I’m lucky enough to have been snowboarding quite a few times, despite living in Perth, where the nearest snow fields are over 3000km away. My husband’s favourite thing in the world to do is snowboard. So, in the same way that he has spent a lot more time on holidays shopping and trying out healthy cafes then he would have ever imagined, I have spent a lot more time strapped into snowboard boots than I had ever envisioned for myself!
The things I enjoy most about snowboarding are being immersed in pristine wilderness, the tough workout (the better I have become at snowboarding, the tougher a workout it is because I don’t spend as much time falling over!) and the satisfaction of mastering new skills. So far, I’ve snowboarded in Australia, New Zealand, France, Switzerland, USA and Canada. Here are some tips for beginners that I’ve gathered over the years which will help make a day out on the slopes a really enjoyable experience:
- Pack tissues in your jacket pocket. Due to the cold and the physical exertion, you’re probably going to have a runny nose all day! To save you feeling like a gross snotty mess all day long, I highly recommend every morning you put plenty of fresh tissues in your jacket pocket.
- Invest in good quality ski goggles. The first time I went snowboarding I had cheap home-brand goggles from Anaconda. They cost about $30. They were terrible. The entire time they were fogged up. It’s not fun to not be able to see where you’re going, or to be constantly falling over because you’re not seeing the bumps. If there is one piece of equipment you will really appreciate paying a little extra for, it’s ski goggles. I now have a pair of Ripcurl ones which cost just over $100 and they are fantastic. If you hire goggles, they’ll generally be super scratched, so I’d recommend you buy or borrow a pair worth at least $80 (you get what you pay for).
- Bring a snack. It will keep your energy levels up and save you having to unstrap to go into a mountain restaurant which you’ll most probably have to do once a day already for lunch. Ski jackets and pants have a zillion pockets so you will definitely be able to find a space for a protein bar or some homemade protein balls in a zip lock bag. If possible, put it in an inside pocket so it doesn’t go rock hard from the cold.
- Bring epsom salts for a recovery bath. You will get incredibly sore muscles from the impact of falling over lots (if you’re learning) and DOMS from the intense workout (if you’re intermediate to advanced). Bring 1/2 cup of epsom salts with you and soak in a hot bath with them to reduce your muscle soreness and assist with recovery.
- Train for snowboarding for a few weeks before you go. Just like you would train before doing a fun run I think it’s very beneficial to train for a snowboard trip. You are less likely to get injured, and you’ll find it easier and more fun because you’ll be fitter and stronger so, hopefully, you won’t end up quite as sore. I have a snowboard specific workout here which I like to do twice a week in the weeks leading up to a trip.
- Wear suncream. If it is a sunny day, you will get scorched. The snow reflects the suns rays and has burnt me badly a few times. Bring a tiny travel size suncream and a SPF 30 lip balm in your pocket and don’t forget to top up every 2 hours.
- Wear a bladder. Very few ski resorts have drink fountains on the mountain so I recommend you wear a hands-free hydration system like a CamelBak so you can remain hydrated. As soon as you get even a little dehydrated, your energy and performance levels drop.
- Switch your scarf for a neck warmer. A scarf is annoying to wear snowboarding. It is so long and bulky which you have to try stow under your jacket. All you really need is the part which goes around your neck, not the other metre of material. Ideally, get a neck warmer which is adjustable so it will stay up around your face. This will keep your face warm when you are freezing up in the chair lift. Also, it’ll help prevent sunburn.
- Tuck your thermal top into your thermal bottoms. Otherwise you will at some point get snow down your pants. Ideally, buy your thermal top a size bigger so it’s nice and long and you don’t get that gap at your lower back when sitting in the snow.
- Wear layers. This is a great way to stay warm. I usually wear a long sleeved thermal top, a fleece jumper, my ski jacket, thermal pants and my ski pants.
- If you get cold hands easily, wear mittens instead of gloves. Mittens are much warmer than gloves because your fingers are all together, keeping each other warm. Mittens are also heaps quicker to take on and off, which is great considering how often you’ll need to take them off to take photos, go to the toilet, and eat etc.
- Schedule in a rest day. Especially if you’re not a regular snowboarder, you will most enjoy your time on the slopes if you have a rest day for every 2-3 days spent snowboarding.
I hope these little tips help you to have a wonderful time on your next snowboarding adventure!