There’s nothing I like better than flying down the side of a mountain with a thin sheet of fibreglass strapped to my feet. It’s great to feel the wind whipping through my jacket and the adrenaline pumping through my veins.
Well, it’s good until my ego overtakes my skill level and I wipe out in a dramatic plume of snow!
With just a few days to go until Christmas, I’ve been thinking about what gifts I should get the other snow addicts in my life. I thought I’d share it with you, too, to cut down on your festive shopping stress.
It’s no secret that snow addicts — snowboarders, in particular — are show-offs. So why not give them a way to share their first tracks on the mountain? (Or their hilarious bails, depending on how good they are!)
GoPros and other adventure cameras have been around for several years now and are actually pretty affordable. Even the basic model makes a great Christmas present that both skiers and boarders will get a tonne of use out of.
And if your fellow snow addict already has an adventure camera of their own, you could still pick up some accessories like a helmet camera mount or a chest harness.
I came to snowboarding through motorcycles (it’s a long story) so I was used to wearing big, bulky back protectors made from rigid plastic. I just assumed that snow sport back protectors would be the same.
Well, they aren’t. (Obviously.)
Modern snow sport back protectors are designed to fit close to your body and flow with your moves. Slip it on under your jacket and you’ll honestly forget it’s there in half an hour. And knowing you have the protection against potential crashes makes it worth it.
Unless your friends and family are super safety conscious, they probably won’t already have a back protector , which makes this a great last-minute Christmas gift.
Normal underwear isn’t made for eight hours on the slopes. Pick out some proper sporting boxers or briefs for gifts and your friends and family will thank you! (Well, they might not actually thank you, but they’ll definitely be thinking it.)
The same goes for socks as well! Good active socks have loads of clever features like anti-slip pads, ankle cushioning segments and breathable fabrics to keep your feet in tip-top condition.
I’ll let you in on a secret: You can never have too many buffs. Buffs are super popular amongst snow addicts — they stay secure around your neck and can be worn in a bunch of different ways, ranging from simple neckerchief to classic balaclava.
An Olympic snowboarder once told me, “Getting better doesn’t mean crashing less. It just means you get better at crashing.”
That was a bit of a wake-up call for me. Wiping out on the slopes is just part of the game and you’ve got to get used to it if you want to tackle the harder routes.
Thankfully, there are some shortcuts and secrets to crashing better.
Padded shorts are basically thermal shorts with added padding on all your bits that stick out — hips, thighs, knees, and so on. There’s a bunch of really great manufacturers on the market producing everything from lightweight foam padding to hardcore memory foam armour. So there really is something for everyone.
If you know someone who wakes up the morning after a run covered in bruises, padded shorts are the perfect present!
Board Wall Mounts
Some of the designs coming out now are verging on artwork. While some boarders are content to slip their board into a bag and stow it in their cupboard, others (like me) like to keep it on display.
Wall mounts are small plastic clips that you fix to wall to securely hold your board. You can use non-specific mounts and hooks, but I suggest you go for proper board mounts for the added security.
Unless you live in the Swiss Alps or right at the base of Whistler Mountain, you probably don’t get a whole load of snowboarding practice in throughout the year, which can make improving your fundamentals tricky.
That’s where a balance board comes in.
Balance boards are basically just wobbly platforms you stand on. Working to keep yourself level improves your balance, coordination, and core strength. The best bit is you can do it anywhere in the world — so long as you’ve got a flat bit of floor.
About the Author
David Vallance is a writer with itchy feet. When he's not writing frantically on his vintage typewriter (really!), he's planning his next adventure.