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Snowboard gear recommendations

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I am looking for a snowboard for a begginer/intermediate for under $1500 (board, bindings, boots) He is 5' 5", 120lbs, 13yrs, male. He tries most terrain including parks at eastern mountains, so good ice control is a must. He has only used rentals, so he does not know where to start.

Thanks for your advice
post #2 of 19
jamesgig,

$1500 or $150? You'd be hard pressed to spend the whole $1500 for top of the line stuff at full retail. Just walk into any snowboard shop, tell them your budget and they'll take real good care of you. For $150, you'd be hard pressed to find anything used that's usable. If you're looking for places to shop online I have a page on my web site listing a whole bunch of snowsports web stores. Most of the "ski" stores also sell boards. The snowboard only shops are listed at the bottom of the page. There are a couple of links to sites that publish reviews of boards.

If he spends more time in the park, get him a "freestyle" board, otherwise get him a "freeride" board.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
As I am not into snowboarding, I am unaware of prices and $1,500 was the figure he gave me. So, what would be the best freeride/freestyle board. Is there a specific brand that is better or is it a style? Burton seems to be a name I hear tossed around alot, are they good or just hype? I do not know what flexes I should be looking for or much about snowboarding at all. (except when I tried it, I got really wet and cold due to the "wonderful" instruction I got from a friend.) So any advice would be great. Thanks
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesgig
As I am not into snowboarding, I am unaware of prices and $1,500 was the figure he gave me. So, what would be the best freeride/freestyle board. Is there a specific brand that is better or is it a style? Burton seems to be a name I hear tossed around alot, are they good or just hype? I do not know what flexes I should be looking for or much about snowboarding at all. (except when I tried it, I got really wet and cold due to the "wonderful" instruction I got from a friend.) So any advice would be great. Thanks
Burton makes great stuff. For boots, the "right" boot is one that fits your foot, including holding your heel down, which may or may not be Burton depending on foot shape. Your friend should get thin "liner" socks if he doesn't have them yet, which will be the only socks he wears while riding, and try on lots of boots to get a good fit. THink firm handshake - not crushed, but not loose either. The softest flex boots should be avoided -- a good rule of thumb is to get a middle of the road boot at first, say a Burton Hail or something similar.

Your friend should then buy bindings at the same time & make sure they're the right size for the boots, & get the shop to help him adjust the straps for a good snug fit, & SHOW him how to step into the binding to get the heel snugly in the highback.

For boards, there is no one "best" board. Burton makes a board called a Custom which is a great all-around shape, but the Air is very similar, your friend will be just as happy on it for a first board, and it's $100 or more cheaper. Some people confuse priciest for best, the Burton Vapor is roughly 3 times the price of the Air, for instance, but would be a dumb choice for your friend.

Your friend should also ask the shop about tuning, "detuning," and wax. The shop can detune tip and tail of the board for him, but he should ask to watch them do it, this is important to have fewer hard falls and make it easier to go edge to edge. Burton boards aactually carry tuning instructions on the top. www.tognar.com is a good tune website, too.

I don't know this year's prices, but I'd say your friend should get out for $900 or less for board, boots, bindings. Buying last season's gear on closeout should allow for even less. SOme snowboard shops are great, some will try to take advantage of an unknowledgeable consumer; if he feels he's getting inattentive service or being pushed or switched into pricey gear, there will always be other snowboard shops within a 45 min drive or less in most places.

Your friend should then budget some extra $$ for lessons, preferably a season-long development program. Great way to meet new friends and well worth it.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
When looking at bindings is there a difference between ones that hav a strap tht goes around your toes or just on your foot? The TRS and Magne-Traction boards from Lib Tech were recomended to me....any thoughts?

Thanks for the help
post #6 of 19
A lib tech Magne Traction board seems a bit much as far as a beginner board goes. 5'5" and 120lbs. I would be looking for something in the 140cm zone. Probably 145, but I am a little out of it when it comes to length and beginners these days. A mid to soft flex. The board is the one area where you could go cheap and not worry about it. If he really improves then drop the $$$ on a nicer board. Make sure you get nice good fitting boots. Most important. Second, get good bindings. The bindings with the toe cap straps are more responsive and comfortable imo. I use the Tech 9 Marc Frank Montoya bindings with the toe cap strap. I am a fan of that feature. Burton and other companies make similar bindings. So whatever floats your boat there. Stay way from step ins.
post #7 of 19
$1500 on equipment for a beginner...hahahahaha.
post #8 of 19
Yeah, really funny.

3 Rules to follow and your set. Spend at least 2/3 on what you're spending for the boards on boots. As for skiing boots will be the most important.
2. Buy the boots as small as possible. spending 400-500 bucks for boots is not problem go to see a good bootfitter, look for a nice outerboot, throw away the rubbish inner boot (no inner boot sold is good quality) with exactly 2 fingers flat of room behind the heel when lightly touching at the front and get them to foam you some nice innerboots. You'll save at least 1cm of bootlenght which is very important, have much more response......
3. Just buy any sturdy 3 strap binding in which your boot fits in snug - meaning not much room sideways at front and heel. and as he is moreover a beginner get him any freeride/freestyle snowboard in the middle price section. Size should be 15-20cm smaller than his size, however anything under 150cm is only useful for children.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremecarver
Yeah, really funny.

3 Rules to follow and your set. Spend at least 2/3 on what you're spending for the boards on boots. As for skiing boots will be the most important.
2. Buy the boots as small as possible. spending 400-500 bucks for boots is not problem go to see a good bootfitter, look for a nice outerboot, throw away the rubbish inner boot (no inner boot sold is good quality) with exactly 2 fingers flat of room behind the heel when lightly touching at the front and get them to foam you some nice innerboots. You'll save at least 1cm of bootlenght which is very important, have much more response......
3. Just buy any sturdy 3 strap binding in which your boot fits in snug - meaning not much room sideways at front and heel. and as he is moreover a beginner get him any freeride/freestyle snowboard in the middle price section. Size should be 15-20cm smaller than his size, however anything under 150cm is only useful for children.
Regarding point 2, ExtremeCarver may be talking about alpine boots, "hardboots" with a plastic shell. For softboots that will be part of a normal US "first time" purchase, do NOT throw away the liner.

Regarding point 3, there are no more 3-straps in the US, though there are aftermarket possibilities. Get a 2-strap binding from the store at time boots are purchased.

Regarding board size, weight, not height, is the more-important factor, and at 120 lbs I'd actually recommend a roughly 148-ish length.
post #10 of 19
No I also throw away my softboot liners. Cause whatever they tell me, they all plainly suck. One can allways save one outerboot size, by inserting proper foamed innerboots.
Oh 3 strap- I ment 2 strap. I got a 3 strap "race stock" boardercross binding, but thats only really usefull for hardcore freeriding or boardercross.

Yeah, off course weight maatter more than height. However I've rarely seen good boards under 150cm - maybe the top of the line women boards. Very often a lot of crap is sold in shorter length.

It really depends what you want to do. for more Freeride take 10cm longer, for a park rat a 148ish lenght would be perfect.
post #11 of 19
As well about the innerboot - thats a 300€ investment. However I recommend it to everyone that got the money. A good innerboot will hold up 2 outerboots until its worn out.

I even think a foamed innerboot in a softboot is more important than in a hardboot. However every racer on the worldcup has foamed innerboots AFAIK, much more than in skiing.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremecarver
As well about the innerboot - thats a 300€ investment. However I recommend it to everyone that got the money. A good innerboot will hold up 2 outerboots until its worn out.

I even think a foamed innerboot in a softboot is more important than in a hardboot. However every racer on the worldcup has foamed innerboots AFAIK, much more than in skiing.
It's definitely a personal preference thing, but a lot of people find the Rachlie/Deeluxe/32/Intuition (32 also uses Intuition foam) thermo-style foam snowboard boot liners to break down pretty quickly, and to also suffer in heelhold relative to other liners. Burton, Salomon, Nitro, Northwave, and Vans among others all have really nice stock liners, assuming they fit your foot, I'm sure DC & others do to just those are the first ones to spring to mind. I should say that 32 also makes great boots, but one of the raps they've had is that the liners go quickly.

Some people will run alpine or AT liners, either Intuitions or ZipFits in particular, to stiffen a boot, but that's a different story and a fairly specialized use. ZipFit used to have snowboard boot liners, but discontinued them in part (I believe) because the stock liners in snowboard boots got better and so the demand for aftermakets shrank.

The foam definitely sounds like its working for you. For people buying who want foam, 32 would be a great way to go. But, to me, buying say a Burton boot that otherwise fits and then tossing the very good liner and paying for an aftermarket foam that may not last as long might be unnecessary for most. Great to have all the choices in gear out there though.
post #13 of 19
And Nope, I don't talk about Intuition Thermo-Liners. Those are Heat-Moldable liners, however the only ones that work to some extent. The reason for them not to hold up very long and you loosing heelhold is that they, as well as all other high-volume inners do loose volume, however they do it rather quick, and their is no way to get that volume back.

All stock liners waste huge amount off precious space, are to thick, and will never be as good as a real foam injected liners (yes foam as being putted in by those plastic tubes, several suppliers available, as well as different foams, Conformable being one big supplier)

As my sister is on a burton Pro-Form, and other friends of mine ride for other big companies, noone of them uses the liners they get with but we all visit our bootfitter to get us proper low-volume innerboots. My last Raichle/Dee Luxe Pro-form I had 4 years ago, had different prices for only outerboot or full boot. That does tell us something about 32/intuition liners for semi-professional boots, doesn't it? I have not yet seen any real boardercross softboot that came with liners, but then those boots are produced in very small numbers and stiffer and shorter than what you can get on the open market.

And a low-volume foam definitely holds up very long. In my softboots I go through two outer boots before changing. In my hardboots, well those hardboots got a need for spare parts supply and are changed very rarely. The lower the volume of the boot, the fewer pressure you have to use to buckle your bindings or to lacen it up in order to get the same response.

Anyway, If you got the money see a well known ski bootfitter (this may mean a long drive in the States I believe), put your softboots on the shelf and ask him to make you a nice innerboot, I'm sure he'll come up with a high-performance solution. Watch out however that this outerboot is right-size, if its too big he can't help you. If its too small he may be able to punch that boot, I'm not sure if that works for sofboots however. Innerbootsize got not much to do with real size inside the boot. He could for example hight the toe area a bit, and lift up the heel to save up to a cm in outerboot length, and this as well means even more power to be transmitted to the edges when carving. The gain for a person not competing at high level might not be that big, but it will be noticeable to everyone riding at good level.

BTW - I ride in my softboots (bit modified DriverX from Burton) a Strolz leather foam injected liner - which was specifically designed for softboots. Hence just very thin leather at the front and at the heal. That boot saved a lot of people to cut away the front party of their softboots.
post #14 of 19
You cannot to my knowledge get an injected foam liner done on softboots in the US -- I haven't canvassed everyone, but did talk to several race-oriented shops a couple years ago, the response was uniformly that they'd tried it and the outerboots tended to deform under pressure and the end result didn't go too well. Sounds like you can get it done over there, which is great, but for everyday use I'm still not sure that injected foam is what one would want. Even most skiers who are not racing don't like the hardness of the blown foam.

I'd stated in an earlier post that some people did run ZipFits or similar aftermarket liners to stiffen a boot for specialized uses (bx being one) but that means absolutely nothing for what's going to be good for all-around freeriding. BX is not the way most people want to ride, either in angles or otherwise.

It sounds like you're coming from a racing orientation, which gives you a lot to offer knowledge-wise, but I'm still not sure what that should mean for a freerider or freestyler who's shopping for boots. I'd say for 99% of them there's no performance-related need for anything custom beyond, possibly, footbeds or a few shims, assuming they buy the right boots initially.

But, I did learn something new, and may be giving Strolz a call to see if I can get one of those liners (fit-related issue for some really funky feet, not performance-related in this case), so thanks for that!
post #15 of 19
He should try on a variety of boots and see what fits best as well as what has an ideal flex for him. Stiffer boots will be better on the ice, whereas softer boots will be better for tricks. The boots will soften with use.

As for bindings, I would suggest a stiffer binding, but this again depends on his preference. For the best ice control, the Catek binding is the way to go, however these are expensive. They are also a lot stiffer and somewhat heavier than any other soft boot binding. I've heard that the Nidecker Carbon is really nice. My brother has always been happy with his Drakes. They are certainly good quality. I don't know of any current 3-strap bindings. Flows are the closest thing.

As for boards, you can't go wrong with a Donek or a Never Summer. These should generally have a lot more edge grip than Burtons. The Donek Phoenix and Never Summer SL are freestyle-oriented models, but are not as specialized as a pure freestyle deck. Unless he's in the park or pipe more than half the time, it might be better to go with a freeride model. I don't think either of these brands are particularly known for freestyle, but their construction quality and performance will be a notch or three above most other boards, and you get a two year warranty as well (three year in the case of the Never Summers). You can get customized graphics on the Doneks.

Don't go lower than 150cm.

If you're looking for a deal on a board, just make sure to get something with sandwich construction. It's not a guarantee for quality, but I doubt he wants a cheap cap board. www.sierrasnowboards.com has good deals, and if you search this site you will find that the owner gives an epicski discount.
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wassnowboarder
He should try on a variety of boots and see what fits best as well as what has an ideal flex for him. Stiffer boots will be better on the ice, whereas softer boots will be better for tricks. The boots will soften with use.

As for bindings, I would suggest a stiffer binding, but this again depends on his preference. For the best ice control, the Catek binding is the way to go, however these are expensive. They are also a lot stiffer and somewhat heavier than any other soft boot binding. I've heard that the Nidecker Carbon is really nice. My brother has always been happy with his Drakes. They are certainly good quality. I don't know of any current 3-strap bindings. Flows are the closest thing.

As for boards, you can't go wrong with a Donek or a Never Summer. These should generally have a lot more edge grip than Burtons. The Donek Phoenix and Never Summer SL are freestyle-oriented models, but are not as specialized as a pure freestyle deck. Unless he's in the park or pipe more than half the time, it might be better to go with a freeride model. I don't think either of these brands are particularly known for freestyle, but their construction quality and performance will be a notch or three above most other boards, and you get a two year warranty as well (three year in the case of the Never Summers). You can get customized graphics on the Doneks.

Don't go lower than 150cm.

If you're looking for a deal on a board, just make sure to get something with sandwich construction. It's not a guarantee for quality, but I doubt he wants a cheap cap board. www.sierrasnowboards.com has good deals, and if you search this site you will find that the owner gives an epicski discount.
Sorry to be a post hog on this thread. He shouldn't worry about whether the board is "cap" or "sandwich," both contructions work well. Burtons have really good edgehold on ice, too. We're talking about a 1st-time buyer, he won't know what boot is the "right" flex, he needs to talk to the shop and, likely, go middle-of-road with boots. Having bought boots that fit, then he needs bindings that fit boots and a board that is also not too stiff, or too long, to be able to drive at low speeds with those boots.

To harp on the length issue, probably more people limit themselves with a too-stiff and too-long board than the other way around.

Peace.
post #17 of 19
One thing I just thought of is that with that kind of money, he could go ahead and get boots and bindings, then demo boards to find out what he likes. He could perhaps even get boots and try different bindings to see if he wants stiffer ones or softer ones.

It's the cheap cap boards that I would advise people to stay away from. They're good for rentals... I guess it was out of context, considering the amount of money he has allocated. I did have a Volant cap freeride board at one point that was okay, although I didn't get to ride it enough to tell for sure.

I may have exaggerated somewhat, however my 168 Donek Incline (24.1cm waist) had edgegrip close to that of a 178 Burton Factory Prime (20cm waist and stiffer), and beyond that of a 167, 18cm waist Sims freecarver. There are plenty of people who ride Burtons and don't complain, however if my (ex)freeride board has close to the same grip as their raceboard... that is all I will say.

I miscalculated the length... certainly don't go below 145cm. That is at or below chin level.

I had a much easier time improving when I bought equipment that did what it was supposed to do. I also had a lot more fun. The reason I suggest the Doneks is because of their ice grip and their ease of use, as well as their predictable behavior. They do need an edge tune when new.
post #18 of 19
I should say that I have not had any bad experiences with Burton boards. I learned on a Burton Charger, which is a cheap cap board, and does have bad edge-grip, is heavy and can't handle chop. However, for a beginner it was not a bad board. Additionally, the Factory Prime was a much better board than my Sims Premium, in almost every respect. I think I may have exaggerated the relative edge grip of the Donek a bit even in my last comparison... but not by much.

It's not hard to recommend Burton over many or most of the boards I've seen in large shops, from what I could tell without riding them.
post #19 of 19
Sorry, double post. What happened to the delete button?

I can use this for posting another place to buy boards... http://www.oobsnowboards.com/
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