Things Every Snowboarder Should Bring With Them on the Mountain

Snowboard expert Skye F. runs through the essentials she packs for a day on the mountain.

Photo by Bald Grogan, courtesy of GNU
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As I’m writing this, tomorrow is opening day at my home mountain. As I look at my screen right now, my gaze is right above my pile of snowboarding gear that I tried to organize, try on, and wash to ensure that every last item is accounted for! Making sure I have all of the essentials will make that first trip back on the mountain, and each trip after that, easier. After I packed my favorite essentials for snowboarding, I compiled them all into a list for you to check out! If you have the items listed below, you’re going to have a warm, dry, and fun day of riding—no matter the conditions.

The Basics: Board, Boots, Bindings

First and foremost, the trio of board, boots, and bindings is an obvious addition to the list. Hopefully if you’re reading this article, you can skip right through this section, but if you still have questions about these three items, no worries!

A boarder standing with his snowboard in front of him
Photo by Joël Super

The Board: If you don’t have a properly-fitting board, it’s going to make riding that much harder and your day that much less enjoyable. For beginner riders, a board that’s too long is going to be really hard to control and maneuver. If your board is too short, you’re going to have a shaky ride as you get into higher speeds. For a perfect fit, a good rule of thumb to follow is that if you stand your board on its tail and stand right behind it, the nose should be between your chin and nose.

Pro Tip: Once you have an idea of the length of your board, make sure to think about what type of riding you’ll be doing. Fast and aggressive riders should choose a slightly-longer board, where park riders should opt for something a little shorter for quick and easy maneuvering!

ThirtyTwo Lashed Snowboard Boots
ThirtyTwo Lashed Snowboard Boots

The Boots: For a good fit, you want to put your pair of boots on and check out where your foot falls. Your toes should be just barely kissing the edge of the toe box, and your heel should feel like it’s locked in place.

Pro Tip: Need a new pair? Head over to: https://www.curated.com/c/snowboard-boots to find the perfect new set for this season.

The Bindings: Also an essential part of the trio, your bindings should match the flex of your board and boots. The better matched they are, the better they will be able to transfer energy from your body to the board and respond to all of your body movements for precise, quick control.

A boarder putting googles on over their helmet on the slope
Photo by Zszen John

The Clothing

Having layers and gear that will keep you consistently warm and dry is the second most important aspect of making sure you have all the right equipment. If your gear doesn’t keep you warm and dry, chances are you’ll be spending more time in the lodge than on the slopes.

Snow Pants and Jacket: The key for these is to make sure they’re breathable! Most options these days have air vents that allow you to get airflow on warmer days.

Layers: Make sure to wear thin, lightweight, moisture-wicking layers so you can add and take them off as you need! Merino wool or polyester are great fabrics to look for if you are unsure of what to purchase. The key is lightweight and moisture wicking!

Goggles: Be sure to get the right frames and fit for your face! Smaller pairs typically stay in place better, but looser pairs tend to be more comfortable.

Gloves or Mittens: It’s going to be a bad day without these! Make sure they’re warm enough for your body. Some people run really hot and prefer pairs with less insulation—on the other hand, if you get really cold (I’m looking at you, people with poor circulation) make sure you have gloves that are well-insulated.

Helmet: Not much to say here... It’s cool to wear a helmet; not cool to have a concussion and miss out on any part of the season. Wear one!

Two pairs of socks hanging on a clothesline
Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Socks: Make sure you’re not wearing your old, cotton socks with a hole in the big toe. Invest in a pair of snowboarding socks (Burton socks are my personal favorite) to keep your feet dry, warm, and comfortable. You’re going to want socks that are thin and sleek so that they don’t interfere with the way your boots fit—since snowboard socks are designed to work this way, they will still be warm enough and keep you dry.

Face Mask: For warmth and for safety this year, make sure you have at least one or two of these stashed in your snowboard bag! Most resorts will have face covering/mask requirements, so make sure to check before you arrive and plan ahead! I prefer fleece-polyester or merino-wool neckies/masks to keep my face and neck dry and warm.

Season Pass/Lift Ticket: Either pick this up at the lodge or bring it with you, but make sure you have one before trying to get out on the lifts!

The Extras

None of these items on the list are essential for getting yourself out on the mountain safely, but in my opinion, they make a world of a difference!

ChapStick®: Snow, cold temperatures, and wind are a recipe for disaster in terms of your skin and lips! Having a small stick of ChapStick can do a world of wonders!

A brown leather wallet on a wooden table
Photo by Lukas

Money / ID: Unless you packed your own food and drinks, having some cash will definitely come in handy during lunch time and for aprés-ski! If you’re picking up a lift ticket or a pre-purchased pass, make sure to keep your ID on you and the credit card you used to purchase the ticket—just in case.

Phone: Keep your phone charged. It’s always helpful to program Ski Patrol’s number in your phone, just in case you get into an emergency. You can also grab a print version or mobile-friendly version of your mountain’s map!

The Extra Extras:

The following items are not ones that I always pack, but they can come in handy, depending on the day!

Hand / Toe Warmers: These are a personal preference, but if your body runs cold or you’re out on a freezing day, you might want to pack some of these just in case.

Sunglasses: A necessity for sunny days, spring skiing, and for drinks outside at the end of the day.

Phone Charger: If you’re worried about losing your pack or want to be able to take pictures, keep a phone charger stashed in your bag to get a little extra juice during breaks inside.

Headphones: For solo shredding, or if you just want to tune out your friends for the day. Pairs well with a killer playlist and a fully-charged phone!

A snowboarder in a yellow jacket on a chairlift
Photo by Christopher Beck

Pro Tip: It may be smart to keep the AirPods at home when you’re snowboarding, as you will have a very hard time finding one if it falls out (just trust me on this one).

The more that you get outside and get riding, you will find certain must-have items for yourself that will keep you smiling and happy throughout your day! Just make sure to keep unnecessary things to a minimum, so your pockets aren’t overflowing with little items that can fall out and get lost easily. At the end of the day, as long as you have your essential gear and your lift pass, you will be able to get through the day—but those extras can go a long way to make your day that much better.

Here’s a handy checklist of all the items listed above!

  1. Snowboard
  2. Snow Boots
  3. Snowboard Bindings
  4. Snow Pants
  5. Jacket
  6. Layers
  7. Goggles
  8. Gloves / Mittens
  9. Helmet
  10. Socks
  11. Face Mask
  12. Season Pass / Lift Ticket
  13. ChapStick
  14. Money / ID
  15. Phone
  16. Hand / Toe Warmers
  17. Sunglasses
  18. Phone Charger
  19. Headphones
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Written By
Native to the east coast, aka "ice coast" I've been a snowboarder for the past 12 seasons, and a coach for the past 6. I spend my summers above treeline in the White Mountains, and my winters chasing snow. ​ I have lots of experience with youth gear- I know the right boards, size, and setup to get y...

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