How To Buy Goggles

Goggles are a necessity on the slopes that will keep you from tearing up from the wind at higher speeds and protect you against any kind of tree branches or other elements. There are a lot of options out there and there are some important features to be aware of when looking to make a purchase.

Most snow sport goggles are going to be a dual lens goggle which is designed to keep the goggles from fogging up. It is able to do this by the space in between the two lenses that is called “dead air space.” This keeps the warmth from your face and the cold outside air separate, preventing fog. Different companies will have different venting options on the top of the goggle. This is what neutralizes the dead air space in between the lenses by allowing the heat to escape vertically through a mesh vent.

The foam padding on goggles that sits on your face is going to differ by quality and brand. Some will have a single layer while others will have double or even triple layers. The triple layer goggles are the high-end product and will typically cost around $80 and up. The more foam you get, the more comfortable they will be, and they have more ability to adhere to different faces.

Most of the straps on goggles will be one continuous strap that is easily adjusted. Others will have a clip in the back, which makes it easy to take on and off. The clip works really well with helmets or for anyone who takes their goggles on and off a lot.

One thing to consider with wearing helmets is an outrigger system on goggles. The outrigger system is designed to hold the strap out further to meet up with the increased thickness that the helmet gives your head. Other brands will have a hinge system, and this does the same thing. A hard-mounted strap on goggles usually doesn’t work with helmets as well.

Lenses are the biggest variable in buying goggles. The most universal lens is an amber lens. Amber is right in the middle of the road for lenses. It works well in overcast conditions, bright days and cloudy days. That’s why you see this color or a company’s version of it being included with most of their goggles. Other lenses are mirrored, which are used on bright days, and can come with different tints for different conditions and will create more definition in terrain. Yellow, rose or blue tints will show contrasts in the snow really well on gray overcast days. For night riding a yellow or clear lens will work that best. A very mild mirror tint along with the yellow or clear lens at night will take away the glare from the light towers.

Awesome snow goggles will not only protect your eyes from sun rays, wind, snow or any other elements, but will also provide the best and longest lasting visibility and comfort for you as you hit the mountain. The best thing to do is try them on, look at the fit, and see how it works for you. There are a ton of different options out there. Picking the right goggles will enhance your performance and allow you to have more fun on the snow.

How To Buy a Snowboard Jacket

3 in 1 Jackets

A liner jacket will come from the manufacturer with either a separate lining jacket or a vest. The components of the liner will vary depending on the brand name or make of the jacket. Some will have a fleece liner, some will be a track-style jacket and some will even have insulation in the compartments for warmth. Some liner jackets will have a zipper that attaches the liner to the shell.

Being able to remove the inner liner is a really nice option because it allows the jacket to become an all season coat. In warmer weather, like either in late fall or early spring, wearing just the shell will keep you warm enough but won’t cause you to overheat. On the colder days adding the liner will boost the insulation value of the jacket. This can be done with other jackets too simply by adding a sweatshirt or some kind of insulation underneath, but would require a secondary purchase.

Soft Shell Jacket

A soft shell jacket is basically a super sweatshirt. The surface of these sweat shirts are water proof, and on some it is even water resistant. Though soft shell jackets are quite thin they are incredibly warm. Because of their thickness-to-warmth ratio soft shell jackets make really good insulators underneath a shell jacket.

A soft shell jacket is not going to have the crinkle that a nylon shell would. They are a lot more flexible, supple and lighter weight. Soft shell jackets are ideal for riders that are in warmer regions and aren’t going to have as much precipitation in the spring. Some soft shell jackets will even come with their own built in gloves.

Jacket Features

Every brand name is going to have their own bells and whistles on their jackets, but there are some features that are pretty universal. One of the most common features are pit zips. Pit zips will allow heat to escape from the arm pits, which is the hottest area of the body. Riding sideways on a snowboard allows for cross-flow ventilation through the vents. Pit zips make for easy climate control by simply opening or closing them as needed. Some jackets will have ventilation through the chest and in the back, which will also allow for cross-flow venting.

Almost all jackets are going to have a powder skirt. A powder skirt is separate waistband that buttons in the front to keep powder, snow and other elements from coming up into the jacket from below. The secondary seal for your waist is the hem. The hem will sometimes have draw cords that you can pull to cinch the hem tight around your waist. The cords are usually at the bottom of the jacket by the zippers or they will be inside the pockets.

Some jackets will have audio and goggle pockets. They are usually located in the chest area either on the inside or will be a zipper pocket just behind the main zipper of the jacket. Over the years the pockets have become more technical. Jackets are now made with specific pockets for iPods with headphone wiring going up to the top. There can also be a pocket for an extra pair of goggles or lenses for when the light changes. In some newer and more expensive jackets there will be built in audio systems. These will have a control panel on the sleeve and some might even have headphones built in to the hood.

Like it was mentioned before come jackets have insulation in the compartments for warmth. This means that fleece will line different targeted areas throughout the jacket. Fleece will be placed at the mouth area around the zipper to reduce abrasion. It can also be placed in the front hand-warmer pockets so your hands will stay better protected from the wind. Fleece can also be placed in different areas in the liner of the coat for warmth like the lumbar area or chest.

Textiles

In recent years the fashion of jackets has moved away from the traditional nylon shell to something that will have a more street wear look. Some jackets will have a look like a laminated jean or something with different textures like twill, Oxfords and some other kinds of materials. They may look like they are not waterproof but in most cases these jackets have a waterproof membrane behind them and this will also allow for breathablity.

Overview

To get the most waterproof and breathability in a jacket the traditional laminated nylon shell is going to be the best. Gore-tex pieces are advancing and are getting really close to the quality of a traditional shell and will have a little extra style.

Shop men’s and women’s snowboard jackets at The House.

How To Buy Mittens & Gloves

It will be important to have a good pair of gloves while riding. Your hands will have a high chance of getting wet from strapping in and standing up or sitting down so it is important to have a pair of gloves that will be water proof. Your gloves will also need to be really durable for using tow ropes or if your going to be grabbing your boards sharp steel edges. There are a few general categories of gloves so it is important to know what conditions and temperatures you will be riding in to get the right ones.

Pipe Gloves

Pipe gloves are a very thin glove and are usually for freestyle riders. These gloves work better for freestyle riders because they are going to be in the terrain park a lot moving around and generating a lot of their own heat. But they are also good a types of riders for spring riding conditions. Because they are so thin they have really good dexterity. Most will have silicone on the palm to provide good grip with the board. It is a good light weight and flexible option for protecting your hands.

Basic Glove

The basic glove is going to be much more insulated. The outer “shell” fabric, usually Gortex, is going to be waterproof and breathable. On the inside there will be poly-fill insulation. The poly-fill is going to be what keeps the warmth up in the glove. This structure of the glove will still allow for the glove to be dexterous and they will still have good palm grip and durability.

Mittens

Mittens are going to be the best option for colder temperatures. Keeping the figures together helps to keep in warmth by preventing the wind from moving through the fingers individually and taking away a lot of heat. This type of glove will be particularity nice for anyone with circulation problems or for women who generally have a harder time keeping warm. The outer shell of mittens is also going to be Gortex to make it waterproof and breathable and grip on the palms. Most mittens will have a vent for hand warmer packs for the really cold days.

Convertible Systems

A convertible system is either a glove or mitten that has a liner glove inside. The liner is removable and will work great by itself on warmer days. Some liners will have a silicone grip like the pipe gloves. They are very dexterous so they work great for on the chair lift when needing more ample use of your fingers without exposing your hands to the cold air. On the really cold days the liner gloves are extra insulation to the shell glove or mitten. The convertible gloves or mittens will be able to keep your hands comfortable throughout a wider range of conditions.

Other Features

Some other features of the glove or mittens will vary between brands and models. Some will have a jacket gauntlet. It can be used over or under a jacket sleeve, but it is designed to be big enough to go over the sleeve. Then with one pull on the cord running through the gauntlet it will cinch tight around the sleeve to prevent any snow from getting in. Some will have a thinner gauntlet to fit under the cuff of the jacket sleeve.

It is important to know that generally with a mitten or glove you get what you pay for. So comparing prices  with other gloves will usually tell you which is a higher quality.

How To Buy a Wakeboard

When purchasing a wakeboard there are four important things to focus on: how to size it, the construction, the shape and fins.

Sizing- The general rule of thumb is to correspond the size of your board to your body size. For example, if you are a small person you should get a small board, and so on. Sizing charts are available that will point out the correct length of the board in centimeters in correspondence with your weight. But the general guidelines to figuring out the size of wakeboard you need are:

Around 100 lbs: about 130 cm

Around 150 lbs: about 135 cm

Around 200 lbs: about 140 cm

Sometimes families or groups will want a board that they can all share. A board for this purpose should be sized for the average of everyone that will be using it. This can work, but if there are a couple of people who are far apart in size, such as a small child and a large man, you will probably need to get two different boards. Usually a 135-140 cm will fit most families.

Construction- When a wakeboard is made, a piece of high density foam is used to form its shape. Then layers of fiberglass are added to the outside, which makes the board rigid but allows for flex in the board. On basic boards, you will have more flex. When a board has more flex it will allow for more give on the water, which makes it easier to ride. A stiffer board gives you more pop off the wake, and these are usually higher level pro model boards for more advanced riders.

Slingshot and Company Wakeboards are two brand names that are exclusively making flex boards. These are more crossover type boards, which we are seeing more in the market now.  They are designed so that the center of the board is very rigid, but the tip and tail are thin and flexible to allow for more rebound off the wave to help you spring up.  Also, flex boards are made to help soften the landing. With that flexible tip and tail, when you land, the board will flex out and give you a softer landing. There are other companies that make flex boards as well, but these two brands are specifically making only flex boards.

Shape- When looking at the shape remember that the more round it is, the smoother it will ride through the water, and it will turn more easily from edge to edge. The more square and wide a board is, the more time it will take to get from edge to edge. But with a square board, the water all releases at once, which will give you a snappier feel when releasing from the wake. In coordination with how round the board is, the tip and tail will also change.

When deciding on the structure of a board there are two types of rocker to consider. Rocker is the shape of the board through the bottom. First, is the continuous rocker, which means from tip to tail the board has one smooth curve, just like a rocking chair. The advantage to this type of rocker is when you are coming in to and off of the wake you will get a nice, smooth even flow. This is good for beginners because you will get the same pop every time. It’s also good for riders who prefer a more smooth transition. It’s not the fastest approach but it’s smoother, more consistent and easier.

The second type of rocker is the three stage rocker, which is found mostly on higher end pro boards. This board has upturned ends and is flat in the center. The flat spot in the center creates less drag on the board, and it will cut more like a knife in the water. This will make you accelerate faster towards the wave, give you more kick coming off of the wave, and it will push you up off the wave higher.

There are a lot of things being done to blend these two types of rocker together. There is now a blended rocker, also called an abrupt continuous rocker, or a subtle three stage. These take aspects from both types of rocker, so that you can accelerate a little faster and have an extra kick, but still have that consistency.

Fins- The fin set up will determine how aggressive the board is going to be. Old boards had one 2 inch fin that would come out of the water. Newer boards have smaller fins on the outside edges that do a couple of things. It leaves the fin in the water when you cut, so you can accelerate quicker and hold your edge better. Also, when you flatten out to spin you won’t have a 2 inch fin hanging out the bottom and it will be easier to come around. Some boards have three fins, which will help you bite a little more into the wake.

Different types of fins include a real fin, which cuts and holds better than a molded fin. There are also different lengths of fins. On higher end boards, you will see a shorter fin base. The further down a fin comes, the better it will hold you and the more stable you will be.  As technology gets better, companies are doing things such as putting a spine down the center of the board which makes the water disperse when you land, making for a softer landing.

To review, when buying a wakeboard there are three things you will want to pay attention to. First, the size of the board. Remember to correlate your body size to the size of the board that you choose. Second is rocker, which relates to how you want the board to come into the wave, and how you want it to pop. Lastly, the fins and remember the more fins you have, the more aggressive the board will be.

Have fun on the water!

How To Buy Ski Goggles

Ski Goggles are meant to protect your eyes and keep your vision clear when you’re out on the mountain.  When deciding which goggles to buy you should be sure that they will do that comfortably, but also consider how they fit on your face and with your helmet.  Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Make sure the goggles are fog resistant.  Look for goggles that have 2 lenses, have air vents or come treated with an anti-fog compound.  Perhaps even consider purchasing your own anti-fog compound for your goggles.
  2. Make sure your goggles fit.  Goggles come in all sizes.  Make sure your goggles fit your head snugly and comfortably.  Also, make sure the profile of your goggles will fit under your helmet.
  3. Make sure the goggles are soft and comfortable.  Your goggles should rest comfortably around your face with ample padding.  They should also be made of a soft plastic so they can’t unnecessarily hurt you if you fall on your face.
  4. Make sure the goggles have a wide field of view.  Your goggles should offer you plenty of peripheral vision.  You need to be able to see a wide range of things around you without constantly looking away from where you’re skiing.
  5. Make sure the goggles don’t interfere with your glasses.  If you wear glasses make sure to get goggles large enough to comfortably accommodate them.  Some goggles are specifically designed for this purpose.
  6. Make sure you get a lens tint that you like.  Lighter tints like yellows and oranges are great for low light conditions like dusk and night skiing.  Darker tints are better for brighter day conditions.  Polarized lenses will reduce glare and are a great option in any tint.

There are many good pairs of ski goggles on the market.  Look at your options and remember that being comfortable and keeping your vision clear are what your goggles need to do.