Are you a snowboard newbie and want to be an expert in snowboarding?
Snowboarding is an incredibly fun sport that can make your winter pleasant. However, for you to enjoy the exhilarating experiences that come with this sport, you need proper skills and coordination.
Learning to snowboard can be challenging, but once you work it out and it begins to click, you’ll be riding those slopes like Shaun White.
Here are the top five snowboarding tips for beginners.
1. Get Proper Lessons: Instructors Offer Excellent Snowboarding Tips
Don’t go for the DIY option. Instead, hire experienced snowboarding instructors. They’ll give you beginner snowboarding tips about standing on a board, riding downhill, turning, and stopping.
When hiring a snowboarding instructor, ensure they have the knowledge and skills required to transform you into a snowboarding expert.
2. Wear Protective Gear
As a snowboard newbie, you’re likely to fall over several times in the course of the training. This could lead to severe injuries that could be too expensive to treat or take a lot of time to heal.
Wearing protective gear when snowboarding will keep you safe and prevent injuries. The protective gear will also boost your confidence, a factor that will, in turn, make the learning process easy, faster and successful.
When buying protective gear, make sure you invest in a good helmet and quality snowboard boots. Hitting your head during the training could be a scary experience, and a helmet will help protect your head and prevent severe head injuries.
You should also buy wrist guards; they’ll prevent broken wrists, which are the most common snowboarding-related injuries.
Besides, you should ensure your snowboarding gear fits correctly.
3. Avoid Hard or Icy Conditions
Some people will tell you that riding on hard or icy conditions will help you learn snowboarding faster. Don’t let them mislead you!
Riding on hard or icy conditions will negatively affect your confidence and learning ability.
Begin your lessons when the snow softens. Riding in soft snow ensures you’re in control of your board and speed, and this will, in turn, make your lessons more enjoyable.
4. Ride Across The Slope
Avoid high speed. Riding fast might make you lose control and make the learning process tedious and dangerous. How can you avoid high speed that can get out of control?
Well, avoid riding straight down a slope. Ride across the hill instead. This will allow you to be in control of your body, board, and speed.
In 2015, more than 4.6 million people participated in either bouldering, sport climbing or indoor climbing activities. This number has continued to rise since then.
As the popularity of rock climbing has increased, many people have been searching for the best of the best when it comes to outdoor rock climbing locations.
Not only do they want locations that challenge their skills and abilities, but also that provide unique views and amazing adventures.
If you are searching for new rock climbing places, you’re in the right place. Here you can learn about five of the best outdoor rock climbing locations in the U.S.
1. Yosemite National Park in California
Yosemite is considered by many the ultimate American climbing destination. This makes sense since this is the park that inspired John Muir and so many others.
The park is known and world-renowned for the sustained crack climbs present in Merced River Canyon. Also, for those with a truly adventurous spirit, multi-day aid climbs are available.
If you opt for the multi-day experience, be sure to have all the necessary gear in tow.
2. Mount Rushmore in South Dakota
Mount Baldy, South Seas, Chopping Block, Breezy Point – Rushmore offers a diverse selection of boulder fields and large-grained granite crags, which makes it one of the best climbing areas in the Black Hills National Forest.
Unlike Yosemite, the domes and spires at Rushmore are bolted to enable sport climbing.
Keep in mind, Rushmore isn’t a place for beginners, as there are serious runouts, as well as big and slippery crystals in the rock.
3. Joshua Tree National Park in California
This is a dream destination for any outdoor enthusiast and considered one of the best climbing locations in the entire U.S.
While it is popular, it’s often crowded. The good news is, there are thousands of routes leading to the rock formations.
The best time to climb here is between the months of October and April if you want to avoid the heat. You can also climb here during the winter and access some routes while others are covered and closed because of the cold, ice and snow.
This is the best sport crag location in New England. The fine-grained walls are not vertical, not straightforward and look as though they have been crumpled up by a giant and then left to melt away in the sun.
There are locations for both intermediate and advanced climbers to enjoy.
5. Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin
While this may seem surprising to some, Wisconsin is actually home to some awesome cliffs.
Here you can utilize the services of an experienced guide company if you are a beginner or take out on your own.
One of the most appealing parts of this location is taking a dip in Devil’s Lake to soothe your muscles after a day of climbing.
Outdoor Rock Climbing Locations: Which One will You Conquer Next?
If you love to climb and want to experience a new and exciting location, then you should try one of the outdoor rock climbing locations mentioned here.
If you are interested in learning more about the type of gear you need for your adventure, take a look at our blog.
We are dedicated to providing unbiased information about the best outdoor gear on the market today.
Is this your first time backpacking? There’s nothing in the world like backpacking. You and your friends can go on an incredible adventure, seeing new surroundings while taking in the beauty of the great outdoors.
But you probably have no idea what to pack. Different locations and events call for different materials. There are a few different items that all backpackers should have for their adventure.
Don’t leave your overnight backpacking trip unprepared. Before going on your trip, use this backpacking checklist to ensure you have all required backpacking items for your safety.
No matter where you go, you must be sure you know where you’re going. First-time backpackers may think their phones and GPS is all they need. But you can’t guarantee you’ll get signal while deep in the woods.
If you’re backpacking in a nature reserve or park, the company will provide a map. Other important navigation items include a compass and altimeter.
Unless you’re hiking in the snow, you’re likely hiking and backpacking while it’s hot.
With the sun shining, the last thing you want is a sunburn. Always bring sun protection with you. One of the first items you should back is sunscreen, preferably a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least 15 SPF.
Other sun protective items include a hat, long sleeves and long pants, SPF lip balm, and sunglasses.
Planning a ski trip for your whole family can turn into a lifetime of fun memories for everyone. Skiing is a fun activity that anyone can partake in.
Not only that, but it’s an opportunity to enjoy the scenic beauty the mountains have to offer. And you’re all getting exercise as well.
But skiing isn’t fun when you’re too hot, too cold, and/or wet. That’s why it’s so important to buy the right snow skiing clothes.
Here’s a guide to make sure your family has a trip filled with fun memories.
The Essentials Of Snow Skiing Clothes
Anyone who has spent any time on a mountain knows that the weather there is fickle. One moment the sun is shining and the next, the wind has picked up and it’s sleeting.
If you’re not well prepared with the right skiing essentials, you could end up spending most of your time in the lodge.
Here is a list of the snow skiing clothing you’ll need to make the most of your ski trip.
Hat Vs Helmet
While many people claim that wearing a helmet is safer, the jury is still out. In fact, some studies have shown that skiers wearing a helmet actually take more risks.
On average, helmet-wearing skiers ski three miles per hour faster than those skiers wearing a hat. And though more people than ever are choosing helmets, the rates of injury have remained the same.
Googles & Sunglasses
Sure, sunglasses are essential if cool ski gear is your aim. However, if you are looking to ensure your eyewear stays on your head, prohibits weather and wind from coming at your eyes, and helps you see the slopes more clearly, then goggles are a better choice.
Whatever you choose, make sure they fit properly. You can even buy goggles that fit around your glasses.
Snow Skiing Jacket & Pants
Both your snow skiing jacket and pants need to be weather-proof. That means, they can withstand the snow, rain, sleet, and the wind.
If you can, find a coat that has two layers so you can wear them together when it’s freezing and then it unzips to change into a lighter, spring jacket. Just make sure to leave extra room for layering.
Thermal underwear will become your best friend when you’re skiing. Not only will they keep you warm, they will keep you dry.
Thermal underwear is thin so it allows you to move freely while you ski. And you can also use the underwear as a base. Add additional layers of clothing to help keep you warm while skiing.
Gloves Vs. Mittens
Keeping your hands warm and dry is also really important. It’s no fun to feel your extremities freezing while you try to bang out some bumps.
Some people prefer mittens because your whole hand stays together and therefore keeps itself warm. However, it’s also more difficult to grip anything while wearing mittens.
Others prefer gloves to help them grip. Then they use hand-warmers to help them stay warm.
Lastly, ski socks are very much a part of skiing essentials. Your feet can and will get very cold.
Find ski socks that wick away moisture and keep your feet warm. Make sure they aren’t too itchy.
When investing in your snow skiing clothes, don’t forget to buy a good pair of ski boots. Trust me, after a long day of hitting the slopes, a good pair of boots makes a huge difference.
As we go into summer, skiing may be far from your mind. Or maybe you’re the kind of person who misses ski season the moment the last lift stops on the last day.
Either way, you find yourself wondering if it’s time to buy some skis. Whether you’re just thinking about it or shopping some summer sales, we’ve got your guide to buying skis below.
Consideration #1 Ski Type
The number one thing to consider when buying skiis is the type of skiing you’ll be doing. There is no reason for someone who does no powder time to consider wide skiis.
The same goes for cross country skiis, telemarks, and trick skiis. If you’ve never skied before, talk to the ski pro about the specific mountain terrain.
You want to buy your skiis for where you’ll be skiing 80% of the time.
Consideration #2 Skill
Beginning skiers can get away with most combination skiis until they find the find their groove. Most people start out with combination skis that are mostly straight with small flutes out at the front and back.
With skiis like these, you can float over some minor powder but won’t feel like you have surfboards on your feet.
When you’re at the ski shop (yes, you should shop in person!) talk to your ski pro about your skill level. Don’t be shy if you’re new to skiing, we all were once! If you lie about your skill, you’re going to end up with skiis too big/small to control.
If you’re shopping for a new pair of skiis after a while or you don’t want to rent anymore, get the models of your last skiis. Most rental shops keep records, so call and ask them what you’ve been skiing on.
Take those model number to the store with you. If they don’t have the same model, the pro will know or look up the specific qualities of what you skied on.
Consideration #3 Price
Skiis range in price from the $100 range for demos and starters all the way up to $1000’s.
The best way to decide your ski price range (unless your budget decides for you) is to divide the price of the skis by how many times you ski per season.
After you get that number, think about what it would cost to rent skis that many times. The cheapest you can usually rent skiis for a day is around $50, and that varies with the ski quality.
If the price of the skiis exceeds the price of the rentals, go down a little bit in the price range.
You also have to take multiple seasons into consideration. The right pair of skis, when treated well and waxed, can easily last up to five/six years.
Yes, buying skis can be expensive, but they’re a multi-year investment. The right pair will make your ski pass feel a lot cheaper and your days on the slopes much more fun!
Buying Skis In Person
We can’t recommend going to your local ski store enough. These people work there because they love snow sports, not because they just wanted a job. They have been on the mountain, heck they were probably raised on it!
You can trust them to recommend the right pair of skis. For some boot recommendations and other advice, do some pre-store research on our blog.
15.69 people participated in kayaking in 2016. When deciding on buying a canoe vs kayak you need to look at the type of water you plan on going on, what region of the country you are in, how you will transport, and your lifestyle.
Both canoes and kayaks are similar in some features, yet totally different in others. We’re going to explain the differences and help you decide which one is right for you.
The Gear or Equipment
The most obvious difference between kayaking vs canoeing is the boat you’ll be in. The other obvious difference is the paddle you’ll use to maneuver each type of boat.
Canoes are typically open topped and are designed for one or two people to sit on benches or kneeling in the boat. Most kayaks are more closed in on the top and designed for a single person. You’ll sit down in the boat with your legs out in front of you.
Kayaking paddles are double ended. This means you grip the bar of the paddle with both hands alternating which end goes into the water.
A canoeing paddle is single ended. You grip the shaft of the handle with one hand, and the other goes on the T end of the paddle. You alternate which side of the canoe you dip the paddle into the water on.
Additional Kayaking Equipment
Kayaks are typically used to go on the water that are running rapids or whitewater, which requires some additional equipment. A spraydeck is a skirt that goes around the waist of the kayaker and connects to the kayak covering the open space.
This prevents water from going into the kayak. Kayakers also will wear a helmet and noseplugs.
To paddle a kayak you’ll have a paddle on each end of the shaft. You will keep each paddle on its respective side.
The paddles are positioned at 90-degree angles from each other. This allows for efficient paddling.
Dip the left side into the water and then the right side. You’ll propel yourself forward by alternating paddling.
For a canoe, you’ll have a single ended paddle. You’ll dip the paddle into the left side, and then take it out of the water and then paddle on the right side of the canoe.
If there are two people in the canoe you’ll need to coordinate with the other person. When both people are paddling in unison you’ll be able to efficiently gain a quick pace.
Canoe vs Kayak: Which One Should I Choose?
When deciding on buying a canoe vs kayak, take a look at the water you are planning on going on. If the water is fast moving and full of rapids, you may want to consider the kayak.
Maybe your intention is to go on less rough water, or you want to camp with a lot of gear. In this instance, you’ll want a canoe as they can carry a lot more.
Who will you be paddling with? If you are by yourself make sure you can maneuver the vessel on your own.
Most importantly look at the car your drive. You need to be able to transport your boat to and from the water.
When kayaking and canoeing season is over, check out these snowboard boots and try your hand at hitting the slopes.
There’s nothing more exciting for a diehard skier than being one of the first people to ride on complicated, untouched terrain. That’s why so many skiers choose to Heliski Alaska.
The thrill of taking a helicopter to a remote destination can be worth the trip on its own. Throw in the opportunity to ski beautiful topography and you’ve got a match made in heaven.
Most resorts give you 5,000-10,000 acres of slopes to accommodate hundreds if not thousands of riders. Heliski trips tend to drop off 5-25 people a few times a day. Not to mention you could have over 750,000 acres of terrain all to yourself.
There are a wide variety of operators offering just as wide a variety of packages. Your package determines the amount of vertical, the type of terrain, the size of your helicopter, options to snowcat, and how many people you ski with.
It’s a big investment, so read on for some tips to navigate your possibilities.
Check your Calendar
Is this your first time? Arriving in February or early-March means that it’s possible to see the Northern Lights. Timing can determine whether you’ll end up with ideal snow conditions, a challenging adventure, or the most economical option. Below are the pros and cons of timing your trip to Heliski in Alaska.
Early Season Can Be Ideal
If light, dry powder is your thing, you’ll want to hit the terrain early. February and March will offer you the longest runs of the season.
You’re going to want to be sure you feel comfortable on a pair of good powder skis because you’ll be riding deep powder slopes that might end up tracked out on a typical ski area.
Late Season is Industry Season
If you’re thinking of coming in late-March or April, expect a crowd. As most of the North American ski season winds down, ski instructors, operators, and industry people show up.
This can be the busiest time as industry people love to Heliski in Alaska. With 10-50 times the acreage, heavenly powder and so many possible drops, it’s what ski instructors dreaming about as they stare off during a lesson. Timing will determine the possible drops on your trip, how many runs you take, and how much it will cost.
Have a Plan B
Whoever you decide to Heliski Alaska with, the weather is never guaranteed to be perfect. Most operators have an idea of how many down days they expect per season, even by month.
Go with an operator that has a backup plan. Catskiing and lifts may not be what you came for, but it’s better than sitting out the whole trip. Find someplace with a nearby resort just to be safe.
You could Heliski Alaska for weeks and never touch the same terrain twice. The adrenaline of one drop can feed hours of runs in a day. If you’re out of shape, you’ll start to notice it fast. It will be hard for you to enjoy several days of runs ahead of you if you’re sore after the first day. Make sure you spend the weeks before your trip getting fit for your adventure.
Stretch it Out
Hours of runs on dense power are going to tax every muscle. Start integrating stretching into your daily routine. Whether you’re hitting the gym or spending your weekends on the slopes, commit to 20 minutes of stretching before and after every session. It sounds like a lot but you’ll be thankful to be able to bounce back after the first day that you Heliski in Alaska.
Try Strength Training
Downhill skiing uses a different muscle group than most workouts. Squats and lunges will help you work your quadriceps and protect your knees.
Your calves pick up a lot of the slack from your bent knees. Seated calf raises will help work your calves into shape.
For your upper body, think about your core. Lat pulls, bicycle crunches and back extensions will help you protect your back and strengthen up for those long runs. Don’t forget about your biceps and triceps. Keep your arms and shoulders strong for pushing off with your poles.
Find a routine that works for you and stick to it. There’s no such thing as being too prepared, whether you’re packing your bag or getting your body in shape. Try a few different workout combinations until you find the right fit.
Practice in Powder
First, get comfortable with powder skis, which are wide. They keep you balanced and on top of the snow. You’ll also be using shorter poles. The rhythm of powder skiing entails a bobbing movement to maintain momentum, different than the typical downhill runs.
Your feet will do some extra work. You want to push off with even weight and balance. They key is to stay above the snow. Practicing with small slopes can be a useful exercise. Deep powder is fun to ride on but can be a foreign experience to even highly experienced downhill skiers.
Get the right gear
Like any trip, it’s important to pack all the right gear. Once you’re out in the wild, you’ll have a tough time getting something you forgot.
Be realistic about the adventure you’re about to embark on. The excitement about being on untouched terrain needs to come with the realization that you’re many miles from civilization.
Have a sturdy helmet. If your helmet is aging, cracked, or ill-fitting, consider replacing it.
You’ll be doing long runs on deep powder. You’ll need a pair of skis you feel comfortable on. If you’re not used to the width of powder skis, rent a pair for a day and get acquainted with the different feel.
If you’re in the market for a new pair, take them out on a few runs before you head to Heliski in Alaska. Even a well-seasoned rider needs to get comfortable a new pair of skis.
Light and Warm
Again, these runs are sure to be much longer than your every day slopes. This may be what has attracted you to Heliski in Alaska in the first place.
Be sure you’ve got a compressible down jacket that’s lightweight enough to move around in but warm enough for long periods of exposure.
You want to keep your hands warm and dry for movement. An extra pair of gloves will come in handy, not only for long rides but in case your gloves don’t dry between rides.
You might be used to keeping your boots next to the fire overnight to let them dry out. But after a long day and a couple of runs, that might not be enough. It’s becoming more common for people to look into a boot dryer when they Heliski in Alaska.
Get what you need
Not every skier wants an extreme experience. You may be arriving in a helicopter but that doesn’t mean can’t have a gentle and fun ride.
Deciding to Heliski in Alaska can ignite the fire missing in the humdrum of your everyday life. It can just as well be the vacation you need after a high-intensity holiday season or end-of-quarter at work.
Choose your timing depending on the conditions. Remember that early season is the best time to get more gentle powder skiing in.
How intense are you?
Are you accounting for just a single day to Heliski in Alaska as part of a larger trip or are you and a group of friends getting together for a week of high-intensity skiing?
Packages to Heliski in Alaska can vary widely in price. If you’re going to put together 5 close friends for a week, you can go in on a single helicopter and have a lot of control over what you do and where you go.
Otherwise, one day in an open group can feed your hunger for adventure. If this is your first chance to Heliski in Alaska, going with a group can answer a lot of questions.
You’ll save money and leave with an idea as to what it could mean to take it up a notch for next time. Take some pictures to make your friends jealous enough to go in on a trip with you next time!
Choosing to Heliski in Alaska is for the most adventurous few. But that doesn’t mean it can’t get relatively crowded. Your helicopter size will determine how many people you’re traveling with. It can even dictate which kind of terrain you’re going to hit.
A smaller group means less time waiting and more time skiing.
Which isn’t to say a smaller group is better. A smaller group can be more expensive. It also limits the number of people you’re going to be able to network with.
If this is your first chance to Heliski in Alaska, consider a cheaper, larger helicopter to travel with. You’ll be able to get to know other skiers, pick up tips and even meet future travel partners.
Rest and Relaxation
Typically the more you pay, the better your accommodations. More luxurious lounges will offer you high-end dining, large rooms, and a quiet environment.
If this is going to be a trip that’s more about relaxing, you may want to consider one of the higher end options.
For the more rugged types, there are plenty of lodges where you can get your minimum needs met and prepare yourself
Bang for Your Buck
Most operators will give you some idea of how much vertical you’re going to get. Comparing group size, the number of drops and vertical promised by operators gives you a pretty concrete measure of value.
Five days of deep powder skiing can be taxing on the body. It’s hard to know how in shape you are until you hit the snow.
More than likely, operators will allow you to purchase vertical on a day to day basis. It might cost a little more but the flexibility might suit you perfectly.
Keep an eye on the bill as you rack up extravert. The last thing you want to leave your trip with is a sour face from an unexpected bill.
Packages can range from $300-$1500 a night. Choose wisely by calling up operators and going through your options
Remember that you’re skiing untracked snow out in the wilderness. Safety conditions on the ground will vary from day to day but that doesn’t mean you can’t be cautious.
Training to be a guide is rigorous and the job attracts the best of the best, a skier needs to remain practical. You can always check the credentials of your guides.
The choice to Heliski in Alaska comes with the assurance that weather patterns create stable and predictable terrain in the steepest places. However, the possibility of an avalanche is completely natural.
Be sure that any guides you work with have avalanche qualifications. Ask your operator whether their guides are fully qualified as UIAGM mountain guides.
If they bristle at this, look at another operator. Your safety comes over their hurt feelings.
Helicopter operators know the high costs of maintenance and repair as well as the high risk of what they do.
Heliski in Alaska is an Adventure of a Lifetime
A Heliski in Alaska trip will be one of the most memorable trips you take in your life. You’ll see terrain and ranges that are unseen and untouched by anyone except the most daring travelers and mountaineers. The added excitement of riding the terrain is a rush that most people don’t feel in their lifetime.
Every great adventure comes with preparation and research. Once you’ve gotten in shape, gotten your gear together and finished researching, you won’t be able to think of anything else. Don’t forget to pack your GoPro so you can make everyone jealous when you get back!
Leave a comment below with any questions or recommendations. There’s a lot to navigate and it need not be stressful. A trip to Heliski in Alaska is the adventure of a lifetime!
Rock climbing shoes are your feet’s only defense against the harsh, rough rocks you are climbing on. For this reason, climbing shoes are the first piece of gear you should buy.
When it comes to climbing shoes, choosing the right type is crucial. Your choices are neutral, moderate, and aggressive shoes. There are other considerations as well, like closures and materials for your shoes. Read on to find out more.
Neutral Climbing Shoes
Neutral climbing shoes have a relaxed fit. The design is for all-day comfort. Your toes can lie flat inside the shoes. They are an excellent choice if you are a beginner climber.
Though, experienced climbers also like them when they plan to be out all day for multi-pitch climbs. They are flat enough to slot onto cracks. Note that the design is not for challenging, overhanging routes.
Moderate Climbing Shoes
Moderate shoes have slightly downturned shape. This shape is called the camber. This makes them suitable for technical climbing. These shoes are all-purpose.
They can handle crack climbs, slab routes, slightly overhung sports routes, and long multi-pitch climbs. The downturned camber places your feet into a better position than neutral shoes.
They help with more challenging trails, too. They also have thinner soles and stickier rubber than neutral shoes for a better grip.
They are still more comfortable than aggressive shoes. Though, they do not perform as well as bouldering shoes.
Aggressive Climbing Shoes
Aggressive shoes have downturned toes. This design creates a lot of heel tension. It also puts your feet in a strong position for challenging overhanging climbs. Most aggressive shoes are asymmetrically shaped.
They curve toward the big toe and focus power over the toe for exact positions on small holds. Because of the tight fit and curved shape, climbers usually wear aggressive shoes for single-pitch sport climbs or gym challenges.
Understandably, they are less comfortable than neutral and moderate shoes. Also, the downturned shape doesn’t fit well in crack or smear as well as moderate and neutral shoes.
Once you have determined the type of shoe you need, another simple consideration is the type of closure you want on your shoes.
The most versatile style is the lace-up. You can loosen the laces as you need to during your walk. You can also tighten at the toe and instep for tough pitches and climbs.
Straps are your “hook-and-loop” straps. They are the most convenient. They are great for times when you want to slip the shoes off between climbs.
Slip-on shoes (or slippers) have elastic closures and offer the highest sensitivity and lowest profile of any shoe. Slippers are good for training. Your feet will gain strength without the stiff sole and midsole of traditional shoes.
How Should Climbing Shoes Fit?
Shoe uppers are either leather or synthetic. Leather shoes are the easiest to clean and deodorize. Though, many high-performance shoes are synthetic. Most importantly, the material determines the fit.
Climbing shoe sizing varies with the material. You can stretch unlined leather shoes up a full size.
Your toes should just touch the end of the shoe. You should feel your toe knuckles pushing against the leather. You should not see your toes bulging out, however.
If the leather upper is lined, you have less stretch. So there is less stretch for climbing shoe sizing. Plan on the size reduced to a half size or less. Sometimes manufacturers line only the toes.
Synthetic shoes don’t stretch much, nor do they soften much with use. The fit won’t change much. Some synthetic materials allow your feet to breathe and wick away the sweat.
Find Your Best Climbing Shoes
While there are many styles out there, knowing the type of climbing shoes you need is your starting point. From there you can choose your preferred closures and materials for the best fit.
If you are new to climbing, please continue to read our articles about backpacking and climbing.
Want to have an amazing experience on your snowboarding adventure? Get the right snowboard boots.
Snowboard boots can make or break your day on the mountains. Whether you have years of snowboarding experience or are gearing up for your first season, your choice for the boots will dictate the quality of experience you get.
The secret to a successful snowboarding adventure is to get boots that fit correctly, comfortably and work well with your bindings.
Don’t skimp here; you must be willing to splurge a little to get boots that are a perfect fit. It’s also important to ensure the boots you choose matches your riding style and the snow conditions you are likely to encounter.
But with the universe of options out there, knowing the features to look for in the best snowboard boots can be difficult. Here are important features of snowboard boots to consider before making a buying decision.
1. Snowboard Boots Fit
The most important factor in confirming your selection is to ensure the boots have a snug fit. The best shock-absorbing materials and the lightest outsole won’t do you good if your feet are cramped.
If you are a first-time boot buyer, you might make the mistake of buying boots that fit like your ordinary shoes. Your ordinary shoe size isn’t always going to be the same size as your snowboard boot size.
With ordinary shoes, we often exaggerate on the size and end up buying shoes that are little larger than necessary. However, the same rule should not be applied to snowboard boots.
A snowboard boot is primarily made for performance. Therefore, if it’s too large, it will cause your foot to move around instead of concentrating all the energy to the boot and the binding.
Thus, you’ll need to buy the smallest size that fits you perfectly without being uncomfortable. You can ask the store person to measure your feet and recommend the best size for you to try.
If possible, it’s advisable to shop for snowboard boots later in the day since feet naturally swell to a larger size in the afternoon and evening hours.
Try on the Boot First
Before buying a snowboard boot, take your time to try on the boot first. Remember to carry along a pair of snowboarding socks you will be wearing while riding.
Begin by loosening the boot completely, then sit down and slide your foot into it. Kick your heel back and forth into the boot a few times to ensure a comfortable fit with no extra room for feet movement.
Then tighten the laces and flex the boots in different directions as you would when snowboarding.
You should feel a snug fit with comfortable pressure around your foot except in the toes. Your toes should touch the end of the liner firmly without being crammed.
If you find your toes not touching the liner, are curled, or swimming around, ask to try a different size.
Avoid cotton-made socks. Wear wool or synthetic blend socks during the try-on phase.
Woolen or synthetic socks produce less friction and also allow moisture to pass through easily. They also have fewer hot spots and are best suited for keeping you warm and dry during snowboarding.
2. Construction & Tech Used
Snowboard boots differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. As you go from entry-level to high-end boots, you’ll find a lot of variations in design and how they are stitched together.
Also, manufacturers offer various options to fit a variety of riding styles and budget.
Freestyle and park riders may prefer maximum shock absorption while adventure junkies who regularly hike for fresh lines might be more concerned with a grippy outsole and a more supportive liner.
The sole material depends on the use to which the boot will be put to. For example, snowboard boots designed for terrain parks usually have soles made of light material such as ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) or rubber.
Such lightweight materials also offer greater cushioning. However, if you are looking into hiking for fresh lines or snowboarding in conditions where tracking and durability are essential, look for boots with a lugged sole.
Lug soles are usually made of thick rubber and have deep indentations designed to provide good footing.
“Liner” refers to the entire inner boot of a snowboard boot. Most liners are usually made from ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) – a lightweight and moldable polymer.
When used in snowboard boots, EVA provides insulation, cushioning and all the stability the rider needs.
Liners, therefore, have a big impact on how a boot feels. Some are removable and others non-removable. However, they all fall under one of these three categories:
Custom-moldable liners – These ones utilize artificial heat sources to achieve a custom fit.
Thermoformable foam liners – These ones utilize your feet’s natural heat to achieve a custom fit. They usually break in a day or so after snowboarding.
Non-moldable liners – These ones are less pliant compared to other options and provide the ultimate padding and stability for your feet.
Most of the snowboard boots you’ll find on the market today are made of synthetic materials. However, some high-end boots are made of leather.
Leather snowboarding boots are more classy than other options. They also last longer and offer a more custom fit. However, they are more expensive than all the other options out there.
If you are a first-timer, you should start off your snowboarding journey with entry-level boots and later on advance to the high-end leather boots.
3. Snowboard Boots Lacing System
The lacing system employed in a snowboard boot speaks a lot about your choice of boots. Unlike your regular gym sneakers, boots for snowboarding go beyond traditional laces.
Most snowboard boots offer one of the three lacing systems – traditional, quick lace, or boa lacing system. Some top of the range boots features a hybrid design that can accommodate two of these systems.
Traditional Lace Systems
If you prefer to tie your boots the old fashioned way, then traditional lace system is for you. While this lace system may require more time and effort to adjust and tighten, they provide all the customizable fit and support you want.
Traditional lacing system also gives you the freedom to lace up the way you like. For example, if you prefer the upper region a little looser and the lower part tight and snug, you can easily adjust the laces to suit your preferences.
Easy to locate replacement laces
Easy customization of the tight by the hand
Vulnerable to unplanned loosening
May take more time to tighten than other lacing options
This lacing system features two-pull laces that let you adjust the lower and upper zones of your boots independently. It’s therefore, fast and convenient as the lacing zones can be adjusted individually.
This lacing system provides a more customizable fit.
Lace-pulls usually tuck away neatly
Can be tightened even when wearing gloves
If a lace breaks or wears out, it could end your riding prematurely.
At times, pressure points can occur in the places where laces attach to boots.
Also vulnerable to unintended loosening
Boa Lacing System
In a Boa system, small diameter cables are attached to the two dials or knurled wheels that customize the snugness of the fit. The two dials are positioned such that one is on top of the boot and the other on the lower side, near the ankle.
The Boa lacing system provides a very snug fit, and of the three lacing systems, it’s the easiest to adjust the fit.
Fast, convenient, and easy to use. It requires just one hand to adjust the fit.
Offers perfect, fine-tuned fit
Simple to adjust during a pause in activity
Contributes to the boot’s overall cost
At times, pressure points can occur in the places where laces attach to boots.
One adjustment applies uniform snugness. It’s not possible to adjust fit in the upper and lower foot regions independently.
Each system is fast, convenient, and secure so no single system is king over the others. The choice for the lacing system should depend on your budget and personal preferences.
4. Boot Flex and Support
Snowboard boot flex can be defined as the degree of support a boot provides and how efficiently it transfers that energy to the board.
When shopping for a new boot, it’s important to take your time to evaluate the boot’s flex. Stiffer snowboard boots tend to be more responsive than soft boots.
Manufacturers usually give a number rating ranging from 1 to 10, with 10 being the stiffest. However, a boot’s flexibility is a very subjective evaluation and varies from brand to brand.
Different boots may have the same rating but have different fit and feel. It is therefore advisable to shop for snowboard boots in a store rather than doing it online.
When you visit a store, you are able to examine the boots in person and gauge how soft or stiff a boot is by trying them on.
The level of a boot’s stiffness or softness also depends on your snowboarding proficiency and the kind of riding you do.
Soft Flex Boots
Soft flex boots are ideal for beginners because they are forgiving and don’t react to every movement like their stiffer counterparts. Freestyle riders who like lateral mobility may also prefer soft-flexing boots.
Softer boots give you a snug fit and enough lateral mobility for rail tricks and grabs.
Medium Flex Boots
Medium flex boots are ideal for intermediate riders and those who want a boot that is responsive and flexible enough for an occasional lap through the park.
Stiff boots are ideal for expert riders, especially those riding bigger lines in the upcountry. Stiff boots are designed to respond to the movement made by the rider quickly with minimal energy loss.
Aggressive riders who like riding at higher speeds may also find stiff boots very useful.
If you are a beginner, you might find stiff boots hard to flex and control. Those looking for something in between will be more comfortable in a boot with medium flex.
A boot’s flex may also be subject to personal preferences. At times, an advanced rider may prefer the feel of a soft flex boot over a stiffer one. In such cases, they may go for a boot that’s specifically designed for starters.
Testing for Flex
Once you’ve laced up to a snug fit, it’s important to test for flex. Make a lunge around the store moving gently in all directions from toes to heels.
If you feel anything uncomfortable, like pressure points, chances are they will bother you on the ride. Try on a different style or size until you get one that feels comfortable when standing and walking around.
Some boots come with customizable insoles or footbeds, or they can be added to your boots. Insoles can be used to increase impact absorption, provide additional support, and increase comfort level.
If you have flat feet, it’s very important that you get specialist footbeds.
When all the test work is done, it all boils down to price. Investing in a snowboard boot doesn’t have to break the bank. However, keep in mind that price is usually a factor of technology and the quality of materials used.
Expect the entry-level boots to be in the lower price bracket, typically around $100. These boots usually come with a basic lacing system and a simple liner.
The price for high-end performance boots could go as high as $250. These ones come with top-end features along with all the bells and whistles you’d expect in a premium product.
Perfect fit boots allow you to plow through choppy snow like a pro and at the same time gives you an awesome experience in the mountains.
A good boot should also keep you warm and comfortable throughout the day so you can focus all your energy on your riding.
When shopping for snowboard boots, be sure to buy the ones that match your riding style. Knowing what type of rider you are can help you get the boots that meet your specific needs.
What features do you look for in snowboarding boots? Share with us in the comments section below.