Snowboarding is arguably the most popular winter sport in the world. In the few decades that snowboarding has been in existence, it has gone from a highly maligned, ugly cousin of skiing to a premiere event of the Winter Olympics. The sport continues to attract thousands more devotees every year.
Over the years, manufacturers of snowboard gear have greatly increased the range of available items, while dramatically improving the technology. Early gear was primarily constrained to a rudimentary version of today’s snowboard, and all other equipment was adopted from skiing and other outdoor winter activities. Today, however, there are a plethora of companies that make nothing but snowboard specific equipment.
The snowboard itself has undergone a several technological advances since it was first invented. The earliest snowboards were basically flexible wooden planks to which straps, or in some cases, water ski bindings were attached. Soon thereafter, fiberglass was added to these boards, greatly increasing their flexibility as well as their durability. Further adaptations taken from ski manufacturing allowed these boards to glide much easier, and their controllability was greatly improved as well.
Aside from the board itself, there is an assortment of other snowboard gear that is required. Boots are an essential part of a quality snowboard set-up. Snowboard boots are the primary means of transferring power from the rider to the board, which is the primary means by which the board is controlled. An inadequate set of boots makes snowboarding much harder, and much more uncomfortable.
One of the more overlooked pieces of snowboard gear is the helmet. While helmets are recommended for anyone wishing to slide down a hill, snowboarders tend to be a little more “adventurous” and as such, helmets are extremely important. Modern helmets are designed with a variety of features, not the least of which is safety. Many helmets include built-in headphones which can be plugged into most music players, and most are equipped with a variety of ventilation features as well.
As the snowboarding industry continues to grow, the equipment is sure to become more and more advanced. Ski companies are taking cues from snowboard manufacturers and creating products designed for the more freestyle techniques pioneered by snowboarders.