Let the flakes fly! Temperatures are dropping with the East Coast’s first glimpse of winter this week and ski resorts have followed suit, revving up their snowmaking machines for the 2012-2013 season. Are you stoked to hit the slopes? Proper equipment is key to enjoy the ride, but navigating the snow gear marketplace can be a doozy. We want you to start off on the right edge so tackled the dos and don’ts of gear with Skis.com’s owner and company founder, Steve Kopitz. Here’s a quick breakdown for boarders, both bunny hill enthusiasts and terrain park thrill-seekers, alike!
1. Embrace the scale: “One of the most common misconceptions when sizing a snowboard is that it’s based on height,” said Steve. “Your board doesn’t know how tall you are, but rather how much you weigh.” After hopping on the scale, use a size chart to determine the range you fall in. Big feet? Not to worry. Companies make wider boards for you!
2. Board in style: The main types of snowboards include all-mountain, freestyle and all-mountain freestyle. “The all-mountain freestyle boards are now the most common seen on the hill,” said Steve. “They truly encompass the entire mountain, including groomed runs, powder days and the terrain park. They will have features that aid in both carving, as well as freestyle skills.” To find your riding style and perfect match, check out Skis.com Buyer’s Guide.
3. Flex it out: “The flex of a board directly tells you how responsive the board will be. The stiffer the board, the more responsive it is.” As a general rule of thumb, entry-level riders should opt for a forgiving board while stiff boards provide advanced boarders with the quick response and edgehold they need.
4. Camber vs. Rocker: According to Steve, “Traditionally all boards have camber, which you can see when the board is set down and the middle lifts slightly off the ground. Camber gives you energy, pop and response.” Rocker, on the other hand, has become popular more recently. The middle of these boards sit flat on the ground with the nose and tail arc upwards. “Rockered boards are great for floating in deep snow and for learning to snowboard. Even more recently, many brands have come out with hybrids, which are a combination of camber and rocker. This gives you the best of both worlds.”
5. Stay Tuned: So you made the big purchase. Now it’s time to maintain its condition for seasons to come! “You’ll get the most out of your equipment if you take care of it. Depending on how often you ride, you can tune your board every 5-7 times on the hill. New boards come factory-waxed, but that generally only lasts a few trips,” said Steve. When the base starts looking a bit cloudy and dry, apply rub-on wax. For long-lasting results, a good hot wax will do the trick.
Learn more about finding and buying the best snow sport gear for you at Skis.com. A new board not in your budget at the moment? Hint: the holidays are right around the corner!
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