So, I was recently talking to a good friend, Dan DiGangi, about a snowboarding trip he’ll be taking out to Vail, Colorado next week. Throughout our conversation, I realized that, while most people think that snowboarding is as simple as just driving to the mountain and going, when planning a lengthy trip, there’s a lot of serious preparation involved.
This is exactly why we decided to put together a checklist for you guys to use when planning your next Snowboarding trip. From packing tips to run preparations, we hope you’ll find these tips useful this winter.
1. Always Pack Early
Don’t wait until the last minute, especially if you’re flying to your destination. Chances are you’ll forget something, and depending on what that something is (let’s hope it’s not your snowboard!) it could cost you anywhere from $5-$100 to replace or cause major inconveniences. Dan always packs goggles for his trips, in preparation of long runs or possible icy conditions. You can imagine the inconvenience of forgetting something like goggles and having to buy a new pair at the mountain for a seriously hiked up price, or worse, going without them and having snow sprayed in your eyes all weekend long. By packing early, you’ll give yourself enough time to remember these smaller items and have a better chance of not leaving any essentials behind.
2. Wax Your Boards
Generally, new boards will come pre-waxed from the factory but 9 times out of 10, this is a superficial benefit and you’ll need to invest in waxing the board by hand yourself. There are countless benefits to waxing your snowboard including improved performance and better control going down the mountain. Even better, a good wax-job will help protect your board from damage when conditions are icy or you ride over something other than powder (watch out kids!).
3. Plan out your Runs
When you’re prepping for a trip, are your dates set in stone? If not, shop around beforehand and take a look at lift ticket pricing by week. A lot of times, lift ticket prices could increase dramatically around holiday weekends and by keeping your options open ahead of time, you could save $50-$100 by postponing your trip by one week. Also, take a look at what runs will be open during the dates you plan to go to the mountains. If you’re stoked to check out the new double black diamond park and happen to go during the time they’re rebuilding the halfpipe, chances are, you won’t be happy. Have a plan on which runs you want to hit ahead of time and check availability to avoid disappointment.
4. Bring Extra Clothes/Gear
If you haven’t been snowboarding before, here’s a tip: Your clothing is going to get wet! Don’t plan on re-wearing your thermal gear when you’re not on the mountain because it’s going to be drying out over the fire and you’ll be down to your skivvies wishing you’d brought some extra pants. Bring enough clothes for the slopes, but also for relaxing and times when you won’t be boarding. Specifically, bring extra socks. Your socks will get soaked, and smell rank after a day on the mountain. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather put on a fresh pair than re-use the sweaty ones.
5. Pack Smart
Even if you’re an expert, remember that you are immersing yourself in nature. Nature, at times, can be relentless and unforgiving, so you don’t want to go down in the backcountry with a broken leg and no way to get out. Pack Walkie Talkies to have a way to communicate with others if the worst does happen. Pack run maps so you can give accurate coordinates if someone does have to come get you, and pack basic survival gear like a pocket knife, lighter, and camelbak water pack to ensure that you can survive if something goes seriously wrong.
On a lighter note (literally) pack light. Use the extra space in your board bag to store clothing, goggles, and other gear so you only need your snowboard bag and a backpack and don’t need to pull around heavy luggage. It will also be easier to keep track of everything when you’re packing up to go home after your awesome trip.
And there you have it. 5 tips to make your snowboard trip this year awesome(er). After your success, it's time to come home and hang up your boards on the snowboard rack, grab some hot chocolate,then begin planning the trip for next year.