Tips on ski gloves, snowboard gloves, hats, ski bags, roof boxes, ski socks, wrist guards
Taking safety seriously is vital to riders who venture off the beaten track, fly high in the park, grind hard on rails or even just rip about the hill. Helmets are now commonly seen, lightweight, funky-looking and even incorporating MP3 ear-pads in some models. Body protection from the likes of Dainese, Burton & Protect feels bullet-proof, but is light & functional. Wristguards are essentials for all snowboarders.
Hats (Natives Caps & Beanies)
First let's get one thing straight: Comedy Hats aren't funny. Never wear one, ever. Not in an ironic way, not on Mardi Gras, never. Don't even leave it at home. Skiing is a dangerous sport. You might die. Someone might find it.
Every season worker needs a hat of some sort though. It's a commonly known fact that 90% of heat loss is through the head. A beanie in the back pocket doesn't get stolen or cigarette burns like a coat can in a busy bar, but makes all the difference on a cold trudge home. Never mind what it can do while you ski.
The glove v. mitten debate goes on. Mittens can be warmer and harder wearing, but make it harder to grip a pole. Whichever way you go, don't skimp on the price - for cheap, read wet and cold. Try to get long, easily tightened gauntlets, for when you're trailing your hands in the deep powder. Mitts with the ninja-turtle style, single separated finger are ideal for clothing adjustments and pointing at comedy hats.
If you suffer from bad circulation these can be a real day-saver in the early months. Bear in mind also that cold hands and feet are often a symptom of your body preserving heat for your vital organs. eg a thermal vest or a fleece gilet might make your extremities a lot warmer. And no one can generate enough heat unless they've had enough to eat - saucisses frites is the best hand warmer in town.
Good socks do make a difference, there's no question. They are also hideously expensive and there is blessedly little going on in the second hand market. Two thin socks does not compensate for a thick one - it just gives twice as much to scrunch up and hurt. The ideal is one, thin, specifically designed ski or board sock. Tubes with a picture of a snowman on the side do not count as specifically designed - although you can buy four times as many pairs, which your room-mates may appreciate.
There are two schools of thought on wrist-guards. Some say that they simply transmit the shock wave higher up your arm and as such provide little real benefit. Really it's up to the individual, but broken wrists are by far the commonest serious injury among novice snowboarders and bear in mind the bones further up your arms are considerably thicker and stronger.
If you don't want to be left with skin as ruined and wrinkled as Keith Richard's nether regions high factor sun cream is essential. A good after sun lotion or moisturiser is also a good idea and isn't construed as part of a sex change application form.
Marshall Mathers can do it. So can cowboys, car mechanics, and Crypts. It's fine to keep one in a backpack or pocket for the times when you are caught without your hat. Just don't be caught without your hat.
Bumbags are totally unacceptable. Not only do Americans wear them, but they call them 'Fanny Packs'.
Your uber-cool shades will definitely not look as good with a glasses cord dangling from them. On the other hand they will also not look great lost forever or boarded over by your mate.
Snow Blade is actually a Salomon trademark - Fruit Boot is the generic term. Since you're old enough to be looking at a site without parental control options, you're too old for snow blades. Exceptionally talented individuals may use them in the half-pipe - but please be discreet getting to and from it.
If you are in a resort where you regularly have to show your pass the see-through arm holders save you undoing layers and are therefore great. Especially on cold days, which is traditionally when lifties check most vigorously.
Ski Bags/Board Bags
Fantastic for cramming full of all of your kit, not just the hardware, so you can keep to the baggage allowance of your company or carrier. Most also make a passable dirty clothes bag - though you will find things don't just appear clean and ironed in your drawers, like out of the magic Ali-Baba basket at home.
Think about where you're headed - if it's a resort where you drive to the slopes, or often go on road trips then easy ski loading is a fantastic advantage, as is the ability to cut down costs by taking more people. They're not cheap but will last for years and years.