It took you hours of painstaking research to select your chosen winter getaway destination.
You’ve been working out and getting in shape for the snowboarding thrill of a lifetime in the last few months.
Finally, it’s the start of the winter sports season, and you’re packing some serious gear.
After warding off the jetlag with a good night’s sleep at the resort, you’re ready to hit the slopes.
But barely halfway into your second descent, you’re all wet and cold. And now, you have to cut your riding short to dry off.
What could have gone wrong?
Then it hits you. It must be your winter sportswear.
Snowboarding is a fun sport. However, without the right winter apparel, it can get messy, fast. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of acquiring the latest snowboard release. However, for a great time on the slopes, it is vital to invest in the right kind of winter clothing.
To help you make an informed choice, we’ve created a handy guide. You’ll also learn:
Professional snowboarders all agree that learning up is essential when it comes to dressing up for the slopes. It is best to follow the three-layer steadfast rule to stay comfortable as you snowboard. These layers consist of clothing made of different materials and have specific functions.
The layers are:
Layering helps you adapt to the conditions around you. Depending on your exertion level or the weather, it allows for adding or removing layers.
Knowing your layers makes preparing for a winter trip to specific destinations easy. It also helps you know what to buy when shopping for a winter getaway.
The base layer is a fitting layer that you wear next to your skin and often consists of long underwear. It is your first line of defense against the freezing temperatures.
This layer keeps you dry by wicking away and evaporating perspiration during periods of intense physical activity. For this reason, it needs to be made of fast-drying material.
Since this layer touches your skin directly, it also needs to be comfortable. Choose a stretchy and snugly fitting material that will allow for maximum freedom of movement and reduction of bulk.
A quality base layer garment is one made from a natural fiber like wool. Wool’s technical advantages include wicking away sweat and providing warmth.
It also has great odor-resisting properties. If you plan to ski for several days in a row, it should be possible to wear the same garments without them stinking. Of course, you could pack multiple snow wear for changing, but quality snowboarding apparel can be costly, not to mention bulky.
The best kinds of winter wear are those made from Merino wool. However, if you find the cost of wool products prohibitive, you can opt for polyester or nylon thermals instead.
Avoid cotton base layers as the material traps moisture for longer periods. They can also be uncomfortably warm.
For your upper half, choose a top with a collar and a waistband for the legs for better protection. A top base layer garment with a quarter-way zip is preferable as when you heat up, you can open the zip to dump heat.
Look for long-sleeved tops with three-quarter-way leggings (socks will cover the rest of your leg and foot).
Great snowboarding socks keep your feet warm and dry.
A good pair of snowboarding socks are about knee-high or as tall as your boot. Socks that are shorter than your boot can create a crease or fold that can cause pain or discomfort. Shorter socks also cause your skin to rub against your boot, creating painful friction and skin abrasion.
Opt for wool, nylon, or polyester like your upper-body thermals. In addition, go for slim socks as loose, bulky ones can trap moisture leading to cold feet.
Lastly, do not wear two pairs of socks as they, too, will trap heat and moisture.
Mid-layer garments trap the heat that your body generates to keep you warm. The thinner the insulating layer, the more flexible it’ll be.
Your mid layer should fit snugly between your protective and thermal layers. In addition, ensure that your mid-layer garment has no hood and has a full zip. This makes it easy to put on and take off according to your comfort level, even when wearing headgear.
If the temperatures are warmer, you may skip this layer.
Knowing your body type is the most important thing to consider when choosing the type of material for your mid layer. On the one hand, if you tend to run cold, you should opt for thicker or more layered material. On the other hand, if you run hot, you should opt for a mid-weight fleece or wool jacket.
Due to its superb insulating abilities, fleece is the most recommended material for mid-layer garments. Remember, your mid-layer should not trap the heat, making you hot and uncomfortable.
The most common garments to wear for your mid layer include:
Various fashions for mid-layer garments exist. Generally, you should go for a short-sleeve merino top on top of a long-sleeve one.
The outer layer protects you from weather elements and keeps you warm as you shred powder.
Basically, it consists of the jacket and pants (bibs). They are made of material that is wind, sleet, and waterproof. The garments should also be able to shed snow easily.
The material should be a snug fit but also allow for more freedom of movement.
The jackets’ and pants’ exteriors are often made from multilayered nylon known as GORE-TEX. The shells are also made from tightly woven fabrics reinforced with a coating or laminate. These materials provide robust protection from snow, wind, and moisture.
When choosing your winter jacket or pants, make sure it’s appropriate for your chosen getaway location. For example, if you plan to shred powder in the Pacific Northwest, you should pack shells with a higher waterproof rating (at least 15k). This is because, in these winter locations, the moisture content of the snow tends to be higher. The reverse is true if you intend to snowboard in the Midwest or the East Coast, where the snow is drier.
Snowboard jackets are classified into:
The ideal jacket should have a looser, relaxed fit. It should also fit over your mid and base layers and allow ample freedom of movement. A winter jacket should also be longer than a regular snow jacket, allowing you to sit on the snow as you take a breather.
In addition, the jackets should have the following features:
A good pair of winter pants keeps you dry and protects you from the elements. They are made from durable, waterproof, and breathable materials.
Like jackets, there are waterproof and non-waterproof pants. Shell pants have no insulation, are more comfortable, and are suited for tackling steep jumps and lines. Insulated pants are waterproof, keep your legs warm when shredding powder, and are great for sitting in the snow.
When buying winter pants, you should consider the following factors:
It is hard to know the condition of the slopes, especially when you’re going off-piste. Sometimes, other thrill-seekers may crash into you by accident. For this reason, a helmet can prevent you from incurring a head injury as you snowboard.
When it comes to protecting your hands, you can either choose gloves or mittens.
Mittens tend to be warmer, while gloves allow for more dexterity. There are also three-finger mitten hybrids that keep the index finger separate from the other three.
Mittens are popular with snowboarders as they don’t need to carry ski poles.
A neck gaiter or warmer is a handy garment that keeps your neck warm as you snowboard. You can pull the gaiter over your mouth to protect your mouth from the sting of icy winds or kicked-up snow. A neck gaiter is especially useful as it protects your neck and mouth area from the harsh elements as you ride the chairlifts.
These are must-haves when snowboarding. They protect your eyes and face from the snow and improve your visibility. Ensure to choose snow goggles that are designed to fit over your helmet.
Good snowboard boots allow for an easy and unrestricted movement of toes, ensuring proper blood circulation. They should also fit you snugly and minimize friction which could lead to painful blisters and abrasions. In addition, you should consider the following factors when choosing snowboarding boots:
More often than not, you’ll encounter snowy days as you hit the slopes. A balaclava or a facemask is handy to protect your face from the snow. Merino wool balaclavas are great as they don’t collect moisture and freeze on your face.
A backpack comes in handy when you need to carry items such as snacks, a water bottle, extra clothing, sunscreen, or an action camera. Go for a backpack that attaches firmly across your body and can also be clinched down to prevent the contents from moving around.
Whether you’re a newbie or an expert snowboarder, you must be ready for whatever the mountain throws your way. And dressing right for maximum comfort on the slopes is key to having a great snowboarding experience.
As you wax and sharpen your snowboards, remember to pack the right type of clothing to match your winter destination.
Got the right gear but have not yet homed in on a winter holiday destination? Brealpa has all the information you need to pick your next winter thrill. We'll give you first-hand information on: