How to Buy Snowboard Boots

How to buy Snowboard Boots

Snowboard boots can be the most important part of a snowboard set up. Even if a snowboarder has a top of the line board and expensive bindings, if the boots aren’t comfortable they aren’t going to have a very fun ride. The best return on investment from snowboarding is going to be a comfortable ride with good quality boots.

When deciding which boots are going to work best the ability and style of the rider are going to be the main determining factors. Boots will range from soft to stiff on a 1 – 10 scale. Beginners and freestyle riders will want a boot that is going to be softer. As a freerider advances in their riding they will gradually work up to a stiffer boot.

Liner

Most liners in boots now will be heat moldable. This means that when heat is applied the liner will mold to the riders foot giving them a comfortable custom fit. Molding the boot can be done by either placing it on a heat tower and then wearing to boots for a few hours, and if this is not available wearing the boots for around three to four hours a day for around three days should custom fit the boots to the rider’s feet.

Most liners now won’t have many seams on them. This will lighten it and make it more comfortable to wear because the inconsistencies of the seams won’t be touching the foot. The liner will also have a great deal to do with the flex of the boot. Higher end boots will have a heel structure built into them. A heel structure will create a better hold on the foot and reduce any lift when carving and turning. Some higher end freeride liners will also have stiffening rods in them. Most boots now will have a removable liner but some companies will still have a sewn in liner and these work good too.

The outer part of the boot will differ depending on the flex. Stiffer boots will use more plastic materials and stiffening agents when softer boots will use nylon and synthetic leathers. Another new element on boots that is going to affect the flex is an articulating cuff. This will separate the upper part of the boot from the lower part so the boot can flex more like a hinge. This will prevent bunching and crimping in the instep.

Lacing systems

The liner and outer part of the boot will, more often that not, be laced separately and there are many different lacing systems that are available. Some models of boots will have a quick draw system. This system will tighten the top and bottom the boot independently with a single lace in each section with a handle. One quick pull on the handle will tighten them and they are kept tight by a cleat. To loosen the boot, simply pull forward on the laces releasing them from the cleat.

Many boots will still have traditional laces. Some riders will still prefer these over other systems because they can customize how tight the boot will be in different areas. Lace up boots will have eyelets on the lower part of the boot and hooks on the upper section.

Another popular option for lacing systems are boa boots. Boa will replace traditional laces with a stainless steel cable that is tightened by twisting a dial at the top of the boot. The cable in the boot is very durable because it is made of 29 strands of stainless steel that have been inlayed to each other. The main advantage of this system is it will get boots nice and snug without ripping up the snowboarders hands like regular laces can do.

Getting out of boa boots is just as easy as getting in. Simply pull the dial out and pull the tong forward and your foot is easily released. One disadvantage to the boa lacing system is that it does not have independent adjustments to tighten the top and bottom of the boot differently. Snowboarders will often want to adjust the tops and bottoms of their boots differently to suit their riding style. Freestyle riders often will tighten the foot of their boot as much as they can to prevent heel lift, but they will leave the top of their boot loose to provide more flexibility and movement.

Some boa boots will have independent adjustments, but most will not. The ones that do will generally have a three zone system. One dial will tighten the top of the boot, another will tighten the bottom and the third will tighten an overlap in the center.

Sole Construction

A big goal of many companies recently is to drastically reduce the weight of their boots. Traditionally, rubber was used for the soles of snowboard boots, but today rubber is one of the heaviest materials in the market. It is still used, however, because rubber has great durability and really good grip. But instead of using it for the entire sole companies will use rubber in only specific areas of the sole. Other companies have replaced rubber all together with other materials that are much lighter and are still a high quality material for the sole of snowboard boots

Freeride and backcoutry boots can sometimes have much more variation in the design and purpose of their sole. For hiking, these boots can be made with a specific tread or even ice spikes. The soles of freestyle boots will be focused more on cushion for landings. The types of materials used for cushioning will depend on the price tag of the boot. You get what you pay for in this area.

Boots are an essential part to a snowboard set up. How comfortable your feet are will determine how much fun you will have riding and how long your day will last. It is a wise choice to spend a little more money on boots because it will be worth it in the long run.

How To Detune a Snowboard

A lot of freestyle riders will want to detune their edges to prevent them from catching on rails and boxes. Most freestyle boards will come from the factory already detuned as part of their finishing process. But in case they aren’t there are a few tips to be aware of before taking a file to the edges.

A detune that almost every rider should do is rounding off or smoothing out the edges at the nose and tail. The area to detune will be all the way around the nose and tail to the widest point of the board and then a little over an inch in beyond that. This part of the snowboard’s edge is not used to carve or for grip so having it sharp can essentially cause more harm than good.

To go about detuning this edge use a regular file and run it around the edge at about a 45 degree angle. After that, run the file over the edge again at a shallower angle, and one more time after that at a deeper angle. Another way to detune this section of the egde is, with the base facing up, push the file down over the edge and do that all the way around. Basically what is trying to accomplished is to create a smooth surface. The goal is to take away that sharpness from the edge and make the edge rounded.

Once the edge has been rounded with the file it will most likely have burrs, or little nicks or imperfections. To smooth them out a diamond stone or a gummy stone can be used. With a smooth edge the board will ride faster in the snow and provide a more even ride.

The next way to detune edges is one that aggressive terrain park riders will use. The snowboarders that are going to be riding a lot of rails, boxes and other features are going to want rounded edges so they are not catching and causing them to fall and possibly get hurt. The area to detune for this purpose is in between the bindings. The process to detune this area is the same as the last, but it is for a much different reason.

Detuning this area will cause the rider to lose a significant amount of grip for carving and freeriding. Riding a detuned board like this in icy conditions will be difficult. If the rider is just learning boxes and rails it is best to take just a little bit of the edge of to start and slowly take off more as they progress.

If the board is going to be used strictly for rails and boxes it is fine to completely take off the edge the whole running length of the board. How the board is detuned is up the rider and what style of riding they anticipate they will be doing.

How to Wax and Tune a Snowboard

Waxing and tuning a snowboard is essential to the performance you will get out of it. If you don’t wax your snowboard before going to ride you are just cutting yourself short. Tuning includes waxing, sharpening the edges and a few other things. To tune the board first take off the bindings. This will make the process much easier because the board needs to be flipped upside down. Tuning vices will also make the process much easier, but they are not necessary.

The first step in tuning a snowboard is to sharpen the edges. The easiest way to sharpen edges is to use a file guide. A file guide will keep the file at the same angle for every swipe along the entire length of the board. Most file guides will have an angle indicator on them that you can set the degree of the edge for different riding styles. Complete as many swipes as needed but only swipe the file in one direction, not up and down.

Freestyle riders will want to be detuning their edges rather than making them sharper. A regular file will be used for this. Sharp edges will be much more likely to catch on rails and boxes and can cause injury to the rider. Detuning is rounding the edges and making them smooth. Whether sharpening or detuning the edges it should only take a couple passes to get the desired edges.

How to Wax a Snowboard

Once the edges are sharp then the base should be waxed.

What supplies you’ll need:

  • A work area, preferably a garage or workshop space. Sometimes waxing can get a little messy.
  • A waxing specific iron. Don’t use your home iron. Once you use an iron for waxing you can’t use it again to iron clothes. Wax specific irons come with a flat base (as opposed to steam vents) and temperature settings that are ideal for melting snowboard and ski wax.
  • Snowboard or Ski Wax
  • A Scraper
  • A Base Brush/Buffer
  • Base Cleaner
  • A phillips-head screwdriver (For loosening or taking off your bindings prior to waxing).

Shop The House for Snowboard Waxing and Tuning Supplies.

Waxing Snowboard - Supplies 1

Wax Off

The first step to applying new wax to a snowboard is to remove the old wax. Wax remover is usually a citrus solvent like base cleaner. Simply spray it over the base and wipe it off. If you don’t have any, run a hot iron over the base, apply a thin layer of wax, and then scrape instantly.When riding on man-made snow or in spring conditions a lot of buildup can gather on the base of a snowboard. It is important to get all the dirt off before applying new wax. Removing old wax is also very important if you are using temperature specific waxes. If changing from a cold weather wax to a warm weather you don’t want any of the old stuff to be left over on the base.

Wax On

The easiest and quickest way to apply new wax is to use a rub on. These waxes will work best on extruded bases that are not very porous. Rub on waxes will usually use a sponge to apply them, or if they are a bar of wax just rub the bar evenly over the entire base. These bars of rub on wax will normally have a cork to even it out once applied. Rub on waxes work okay, but the best option for waxing is by far a hot wax.

Hot waxing your snowboard will bring out the best performance and allow the base to glide much faster over the snow. A hot wax will penetrate further into the base and last much longer. Boards with sintered bases should only use hot wax because this base is much more porous and will absorb much of the wax. If a sintered base is not hot waxed regularly its performance will significantly depreciate. Applying hot wax will require an iron. Regular clothing irons might work but they will without a doubt be ruined. Clothing irons have steam holes that will get plugged with wax among other flaws for waxing purposes. Snowboard wax specific irons will work best because they will have certain heat settings for different kinds of waxes, they will be solid across the bottom with no holes for wax to get into and they will have a certain shape that will glide over a snowboard base.

Many snowboarders will prefer to use an all temperature wax in case of dramatic spikes in the weather from day to day. Temperature specific waxes will be used mostly by racers that will tune their board distinctively for the conditions the day of the race. Also a fluorinated wax will be best because it will penetrate in to the base better and the result is it will last longer and it will be faster.

Once the iron is heated touch the wax directly to the iron so that the wax will begin to melt and drip onto the base of the board. Drip the wax over the entire base focusing most of the wax on the edges of the board. The edges are going to be much drier because they have more contact with the snow and get used more heavily. Just a couple lines up and down the edges and a quick zig zag down the center should be enough. It does not take much wax to cover the base, but do make sure there is enough to cover the whole area.

When applying wax also take into consideration what type of base the board has. Because a sintered base is more porous than an extruded base it is going to absorb a larger amount of wax. Once the wax is dripped on to the base simply rub the iron over the base. Your goal here is to re-melt the drops of wax and even them out over the base. The nose and tail are not as important in the waxing process because they have much less contact with the snow. Really focus on the outer edges and underneath the bindings. The more even the wax is over the board the faster it will be.

Once you have smoothed the wax over the base look it over to make sure that there are no areas that don’t have wax on it or are kind of thin. The edges may require more wax because they will absorb more. If they still look dry don’t be afraid to add more wax. It is impossible to put too much wax on because all the excess is going to be scraped off. Too much excess wax will simply create more work when scraping.

Scrape and Smooth

Once the wax has been applied and smoothed out let it cool down. This may take 15 or 20 minutes. The goal is to let the board return to room temperature. This will let the pores completely absorb the wax and will give you better results. You don’t want to rush scraping hot wax or the process won’t work as well.

To scrape the board, first start with the edges by running the scraper over the base at around a 45 degree angle with a lot of pressure applied. Run the scraper in long even strokes and not in short back and forth motions. This will make the wax more even and faster on the snow. The main goal of a hot wax is to get wax into the pores. Any excess left on the base will slow the board down. So put as much pressure on the scraper as needed to get all the excess off.

Run your hand over the base to feel if there are any areas that have wax left on it. Racers have a saying that is “thin to win” the thinner the excess wax on your base is the faster your board will be. All the wax your base needs is in the pores.

Once all the extra wax has been removed you will want to use a Scotch-Brite pad or Fiber Tech that will help to remove any leftover wax. It will force more wax into the pores and will help to leave it really smooth and even. A pad for this purpose will often be included in a lot of tuning kits. A good way to save money on getting equipment to tune a snowboard is to buy it all together in a kit. Some will incorporate everything including the iron and they will have a case to keep it all together. Being able to tune and wax your own snowboard will also save you a lot of money. Having a shop do it for you will often cost around $20- $30.

Buff It Out

This should complete the wax, but to get an extra nice finish on the wax a cloth can be used to buff over it. You can also add texture to the wax which will create channels that will wick water away from the base when riding. Texture will break up the surface tension and decrease suction between the base and snow and make the board more slippery. To do this use a horsehair or brass brush and run it diagonally across the board.

Shop for wax and tuning tools and snowboards.

How To Buy Wakeboard Bindings

Bindings are a very important piece of equipment when finding the optimal wakeboarding gear.  Not having the correct bindings could ruin a perfect day on the lake by making the ride very uncomfortable and frustrating. It is vital that when looking to buy bindings to find the right fit, style, and functionality that is conducive to a wakeboarder’s level of skills and works with their board of choice. There are a variety of different binding options on the market that will provide the best possible set-up for any person looking to shred up the water.

Comfort is a key ingredient in making for a great day behind the boat.  Being uncomfortable on the wakeboard can cut a day short and take all the fun out of riding. A good comfortable fit for a binding should be snug but not too tight that it causes discomfort or cuts off circulation.  The overlay, which holds the heel and toe parts together, should be made of substantial material and be flexible enough so that movement is not obstructed.  The material in-between the overlay and foot should provide enough cushion so there is absolutely no pinching.  Initially, a rider may feel as if the binding is too tight, but they must allow the overlay and underlay to stretch a bit. This will provide enough support so that the boot is not sliding around in the binding.

Another very important aspect of the binding is the footbed. The footbed is the substance underneath the foot that provides a cushion.  It should work as a shock absorber and be shaped in a way that will relieve pressure from the knees and ankles.  The heel will be positioned slightly above the middle of the foot and have a ridge around the toes.  With the right fit, the boarder should experience the best possible leverage for making cuts and turns.

The binding will be attached to the board by the baseplate. A baseplate will allow for a boarder to alter their stance based on the way it is attached.  There are pre-drilled holes on the wakeboard that will allow the boarder to change the angles in which the binding is secured to it.  If just starting out, it is important to research and find what the best possible stance prior to bolting down the bindings.  Slight changes in the degrees in which the bindings are attached to the wakeboard can significantly alter the ride.  As the wakeboarder becomes more accustomed to the sport they will be able to decipher which angles best fit their style of riding.

The hardware, or the nuts and bolts of the binding, is also very important. They should be of good quality because they ultimately are what hold the binding together and support the side and curvature of the foot. It is vital that the hardware holds the binding securely to the board and are tightened down well. A lose binding can distort the feel of the wakeboard making it almost impossible to have a good ride. The binding will also have straps and ties that can be adjusted.  Prior to jumping in the water, the rider should have full knowledge of the operation of the straps and have an idea of how tight they should be. This will save in a lot of frustration while floating in the middle of a lake should the board come off. Also, adding some sort of lubricant such as liquid soap or binding lube will help with getting the foot in and out of the binding with ease.

The importance of having good bindings can sometimes get over looked. It is vital that the entire set up works well together, but in the end it is the bindings that will determine the comfort of the wakeboarder’s feet and how long their day will last.

 

How To Buy Snowboard Accessories

There are a lot of accessories that go along with snowboard gear and all of them are meant to make your ride a little better. These can include things like stomp pads, leashes and tuning equipment. To make sure that each of the accessories is going to do what it was meant to do, the best it can do it, there are a few things to know about some of them.

The main purpose of a leash is to attach the binding to the boot. Should the boot come out of the binding on the hill a leash will stop the board from sliding down hill without the rider. There are a few different designs to leashes. Some will be made out of nylon, or some companies will have ones specific to their brand. For example, Air Blaster has their Air Leash which has a cord that will stretch and contract so the rider won’t need to take the leash off to walk if they unstrap.

Stomp pads can also come in many different types. Most brands will make their own stomp pads with their logo or name out of a hard plastic. But some stomp pads will be made out of metal, aluminum or acrylic. Some will be more flat with a little bit of texture but others will be sharp spikes to really give good grip.

There are also a lot of different kinds of tools for maintaining and tuning your equipment. One thing any snowboarder will eventually need is wax remover. Before waxing a board the old wax should be removed because it can hold a lot of dirt and residue. It is best to apply new wax to a clean base.

When the old stuff is gone the next thing you will need is wax. The type of wax you choose will depend on the temperature you will be riding in and how fast you want your base to be. There are some rub on waxes that are easy and quick to apply, but the best way to wax your board is with a hot wax. Hot waxes will vary by the temperatures that the rider is intending to be riding in. There are warm weather, cold weather or all temp waxes. Hot wax will be melded onto the base and smoothed out with an iron. Any old iron can be used for this, but a specific snowboard wax iron will work best because it will have special temperature settings for different types of waxes and bases.

Once the wax is spread even over the base you will need a scraper to take off all the excess wax. These will also come in many different shapes and sizes. The best ones are acrylic because they won’t scratch the board’s surface. Then when the extra wax is removed there are also texturing tools to rub over the new wax. These will help to wick water away from the base of the board when riding that will create less suction allowing the board to glide faster over the snow.

Once the base is maintained the next this to tend to are the edges. The easiest way to sharpen edges is to use a file guide. To use a file guide, all you need to do is put it on the edge and push it from end to end. This will give the rider a nice sharp edge and a lot more grip in hard snow. These file guides can be quite simple but some will have different angle settings that will be used for different types of riding. After that a diamond stone can be used to take off any burrs or imperfections and get a really nice smooth edge. A diamond stone will be most useful to rail riders that will be putting their edges through much more abuse.

There are some other tools that will help to maintain the board and bindings while riding. Pocket wrenches are a really handy thing to have out on the hill because with the high vibrations of riding the screws in the bindings can come loose. Also if you want to make any adjustments while riding you can just pull out the tool and make the changes where you are rather than hunting down a screwdriver on a bench. Some pocket tools will have a ratcheting mechanism which makes everything faster and easier.

There are also other tools that will work better for at home. Some screw drivers and wrenches will have a bigger handle that will give more torque when tightening the binding. Many of these will also have the ratcheting mechanism and also extra attachments. It is best not to use power tools for tightening bindings because they will be more likely to strip out the insert or push through the base. Hand tools are really the best and safest way to go.

How To Mount a Stomp Pad & Leash

Leashes and a stomp pads are not essential to every snowboarder but they can be very beneficial, and to mount them on the board is very simple. A leash’s purpose is to attach the rider to the board just in case the board should come detached from the rider.The leash will prevent the board from sliding downhill without the rider, but the board detaching from a rider like this is very rare. There are many variations of leashes but most will attach to the binding and have a clasp that attaches to the boot laces. Some will attach to the board and wrap around the leg and yet others will attach to the board and the boot and have a clasp in the middle of the strap.

To attach the leash to the binding, loop the end through the adjustment holes of either one of the straps, or some bindings will have openings in the baseplate that the leash can be looped through. When attaching the leash to the boot it is important to clip it to the section of laces that are not going to be underneath the straps of the bindings. The best area would be between the ankle and toe strap.

Leashes are rarely ever actually put to use. In the extreme cases where the board would become detached from the rider’s feet it is most likely that the boot and binding would rip out of the board. Since it is the binding and the boot that are attached and not the board, the leash really doesn’t serve any purpose. It is because of this that many ski resorts don’t require leashes any more. But it is a good idea to at least carry one in your pocket on the off chance that you should come to a hill or lift operator that will still require them.

A stomp pad’s purpose is to create more grip for the rider when the rear foot is out of the binding. Most of its use will be at the bottom of the lift and getting off. It can also be used for any one footed freestyle tricks so that the foot won’t slip off the top of the board when trying to maneuver it. The stomp pad will be placed just in front of the rear binding so that the foot will be able to rest against the outside of the binding which will also create more control and stability when not strapped in.

To mount the stomp pad on the board make sure that the board surface is clean and dry. The board should be at room temperature or possibly even heat it up with a hair dryer. The back, adhesive side, of the stomp pad should also be heated before mounting it on the board. This heat is going to activate the adhesive and create a better bond between the stomp pad and the board. The stomp pad should be positioned within about an inch from the rear binding. Start with one corner of the stomp pad and roll it onto the board. Once the stomp pad is on, press it down as hard as possible and try to remove any air bubbles. Let the adhesive dry anywhere from 12 to 24 hours.

Shop The House for stomp pads and leashes.

How To Buy Snowboard Pants

When buying snowboard pants you are generally going to follow the same rules as buying a jacket. When buying pants it is important to pay attention to the insulation value. Pants will have less insulation options than jackets, but there are still varying differences to be aware of. The main reason for this is because when riding your legs are your shock absorbers and are in constant motion so they will be generating a lot of their own heat.

Many of the pants will be a simple shell construction, which is just a single layer. To promote breathability many pants will have a hanging mesh liner or something like it, which will keep moisture away from the skin.

Snowboard pants can also come in a convertible system with a removable liner. These pants are going to be much more versatile and will keep the rider the right temperature in all kinds of conditions. Traditionally snowboard pants have been just a regular shell pant. Shell pants are best for warmer conditions like in the fall or spring. Another popular type of snowboard pants are bibs. Bibs are a type of pant a powder rider would like to keep the snow out of places it shouldn’t be. Some bibs will have a zipper to remove the top part to convert them into regular pants.

Pants can also have many different features depending on the name brand. One really common feature that are in most pants are vents. Typically the vents are going to be on the inside of the leg and will open up to a mesh window. Some pants will have the vents in different areas and some may not have the mesh, but they are a very beneficial feature.

Some snowboard pants will also have a gaiter and a ghetto slit. Ghetto slits are the break in the cuff at the bottom on the pant. It allows the rider to open up the cuff to fit it over their boots. The Ghetto slits are on the gaiter, which is the piece of fabric that will fit tightly around the boot underneath the shell of the pant. The gaiter will have a hook on them to attach to the laces of the boot to prevent it from slipping up and letting snow in.

Snowboard pants will also have a variety of pockets available on them. Some will have cargo pockets and some may have fleece lining in the front pockets to warm the riders hands when they are sitting on the chair lift. One thing to look for on the pockets is what kind of closure they have. A lot will have a zipper and others will have a zipper and Velcro for more security and water proofing. Newer pants will also have tapped seams to prevent any water from getting into the pocket.

The waistband will have belt loops as a belt will also help to keep snow out. Many of the pants will have either exterior or internal surf-tab adjustments to take in the waste or let it out. So the pants will be able to fit a wider range of body types.

Fitting snowboard pants can be a little tricky because there is a broad range as to how different brands size their pants. A good rule of thumb is to go up one size from your regular street pants. This will allow for more room to layer on the cold days. The extra room is also important for mobility while snowboarding. A snowboarder’s body is going to be bending and flexing a lot and constricting pants can become quite uncomfortable. Moving up a size for kids is also a really great idea. This allow for them to get more wear out of the pants before they grow out of them.

Shop The House for snowboard pants

How To Buy Snowboard Bindings

The bindings are a critical part of how comfortable a snowboarder is going to be riding and they will greatly affect the rider’s performance. When buying bindings there are three basic things you will want to look for; they need to be durable, they need to be comfortable, and they need to be easy to use.

There are many parts of the binding that will play in to these factors and it is helpful to know about them when looking to buy a pair. First off there is the ratchet. The ratchet has a throw arm that the rider will use to crank the straps down tight and release when they need to step out. As you go up in price the ratchet systems will become much smoother and will catch less. They will be easier to use and they will weigh less. The more expensive ratchets will weigh less because they will be made out of titanium, magnesium or possibly just a lighter aluminum.

The next essential part of the biding to know about are the straps. Once again the higher in price the straps are the better performance they will put out and be much higher quality. The ankle strap should have some kind of 3D contouring to it, which means it should have a pre-molded curvature to fit the boot better. This pre curvature will reduce crimping and bunching of the material which can cause much discomfort.

Most toe straps today will either be a toe cap, which will be designed to sit over the front of the boot, or they will be a hybrid strap that can be used in both the traditional style, laying over the boot, or as a toe cap. Toe cap toe straps are more beneficial because they will pull the boot back into the binding so it will sit more snugly in the heel cup of the binding. This will give the rider better response from the board and will allow for the ankle strap to be ridden a little more loosely so there will be more circulation in the foot keeping it warmer.

The highback is what’s going to promote heel side turning and carving. Traditional highbacks are basically straight up and down. Most will have a central core or spine that will promote really good response. All highbacks will have a forward lean adjuster. This will contribute to heel side response even further, but how much forward lean the rider wants will depend on their riding style. In the terrain park a rider will want a more natural feel with the highback mostly straight up and down. But for a freerider or even someone who will be in the pipe, more forward lean will enhance their riding. Companies are now angling their highbacks to better match the angle of the riders legs. This will put more of the highback directly behind the rider’s leg giving them more control and comfort.

The materials used in highbacks can vary a lot. Some will be made of urethane, which is a soft compound generally found in skateboard wheels. Urethane will promote flex, which freestyle riders or beginners will like. On cheaper bindings the highbacks will mostly be made of plastic. Higher end bindings will mostly have some sort of carbon layup. Carbon is a rigid material and won’t have much flex making it much more responsive. Carbon is also very light which will be a big factor in the overall weight of the entire binding.

Every other part of the binding is essentially surrounding the baseplate. The baseplate is what connects the binding to the snowboard. Many companies will focus on padding in the baseplate and the foot bed for the riders comfort. This should be a big factor in deciding which binding is best. A lot of companies will now offer lifetime warranties on their baseplates. This is because in recent years most companies have switched to high-tech plastics and a lot of them are even being infused with carbon and fiberglass. This will not only strengthen the baseplate but it will decrease the weight and increase the rigidity of the binding.

Most baseplates will now be padded on both the top and the bottom. The higher quality bindings will have more padding on the baseplate. Padding will absorb a lot of impact from jumps and vibration from rough terrain. This will make for an easier ride preserving a lot of energy and it will be easier on the snowboarder’s body making them more comfortable and cutting down on aches and pains. If bindings have padding on the bottom sometimes it will be a thin sheet of rubber or it could be bushings on the four corners of the binding. Padding on the bottom of the binding will help to allow the board to flex more naturally under the binding. Bindings can sometime create a flat dead spot directly underneath them that will restrict torsional flex. Padding will help to allow the board to flex more evenly.

Another feature that most newer models of bindings will include is toolless adjustments. A lot of times a binding will require small tweaks and some readjusting once the boot has had a chance to settle in after a few runs. Toolless adjustments allows these changes to be made easily in seconds without having to stop, unstrap and pull out a wrench. Most toolless adjustments will be on the straps but some binding models will be entirely toolless.

Each brand will have its own variations in technology and options available on their bindings that will help increase performance, comfort and ease of use. An example of this includes bindings such as the Ride Contrabands. These bindings will have an anodized aluminum baseplate which will make them much lighter and a wedgie footbed which is slanted for riding comfort. The most noticeable difference of the Contraband is the single ratchet strap in system. Ride replaced the toe strap with a V shaped strap that is connected to the base of the binding and the ankle strap for a quick in and out.

K2 has a couple variations of their own single ratchet systems. The first is called the Auto which has a traditional toe strap but is tightened by a cable that is connected to the ankle strap. So both the ankle and the toe straps are tightened at once with the ankle ratchet. The K2 Cinch bindings don’t require any ratcheting once they are adjusted correctly because they have a highback that folds down and ankle straps that will lift up. This allows to easily place your boot in the binding and will still provide a tight and secure hold when the highback is folded back up.

A more well known brand for fold down highbacks are Flow bindings. Flow bindings have connected straps that will sit on top of the boot. The purpose of the binding is for more convenience in stepping out. They will work particularity well for beginners that will be in and out of their bindings a little more frequently or older riders who aren’t able to bend down as much.

One final thing to be sure to be aware of when buying bindings and a board is the mounting system. Most boards and bindings will have a four whole set up, but Burton bindings will either have a Channel or a three whole mounting system. Baseplates can be bought to fit these bindings to any board, but just be aware that there are these differences when buying your gear.

How To Buy Ski Poles

When going skiing, it is important for your safety and enjoyment to make sure that you always have the right equipment, which is why selecting the proper ski pole is essential. In order to make sure you buy the pole that is right for you, there are four factors that you must consider: material, length, basket size, and grip.

Materials

There are four main materials that ski poles are made from, which are composite, fiberglass, aluminum, and graphite. Each material has its own pros and cons. Graphite is both lightweight and highly durable, but it is generally more expensive. Aluminum is a very budget friendly choice, but is more prone to warping or snapping during a crash. What material you get should probably be driven by your budget and how frequently you ski. If you ski rarely, the more economical pole should be sufficient, however if you go often during the season, it might be the time to invest in something stronger.

Length

The deciding factor in buying ski poles should be the length. A pole that is either too long or too short could be dangerous, as it would not allow you to maintain the proper posture while skiing. To choose the right length, turn the pole upside down while standing up with your arms stretched out in front of you, grab the point of the pole, and if the grips are touching the floor that pole is the right size. Telescoping poles might be a good choice for children who are still growing, or if you plan on sharing your equipment.

Basket Size

The basket is a disc located towards the bottom of the ski pole. It is the function of the basket to prevent the end of the pole from sinking into the snow. It is important to choose the proper basket type for the skiing conditions you will be on. Packed terrain should utilize a smaller basket, while soft and loose powder needs a larger basket to perform the same function.

Grips

Finally, the last consideration for selecting a ski pole is the grip. The advice that any expert will tell you is that when testing out grips, be sure to do so with your ski glove on. There is a big difference in the feel of the grip between someone wearing their gloves and someone who is not. Additionally, you have the choice of the traditional nylon strap, or a more technological strap which will automatically disengage if you crash.

Ski poles are an important piece of ski equipment. Using this guide will help you make the choice that is right for you, and always remember to select a pole that is strong and sturdy, as well as being a good fit.

How To Buy a Snow Helmet

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVbyZ04XU9g&w=745]

The best way to avoid serious injuries snowboarding is to wear a helmet. Helmets are a great piece of equipment to have, especially for freestyle riders or beginners. Some of the most common injuries in snowboarding are to the wrists and head. There can be some variations between helmets so it is important to know what you’re getting when buying a helmet.

The most important area to look at when buying a helmet is its certification. To be certified a helmet needs to meet at least one of three standards. CE 1077 is the European standard which is the most basic and easiest to get certified in. ASTM: F 2040 is the American standard and is almost as good as the Snell RS-98, which is the best and most rigid certification. To get these certifications, the design requirements are broken down to impact testing, penetration testing, chin strap, and head coverage.

Sizing a helmet can be quite tricky. Most will only come in small, medium or large. Sizing charts are available that are measured inches from around the forehead. But the best possible way to size a helmet would be to try it on. The better a helmet fits the more protection it will provide. It shouldn’t be squeezing your head, but it shouldn’t be flopping all over the place.

Another thing you will always want to check before making a purchase is how the helmet is going to fit with your goggles. There are different forms and makes between the brands so try on your goggles and helmet together in the store. You will want to check for a gap on your forehead between the top of the goggles and the brim of the helmet. If they aren’t fitting together nicely go with a different style because cold air will be getting into that gap making your time on the snow a little more uncomfortable.

Helmets will also vary in their ventilation. What kind of ventilation you want will depend on where you ride and what type of riding you do. Freestyle riders will usually want more venting because they will be riding more vigorously and working up more of a sweat. More ventilation will also be necessary for riding in warmer temperatures. Helmets designed for riding in cold climates will have passive venting instead of regular. This will allow the air to circulate underneath the plastic shell, but won’t let in cold air.

The ear pads are for insulation and warmth. Some will have fur on the inside for snowboarders that will be riding in colder temperatures. Other helmets will have head phones in the ear pads that will attach to an ipod or any other music accessory. The cord on these head phones will generally have a mute switch on them to quickly and easily turn the music off or on. There can also be volume control to adjust between riding and sitting on the chair lift.

How much the helmet weighs is also a factor to pay attention to. Wearing a heavy helmet is going to make you uncomfortable. Most of the people that don’t wear helmets chose not to because they say they are too heavy. Thus, to ensure the protection from a helmet, the helmet has to be light enough for you to feel comfortable.

Everybody has a different taste in style and luckily helmets are now being made in a wide variety of styles, colors and looks. It is up to the buyer to choose the most lovable one. Usually people like to match their helmet the rest of their outerwear, or they might choose one to fashion after a pro. Either way, as long as it protects your noggin while making you look good.

Wearing a helmet is beneficial in many ways. It will keep your head warmer than a beanie and with built in headphones you won’t have to be messing with ear buds the whole time. Not to mention wearing a helmet could save you from a concussion, a hospital trip, or even save your life.