The most important thing to consider when heading out on the slopes this season, second to safety, is whether your kit matches your riding style. If you’re going out on a backcountry tour, for instance, the last thing you want is an oversized puffy jacket better suited for the terrain park. Likewise, if you’re lapping the resort, you’d want more protection than a touring-focused, featherweight shell could provide.
To weed out the fluff, we tested and researched the best gear for riding at the resort, heading out into the backcountry and taking on the terrain park. All of it is hitting the shelves of snowboard shops and online retailers now.
The Resort Rider
Performance is key at the resort, but looking good should be just as high a priority. Holden’s 2017 outwear doesn’t sacrifice performance to put style at a premium level. The 3L M-51 jacket has a 20k waterproof rating to keep you dry no matter what Mother Nature decides to throw at you, and the Fader bib pants match in both performance and style. On the safety side, Giro’s Range looks slick and has a MIPS liner to reduce the risk of head injury. The best pair of goggles to top it all off is Electric’s uber-light Electrolite.
The Backcountry Tourer
Versatility is key in the backcountry, but it also pays to be lightweight. Trudging up the skin-track with unnecessarily heavy gear is no one’s idea of a good time. Under Armour’s Treeburn GTX jacket is ultra light, but still provides enough protection, warmth and safety features (like Recco) to keep you comfortable in the backcountry. Paired with UA’s Chugach bib pants designed by John Jackson, the combo leaves little to be desired. The pants are lightweight, have plenty of venting to keep you cool on the ascent and are durable enough to resist tearing on tree limbs or rocks.
Keeping your hands at a comfortable temperature when splitboarding can be an issue, but Black Diamond’s Guide Finger gloves come with an insulated liner that detaches from the shell to help shed heat when you’re going uphill. They also feature a trigger finger mitten design for the warmth of a mitten with some of the dexterity of a glove.
Treeburn GTX Jacket by Under Armour Available Soon
Chugach GTX Bibs by Under Armour $400
Cold Gear Reactor Jacket by Under Armour $225
Guide Finger Gloves by Black Diamond $170
Pivot MIPS Helmet by Smith $170
I/O by Smith $180
The Park Rat
For those more interested in jumps and handrails than groomers and hiking, style is the most important facet of a kit. 686’s Parklan collection will make you look like a pro in the lift line and leave chads wondering who you’re sponsored by. As far as helmets go, there are none more stylish than Sandbox’s Classic 2.0. It’s endorsed by pros like Scotty Vine and will still keep your head safe when learning new tricks. To make sure you can spot your landing in any condition, Spy partnered with Protect Our Winters for a limited-edition pair of Ace goggles that benefits efforts to stop global warming.