SnowboardFilter: Help me find some new gear.
November 14, 2006 1:10 PM   Subscribe

I need new snowboard, boots, and bindings, but I'm not sure what to look for or how much I should be spending.

I bought my first snowboard / boots / bindings around 4 years ago and last season they finally died. I got the whole set for a little over $200 when I bought it. The bindings were strap in and I think the company that made the whole set was SnowJam.

I'd imagine the style of snowboarding you plan on doing has a lot to do with the kind of snowboard that you would want to get. That said, I'm (slowly) learning jumps but I have the most fun on glade style runs.

So what should I look for in brand, telltale signs of quality (or the lack thereof), and price? Are there some solid review sites out there that I can find more information from? Does anyone know of a good package (board / boots / binding) deal, or is better to build the set ala carte?
posted by ibfrog to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Find a local ski and snowboard shop and go visit them. These are great questions for a knowledgeable salesperson.

You'll probably end up with a snowboard with a progressive sidecut, a midrange set of strap in bindings, and a set of boots. You can probably get some decent quality equipment for around $500 dollars. You'll most likely see lots of boards from the larger manufacturers, and you can get some good value from them (Burton, Salomon). But... there are a lot of great smaller companies too (Lib Tech, GNU, NeverSummer).

A lot of the decisions that you make should be based on how many days a year you'll be snowboarding, and where you ride. Snowboards have a life expectancy, and the more you ride, the higher quality the board should be. Where are you planning to ride?
posted by tumble at 3:21 PM on November 14, 2006

Go ride demo gear. When I found my old board starting to die I went to a local shop, told them what type of riding I like to do and asked for suggestions on boards and bindings. I'd rent a demo model, head up to the mountain and try it out. One day I did three demo setups from the shop on the mountain itself, riding each one for 2 hours, then heading back to the shop and switching all for the price of a single rental. The shop on the mountain offered to credit me the price of the rentals if I bought a board from them.

Once I figured out what really clicked for me it was time to start hunting for previous years models during the summer time that were being cleared out for this years stock. I got a $400 Burton Canyon for $200 in August that way. Never used, but the previous seasons model. Then I started scouring EBay and local shops for boots/bindings. I just ordered a set of Burton step-ins and boots for $100 including shipping.

Retail, that would have been about $750. I paid $300. But the key to being able to do that was to ride a bunch of different boards to figure out what I wanted. Even a cheap snowboard is pretty expensive, so take the time and figure out what will really make you happy. Its worth a bit of extra time and money.
posted by afflatus at 4:46 PM on November 14, 2006

Thanks for the response. I live in Minnesota, so there really isn't all that much in the way of hills to ride. I won't be getting a season pass, but I'm planning at least one multi-day trip.

I'm still relatively new to the sport. afflatus, you mentioned riding demo gear. What sort of things should I be looking for as I'm riding the demo gear? I've only owned the one board and I'm not sure what difference a different type or brand would make.
posted by ibfrog at 7:02 AM on November 15, 2006

The biggest thing to look for when riding is what feels comfortable. Some boards are geared more towards racing, for instance. They are very stiff and designed to cut into icy snow really well, to maintain that edge at high speeds, but aren't very forgiving. They will dump you on your butt if you go into a turn wrong and catch an edge. Other boards are made with a lot of spring in them. They are great for jumps and half-pipes, but tend to get a lot of chatter when you're cutting hard on an icy corner.

More and more manufacturers are making nice, all mountain boards. Not too stiff, not too springy. You'll find different feels based on how deep the sidecut is (how far in the middle of the board is from the width of the nose of the board). I like to play in the powder a lot and ride amongst the trees. I also have big feet, so I've got a very wide board that's meant carving and playing in powder. The width also means that my toes don't drag when I'm on an edge.

The bottom line though is still that the board that is right for you is the one that you get on and it feels right. If you strap in and you find yourself having to throw your hips right and left to keep an edge, that's the wrong board. If you strap in and find yourself making nice smooth cuts, keeping your speed, feeling in control without having to battle against the board, then that's a good board for you.
posted by afflatus at 10:16 AM on November 15, 2006

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