Going snowboarding for the first time is so exciting and for any outdoor adventurer, a snowboard holiday is a must. But if you are a beginner snowboarder, it’s hard to know what to pack for that first snowboard holiday? Use this handy ‘what to take’ checklist to help take away some pre-trip nerves and make sure you have everything needed to fully enjoy your first time snowboarding.
Before we get started it is important to remember that beginner snowboarders don’t need to buy everything. Your snowboard equipment – boots, board, bindings and helmet – can be rented in resort. Snowboard shops in resort offer great equipment to rent for learning and this will save you money. Maybe wait to purchase your own equipment once you have got the bug (which we guarantee you will, especially if you invest in good quality snowboard lessons or a beginners snowboard camp to get you going).
Here’s your checklist but make sure you read on for our expert advice below:
WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU NEED FROM YOUR BEGINNER SNOWBOARD EQUIPMENT:
Snowboard and bindings. You will need a beginner specific snowboard and bindings, especially for the first week or two. If you are renting or buying be honest with your experience, snowboards are made specifically for different levels and types of riding. Using equipment that is too advanced when learning to snowboard will hinder your progression so dont be tempted in buying a board ‘that will last’.
💡 Tip: If you are renting then look out for the Burton Learn to Ride beginner specific snowboard equipment which is perfect for beginners and as you progress you can move on to the LTR board which is perfect for when you have mastered your turns.
Snowboard boots. You will want beginner/intermediate level boots which have a medium-soft flex and help your feet to control the board. Snowboard boots can be rented alongside a board, however boots should be your first equipment investment as a great, well fitted pair of boots is so important to comfort and progression. If you are buying do not go for the cheapest pair and definitely do not buy them online, a proper fit is the most important criteria. Head to your local snowboard shop to get a proper boot fitting where you can get expert advice along with trying on lots of different models and makes.
Outerwear – Snowboard jacket & pants. This is an important purchase. Not only for the quality, but also the look! You need this to be good waterproof and breathable fabric to keep you warm and dry. This will also protect you from windchill and that fresh snow dump that may come when you are on the mountain. As a beginner snowboarder you might be spending some time on your bum and you want to stay dry.
Snowboard Gloves. A good pair of gloves is an important purchase, especially for beginner snowboarders, as you will spend plenty of time with your hands in the snow and doing up your bindings. We would definitely recommend getting the best gloves you can afford, ideally gore-tex. Mittens or gloves? This is completely your decision! Mittens are a warmer option and you can also pop a hand warmer inside on those extra chilly days.
💡 Tip: If you intend to use wrist guards you should buy these at the same time as your gloves to make sure they fit underneath your gloves.
💡 Tip: Snowboard specific gloves are generally more hard wearing than ski gloves so best to look for these as you will be spending plenty of time doing up your bindings.
Thermal Base Layers + Mid Layers. These are what you wear under your snowboarding jacket and pants. Arguably the most important bit of kit as they will keep you warm! Proper thermal base layers are made with either synthetic or wool and are breathable and warm. They take moisture away from the body and keep the chill off your skin. Before you go wild on purchasing thermal layers bear in mind where you are going on your snowboard holiday (is it a high alpine resort or a lower resort?) and the time of year (December/January/February can be very cold, whereas spring skiing can be remarkably warm).
Snowboard Socks. Dry and warm feet make snowboarding much easier! Once your feet get cold (or wet) that’s game over. For a week trip you will need a minimum of 2 pairs of good synthetic or wool socks. Make sure these fit you well, you don’t want any bumps or extra material inside your boots creating pressure.
💡 Tip: Don’t even think of using your everyday socks to snowboard in and FYI ‘ski’ socks are the same as ‘snowboard’ socks!
Helmet. You can purchase your own or rent this in resort. Either way, make sure you try it on first and that it is a comfortable, snug fit.
💡 Tip: Before buying, it is important to check your helmet fits well with your goggles to make sure there is no gap (or very little) between the two. Most manufacturers design their helmets and goggles to be compatible, so for example an Anon helmet will fit seamlessly with a pair of Anon goggles (both manufactured by Burton Snowboards).
Goggles + Sunglasses. You can wear either when snowboarding, however we generally always opt for goggles especially during the colder winter months. Goggles will protect you from the wind chill & snow and wont come off if you fall. Sunglasses are good in the spring when the sun is high and you need extra ventilation or for a long lunch outside.
💡 Tip: Don’t put expensive sunglasses in your pocket as you might fall on them!
Suncream. Do not forget sunscreen and lip block!! The sun in the mountains is strong and suncream is always needed, even on the cloudy days. Use a high factor and take this in your pocket to re-apply throughout the day. A goggle tan isn’t a great look when you’re back at back at work!
Neckwarmer. A small item that really makes a difference on those chilly days. You don’t want to be sat on a 10 minute chairlift in -10 without a neckwarmer! These protect your skin from windchill and keep you warm.
ADDITIONAL ADVICE ON EQUIPMENT FOR YOUR FIRST TIME SNOWBOARDING:
Backpacks. Do not wear a backpack when learning to snowboard, it will put you off balance even if very light. We can’t stress this enough. Everything you need with you should fit in your pockets:
Protective Gear. There are lots of different types of protective equipment that can be used along with a helmet such as bum protection, wrist guards, back protector & knee pads. It is very much a personal choice as to whether you wish to use any of these. Whilst they can help reduce injuries being dressed up like a Ninja Turtle is not particularly comfortable and is quite restrictive on movement. Out of the above protective gear we would recommend wrist guards as the most important as wrist injuries are the most common snowboarding injury when learning. Generally wrist guards can not be rented but can be purchased from all good snowboard shops. Take your gloves with you when you try them on to make sure they will fit underneath.
WHERE TO PURCHASE BEGINNER SNOWBOARD EQUIPMENT:
If you are purchasing any of the above equipment prior to your trip we recommend The Snowboard Asylum, they have stores throughout the UK and online. If you are booking beginner snowboard lessons or onto the Beginners Snowboard Camp with MINT we will give you a 15% discount code at TSA!
If you are wanting to purchase once in resort then look out for a snowboard specialised shop. In the Portes du Soleil we recommend the following snowboard shops:
On a final note:
We hope this check list has been useful… happy packing and have a great snowboard holiday!