusing heavily on increasing leg strength/endurance so I can make the most of my spontaneous, still-primordial plan to take a trip to CO to snowboard this coming Winter. I have plenty of time to plan, and I wanted to get some gear advice well in advance so I can look out for deals until then.

I'm 5'10, 150 lbs, 27, and am wondering what board length and flex would be a good idea? I might bulk up 10 lbs in the coming months but I doubt 150-160 is a significant difference. I have small feet (7.5 or so) so wide won't be necessary. I read somewhere that newbies are typically recommended a longer board for stability, but flexible/soft so that their legs don't fatigue too quickly when turning. My theory is maybe I can go with a bit stiffer board from the beginning if I'm in good shape. I'll be a total newbie in technique, but maybe I can skip a total newbie board...? That may not necessarily be the case, which is why I'm here

I'm also wondering if I should maybe look for factory refurb gear (board at least), or if I'm better off buying used, what I should look for and what I should avoid when looking at used boards. The alternative is a new but poorer quality board for the same price--I don't care about pristine looks or style, so old, ugly, but solid is cool with me... I can't start with great gear as I'm on a very tight budget and know from experience in other disciplines that great gear for a neophyte can inhibit development, so I just want to get the best gear I can afford used or refurbished. Bundles are probably out of the question considering that preference, though just tell me if buying used online and knowing what I'm actually getting is a pipedream. I'd be really happy to spend $400-500 on board/bindings/boots total, but maybe that's fantasy as well...

I really want to avoid getting something that is maybe a little too safe that I'll outgrow and have to replace too quickly, so I'm willing to take a gamble on my fitness level even if it might mean more bruises early on... No rentals as this is something I intend to do yearly once I get started. I need a new sport since I quit shooting heroin *rimshot*

It's hard to say but I'll probably mostly be into freeride stuff, though I guess an all-mountain board would work well enough for that too. I don't think the park/pipe will ever really be my style...

Also, do boot sizes run large, small, or is it like shoes where it varies wildly by manufacturer? There are no shops I can hit in Arkansas (laugh it up) so trying stuff on is totally out of the question, and I have a feeling waiting to buy gear till I get to my destination is begging to be fleeced...

By the way, I read the sticky Very useful (I'll prioritize and buy boots first); I just want to get a little personalized advice, too. Thanks for reading this wall of text! I can't wait to get started.
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'll take a crack at this:

1) Get a shorter board instead of the longer one unlike you've been told. Shorter boards are easier to control and manipulate. The stability of a longer board only comes into play as you go faster. I doubt that you'll be able to push the speed limit of any board esp if this is your first time.

2) Get a softer setup. Probably a soft all-mountain setup. It's ok to even get a more freestyle setup. It is harder to make mistakes on a softer board. You therefore will build up confidence quicker and progress quicker. You will still be able to take this freestyle setup all over the mountain.

3) Don't be afraid that you'll outgrow this board too quickly because "you're in good shape". I don't know how many days you put into your once-a-year plan but it's very doubtful that you'll progress too fast. Snowboarding is 90% rider and 10% snowboard. By the time you'll actually "outgrow" your snowboard it'll be several years later.

4) $400-$500 is definitely enough to get very good new equipment. But in general very good equipment is more for intermediate to expert riders. I'd say spend the majority of your money on good comfortable boots and definitely a helmet. You're much more likely to fall and hurt yourself in the beginning days of snowboarding. Going straight to intermediate equipment means that you will fall more and learn slower and possibly get hurt.

5) Boots are usually sized correctly. ie: if you wear size 7.5 tennis shoes then a size 7.5 snowboard boot will usually do. There is definitely some variations but its a good place to start. I usually buy boots locally so you can try them out. It is ok for the boot to feel a little tight as the cushioning will pack out.

6) Snowboarding is MUCH harder than skiing IMO. I learned to ski in one day. It took me 4 days of painful snowboarding before I linked turns for 100 feet without falling.

7) You did not mention this but I always do because it affects me heavily. If you've never been in high altitude before then be wary of altitude sickness. Colorado resorts are higher than most places around the country. It affects everyone in some way. About 20% of people get heavier symptoms (sleeplessness, Nausea, massive headaches, etc... basically a really bad hangover). I get heavy symptoms and it is enough to ruin your trip if you are not at least prepared for it.

I hope this helps you in some way. Good luck!

Last edited by bntran02; 04-30-2012 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bntran02 View Post
I'll take a crack at this:

1) Get a shorter board instead of the longer one unlike you've been told. Shorter boards are easier to control and manipulate. The stability of a longer board only comes into play as you go faster. I doubt that you'll be able to push the speed limit of any board esp if this is your first time.

2) Get a softer setup. Probably a soft all-mountain setup. It's ok to even get a more freestyle setup. It is harder to make mistakes on a softer board. You therefore will build up confidence quicker and progress quicker. You will still be able to take this freestyle setup all over the mountain.

3) Don't be afraid that you'll outgrow this board too quickly because "you're in good shape". I don't know how many days you put into your once-a-year plan but it's very doubtful that you'll progress too fast. Snowboarding is 90% rider and 10% snowboard. By the time you'll actually "outgrow" your snowboard it'll be several years later.

4) $400-$500 is definitely enough to get very good equipment. But in general very good equipment is more for intermediate to expert riders. I'd say spend the majority of your money on good comfortable boots and definitely a helmet. You're much more likely to fall and hurt yourself in the beginning days of snowboarding. Going straight to intermediate equipment means that you will fall more and learn slower and possibly get hurt.

5) Boots are usually sized correctly. ie: if you wear size 7.5 tennis shoes then a size 7.5 snowboard boot will usually do. There is definitely some variations but its a good place to start. I usually buy boots locally so you can try them out. It is ok for the boot to feel a little tight as the cushioning will pack out.

6) Snowboarding is MUCH harder than skiing IMO. I learned to ski in one day. It took me 4 days of painful snowboarding before I linked turns for 100 feet without falling.

7) You did not mention this but I always do because it affects me heavily. If you've never been in high altitude before then be wary of altitude sickness. Colorado resorts are higher than most places around the country. It affects everyone in some way. About 20% of people get heavier symptoms (sleeplessness, Nausea, massive headaches, etc... basically a really bad hangover). I get heavy symptoms and it is enough to ruin your trip if you are not at least prepared for it.

I hope this helps you in some way. Good luck!
You sum it up really well Cheers
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I forgot to mention. Used is also a good way to go as the discounts are incredible! You wont believe the discounts you can get for tiny cosmetic scratches. My favorite place is geartrade.com.

Finding new gear is going to become harder as everything runs out at the beginning of spring. There are still deals but much harder to find now. What I would honestly do is get used gear and spend your spare change on protective equipment such as wrist guards, butt pads and a helmet as you will most definitely need it.
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks bntran02, very thorough info. You put me in my place and humbled me a bit as I knew someone inevitably would

I'm pretty tolerant of thinner air, but have not spent any significant amount of time as high as CO. A lot of boxers and other high-intensity athletes train in the mountains so that their blood is supersaturated with oxygen once they get to the lower altitude of the venue where the event's held. I'm going to starve myself of oxygen running my ass off in the weeks prior to my trip to simulate the effect as best I can, though I'm sure I'll have a bit of trouble adjusting anyway... Couldn't hurt, though, and I've got to make my time count. I'll have a week, maybe more, to get comfortable, along with a bag full of prescription migraine ampoules to IM to undo a lot of the vasodilation resulting from altitude sickness :P

I'll take your advice on a soft setup and certainly some protective gear--I might not look as cool but will last longer. I think all-mountain would be a good place to start. Do you recommend I base board length mostly on my weight like the sticky recommends (while avoiding something too long and difficult to control of course)? I'd hate to end up with something too short and soft that I totally weigh down, even though I don't expect to be comfortable enough to ride at top speed for some time. Seems like if it bends too much it'll be a lot of additional effort, so I'll need to find a balance.

I totally expect snowboarding to be harder... The reason I didn't rent a snowboard ten years ago and went with skis instead is I knew my fat ass would kill myself (or someone else in crowded Gatlinburg) back then I expect this to be more my style, though I did enjoy skiing a lot.

I'll definitely check out geartrade, too. Hopefully I can avoid something with a damaged core...

Ahh, something I forgot... Think I could get by with a full suit of Under Armour cold gear underneath and just a coat and some non-bulky pants (and gloves/beanie/safety gear of course)? I'm going to spend a lot of time on my ass/knees no doubt, but I kinda think additional bulk could land me there more often. I ask because I massively overdressed when I went skiing heh...

Thanks again! I expected someone to tl;dr
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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what everyone else said, BUT don't skimp on boots. They don't always fit the same as shoes either, my nike shoes are 11's and my burton boots are 10's and i should have gone with 9.5
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exivious View Post
Ahh, something I forgot... Think I could get by with a full suit of Under Armour cold gear underneath and just a coat and some non-bulky pants (and gloves/beanie/safety gear of course)? I'm going to spend a lot of time on my ass/knees no doubt, but I kinda think additional bulk could land me there more often. I ask because I massively overdressed when I went skiing heh...

Thanks again! I expected someone to tl;dr
Get a decent, waterproof breathable coat and pants. You'll be spending a lot of time sitting/landing/rolling around in snow. If you get wet, you won't have fun.

For a first time, any wicking base layer will be fine. Under Armour is good, but there are others....no cotton.

Go with what you own for insulating mid-layers....no cotton. Better to wear a couple of thinner layers so you can peel one off if you get too warm. It's always a bit of a challenge to find the right combo so that you're not freezing on the chair but sweating on the slopes, your first time out.

Buy some good snowboarding socks. Yes, there are other combos, but you won't go far wrong with any decent snowboarding sock

Spend your money on comfortable, good fitting boots. Brand is unimportant, fit and comfort is all important

Get a helmet that fits and wear it. As a newbie it is not a question of IF you slam, it's WHEN. I think everyone here went down hard, surprisingly and awkwardly while learning. The "wipe out on your butt, whiplash the back of the head against the hill" will make you see stars.

If you've never boarded before and you live in Tennessee, don't blow a huge wad of cash for your first time out. You'll learn what you like and don't like about your gear and then you'll want to upgrade something or a lot of things. Spend the money saved on lessons. You'll get more out of your trip and faster.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks guys, solid advice. It's going to be difficult finding boots that fit right as I'm going to have to order my gear and won't be able to try anything on more than likely. Hopefully I can order from a place with painless returns. I ordered some Italian shoes once and had to return two pairs before I got some that fit heh...

I actually live in Arkansas--Tennessee is just the only place I've had a chance to ski. I'd have a lot more experience if I lived in TN, man-made snow or not :P I can probably grab a lesson my first time out, though.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Flow ERA 2011 Snowboard - Men's Snowboards - Snowboards - Snow
a bit more freestyle because its a twin.

Flow Infinite Reverse Camber 2011 Snowboard - Men's Snowboards - Snowboards - Snow
might be a bit small, i would let someone else chime in on that.

i have been looking for a board for my cousin, these are about a good a deal as you can hope to get. I have the era and my friend has the infinite. Tons of tech low price.

You should easily be able to find good bindings for under $150, gives you enough to get good boots. check the online retailer tab to find more websites.

Last edited by Justin; 04-30-2012 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exivious View Post
Thanks guys, solid advice. It's going to be difficult finding boots that fit right as I'm going to have to order my gear and won't be able to try anything on more than likely. Hopefully I can order from a place with painless returns.
Your best bet is to order from a place like REI, then. Maybe not so much later on, when you're looking for something specific, but for first time out/all online shopping, then their return policy is what you want. Order anything, return anything.
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