Check your gear and make your shopping [or wish] list.
It’s a good time to think about ski and snowboard gear before everything gets picked over. As luck would have it, Sports Basement just happened reached out to us. So we’ve got some great tips on ski and snowboard gear from the Back Country manager at their Presidio Store, Zack Naour. Whether you are a beginner or advanced, you’ll find his tips helpful.
Before we get into the details, let’s talk budget. If you need everything new this year, a beginner skier or boarder, can expect to spend $800 – $1200 and an advanced skier or snowboarder, can expect to spend at least $1000 – $1800. If that sounds like a lot of money, don’t stop reading just yet.
Ski and snowboard gear lasts for 10 years or 100 uses. When you think about the cost of the sport over the useful life of the gear [per year or per use], the sport becomes a lot more affordable. Plus you’ll have years of fun with friends and/or family. That’s priceless!
Zack’s insights on ski or snowboard gear trends and what to buy now.
1/ Skis and Snowboards
Skis have been trending shorter and wider for several years but now they are also getting lighter. Skis and snowboards are incorporating materials such as carbon that make them more durable and lighter. For you as the skier or snowboarder, lighter should increase your stamina and in turn, improve your performance and decrease your risk of injury.
Boots are also getting lighter, more comfortable and easier to put on and take off while still maintaining the high performance expected by advanced skiers and snowboarders. The increased comfort will positively impact your overall ski or snowboard experience and may also improve your performance.
If your toes often feel like popsicles by the end of a cold day, you’ll be happy to learn there are options with heaters specifically for the toes. It’s brilliant not only because the heat is focused on your toes but because the heat won’t affect the integrity of your liner.
If heated boots aren’t a priority for your budget, focus on fit. The liner and a thin sock should provide enough warmth for your toes. If you’re sticking with your old boots this season and cold toes have been a problem, consider replacing the liner. There are several after market options for liners.
Helmets are also following the theme of lighter and better. Some helmets now have Multi-directional Impact Protection Systems [MIPS] for added protection. Definitely something to consider if you’re in the market for a new helmet this year.
With that said, there are still three  things you should consider in choosing your helmet: fit, ventilation and weight. Helmet should last as long as your other gear baring any major accidents. However, most manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet every 3 to 5 years to ensure your head is protected.
Don’t skimp on the bindings. Why? Your bindings need to keep you securely attached to your skis or board when you are “attacking the mountain” and to release if you fall. If you’re thinking who’s attacking what, it’s just a way to think about your level. The more comfortable you are on the mountain the more aggressive your approach to it.
The main point is that the functionality of your binding is critical to both your performance and safety on the mountain. The setting for your bindings is a function of your boot sole length, height, weight and level. Bindings should last the full life of your skis or snowboard but need to be adjusted for changes in any of the variables. You should get your gear in now for adjustments and other maintenance to be ready for the start of the season.
The big trend in ski and snowboard fashion is sustainability. While Patagonia is the first brand that comes to mind in terms of sustainability, Sports Basement is carrying a new organic brand called Picture that you should check out too. Replace things like gloves, socks and thermal underwear as they wear out or as needed.
Advice from Zack:
Beginners should just focus on getting comfortable with their gear. Intermediate skiers and boarders should focus on getting comfortable using the edges of their skis or board for better control and performance. Advance skiers and boarders should look for opportunities to challenge their technique and balance.
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