Snowboards can be ridden on most slopes in any snow conditions. However, resorts are still monitoring the sport and, although accepted, restrictions may be placed upon snowboarders if resort rules are not observed. Almost all alpine resorts in Australia allow snowboarding, although some have restrictions, so check with the resort authorities before buying a lift ticket.
The snowboard riders associations strongly recommend that any person trying snowboarding for the first time should do so under the supervision of an experienced snowboard instructor. Not only will this speed up your learning of the sport, but it will give you a good idea of which areas are suited to your skill level.
Icy conditions are particularly hazardous for snowboarders. Novice snowboarders should avoid boarding in icy conditions.
Clothing can be divided into two types: insulating layers and the outer layer.
1. Insulating Layers
In cold weather these are the most important layers. Several thin layers that trap air and are made of material that will stay warm, even when wet, are better than a couple of thick bulky layers. The number of insulating layers you wear depends on the weather and the activity you are participating in.
Wearing thermal underwear will also help insulate against the cold. Wool is a good natural fibre and manufactured fibres such as polypropylene and fibre pile are also effective. Cotton undergarments perform poorly in cold and wet conditions.
2. Outer Layer
Staying dry and reducing the effects of wind chill are important, therefore your jacket and overpants should be waterproof and windproof. The outer layer also helps to insulate by trapping warm air next to the body. If you don’t have your own windproof and waterproof outer clothing you can hire them from most ski hire outlets.
It is important to wear a warm hat as significant body heat is lost from the head. Woollen or synthetic socks and gloves or mittens should also be worn. On wet days, large rubber dishwashing gloves worn over the top of your gloves help to keep hands warm and dry.
Never wear jeans or cotton/vinyl gloves as these do not give adequate protection against wind, rain or snow.
Whilst clothing requirements for snowboarding are basically the same for alpine skiing, special boots and gloves are worn. Wrist guards are essential. Helmets should be worn by children, novices and experienced riders. Retention devices are essential.
Snowboards can be hired both on and off the mountain and are fitted with either plate or high back bindings. Your snowboard should be fitted to your boots by a professional.
A wide range of boots can be used when riding a snowboard. The type of boot will depend on the style of bindings fitted to the board. With high back bindings, any warm waterproof boots with a moderate degree of firmness can be used. Boards with plate bindings require specially designed boots. Boots should always be professionally fitted.
Helmets may make a difference in reducing or preventing head injuries. Snow sports helmets are insulated for cold weather and provide better coverage and impact protection than other sports helmets, such as bicycle helmets. Be sure that the helmet you choose meets current recognised snow sport helmet design standards.
GLOVES AND WRIST GUARDS
When snowboarding, the hands often come in contact with the snow, therefore your gloves should be waterproof and of a sturdy construction. To reduce the risk of wrist injuries, it is strongly recommended that snowboarders wear wrist guards. This is particularly important for children and novices.
Retention devices should be used at all times, even when the snowboard is not being used. When the snowboard is not in use, lay it down on its side and ensure that the leg strap is attached to a pole so that the board cannot run away if knocked or caught by the wind.
Before buying clothing, seek expert advice and remember that showerproof is not waterproof.
Do not try to ride on a slope that is beyond your ability as you will endanger yourself and other snow area users. Observe the Alpine Responsibility Code at all times for your own safety and the safety of others.