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Does the Dad in your house snowboard? Then you need to check out our list of Christmas Gift Ideas for Snowboarding Dads, curated by a snowboard instructor!
Does the dad in your house snowboard? If he does that makes him a whole lot cooler than the other dads who don’t. Seriously.
In my reality, there is nothing more fun than snowboarding. I truly love it. Equally fun as riding is coaching people. I’m a Snowboard Instructor at Bear Mountain in Big Bear California.
I’m lucky as in I ride over 100 days a season and have nothing but fun while doing it. A very interesting aspect of my job is that I get to see all of the newest, latest and greatest gear in snow-sports.
So, what’s some new gear the dad in your life may want or need for the upcoming season? Well, I have the answers for you. Everything I am recommending I already own. This isn’t a sponsored post, I didn’t receive any of this for free for review. It’s just what I buy and use. But, those are all Amazon links, so if you like my review and buy it through my Amazon link, I’ll make a few pennies.
For comparable sizes. I am 5’ 11” and 180 pounds. I have a 45” chest, 32” inseam, 32” waist and wear a size 13 boot. My arms are abnormally long. I’ve got a 76 1/2” reach so, if snowboarding doesn’t work out, UFC here I come.
Even though my body should fit in a Large to XL jacket/ hoodie/ shirt, I typically must go for an XL or XXL to accommodate my arms. For riding style, I ride park. I hit jumps, jibs, the pipe and I go fast.
I’ve owned many snowboards. The best snowboards I’ve ridden are Never Summer Industries. I’m on my 3rd Never Summer board called a Funslinger. The Funslinger is sold as a 100% park board with camber under your feet, rocker in the middle and early rise nose & tail and it’s super flexible.
What all of that means is that it’s awesome. It can get a little chattery at high speeds. It’s not a racing board. Other than that, it’s great for the entire mountain. I have a 154 Wide and it’s unbelievable at how well it floats in pow too, which was one of my big concerns.
It’s a super buttery board – you can butter all day long. With it being super flexible, it pretty much contours to rails and jibs. The camber directly under your feet also helps get a little pop. It’s not the poppiest board I’ve ever ridden by far, but if you pull your front foot up, you can feel the camber as you ollie.
Also, it’s a true twin. If you do a lot of switch riding like I do, the board is perfect. One of the unexpected awesome features of the Funslinger is that it is an asymmetrical board. That means the heel edge is cut differently from the toe edge.
What that translates to is the heelside edge and toeside edge are cut differently, which makes linking heel edge carves and toe edge carves a million times easier. It’s an unbelievable feeling.
I love my Never Summer Funslinger. I’d recommend the Funslinger to anyone from a novice to a pro and anywhere in between. It’s great for that dad who likes to ride all mountain but really wants to progress in the park.
ProTip: While standing in the lift line or getting ready to get on the lift… DO NOT DO A “GAPER STOMP” WITH YOUR SNOWBOARD.
What is a Gaper Stomp you might ask? That’s when you have 1 foot strapped in and you lift it up and slap the tail of your board down on the ground or landing when you’re waiting to get on a chair and you do it over and over again.
If you do a Gaper Stomp, everyone who sees you do it will hate you and carry great disdain for you while snaking every line and turn you try to make. Just don’t do it.
I’ve had many bindings over time, from Burton to Tech 9 to Flow to no name bindings. My most favorite bindings ever are my Flux DL bindings. There are 4 things I love about Flux bindings.
- They are super light. They don’t seem to add weight to the board, which is great for taking flight.
- They are super customizable/ adjustable. I have them fitting my boot perfectly, which makes for ultimate comfort.
- The ratchet system is easy to use and doesn’t get caught up/ snagged/ loosen.
- They have a slight wing back on them, which really helps for pressing and popping.
The Flux DLs are top of the line; but they are well worth every penny you will pay for them as they will last for years.
ProTip: When you’re getting ready to get on the lift, put the high-back of your unstrapped binding down so the chair doesn’t accidentally hit and break it off.
ProTip: Adjust your binding to fit your boots at home before you go to the mountain. It took me a solid 30 minutes to get them adjusted perfectly.
I have very big feet. You know what they say about guys with very big feet, right? We wear very large snowboard boots – as in I wear a size 13.
Let’s be real. Snowboarding gear can be expensive. There are cheap boots out there, but I am very adamant the thing you should spend the most money on are snowboard boots.
Snowboard boots being extremely comfortable should be the #1 priority. I’ve had cheap boots. They’ll feel fine for 30 minutes, then pain sets into your feet. Snowboard boots are supposed to be super comfy – if they start to cause pain, your day is done.
Now, here’s the deal. Your boots should be tight fitting, as in they almost feel too small for you, but once you start riding they will stretch out and you will have complete control.
My favorite boot and brand over the past 5 seasons has been and is ThirtyTwo. I wear the ThirtyTwo TM-2 Boots. They are a little more on the stiff side. So, with me having a very soft board (my Never Summer Funslinger) they work perfectly.
I’m on my feet a lot during the winter in snowboard boots. The ThirtyTwos allow my feet to be super comfy all day every day. One of the reasons they are so comfortable is because they are heat moldable. Yes, I had my boots heat molded to my feet, so they fit me perfect.
I prefer laceup boots opposed to the BOA system (that’s a ratchet system that tightens your boots with steel cables). Although BOA boots are a cool concept, if you so happen to accidentally break one of those little steel cables, you can’t just go buy a new cable and put it in.
You must typically send your boot back to the factory to get fixed. So, if you just started your day off and you break your BOA, you’re going to have to go to rentals and get some of those boots.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t care how much sanitation spray is sprayed in rental snowboard boots. The thought of my feet going into a snowboard boot that literally hundreds of feet have been in before is rather disgusting.
ProTip: Don’t skimp out on boots and never ever buy used boots. Once they form to someone else’s feet, they’ll never fit your feet well. Unless it’s something someone only wore once and realized they bought the wrong size boot. Then offer them no more than 25% of the retail value.
I love my balaclava. I wear it every day. It wicks the moisture away from my head and keeps me warm or cool depending on how my helmet venting is set up. It also keeps my neck and face from getting sunburned (here at Bear Mountain, we’re in Southern California and we rarely don’t have bluebird days).
This balaclava comes down further on the neck than other balaclavas I’ve owned, which is nice. Once you start wearing a balaclava, you won’t ever not want to wear one. They provide that much comfort.
ProTip: At the end of the day, simply take your balaclava and wash it off in the sink under cold water with a little detergent. Hang dry it and it’ll be dry by morning. Never put your balaclava in the dryer as it will typically get shredded.
The Level Fly gloves are awesome. They do have a removable liner and can be very warm, which is nice when they need to be. The best part of the Level Fly gloves is they come with the Biomex Support System, which is a pretty rad wrist guard (wrist injuries are the #1 injury in snowboarding).
The Biomex Support System only provides protection on the palm side of your hand/wrist, which is a good thing. I can’t count how many broken wrists I’ve seen from no protection and the wrong protection.
I’ve seen multiple people use wrist guards that have protection on both the palm side and back side of the hand, making the wrist very stable. While I have seen these types of wrist guards protect the wrist from getting broken per se, directly above the protection on the arm I’ve seen around 10 people snap those bones like twigs.
That was the initial reason I got my 1st pair of Level Fly gloves around 5 years ago. I have 2 pairs – 1 brown and 1 black. They both are well used and in great condition.
Pro Tip: Remember to make a fist when you fall to help avoid hurting your wrist. “Make a fist save a wrist… but NEVER cross your arms or you will break your arms!!!”
ProTip 2: Wear your gloves when you’re handling your board. The edges on your board are more than likely very sharp, especially at the contact points. When you’re walking up to the resort holding your board, if you’re bare handed and the board slips… well, I’ve seen a few people get some crazy gashes on their hands. Don’t be one of them.
I am a huge proponent of wearing a helmet. About 6 years ago I never wore a helmet, then I was flat-boarding on a trail leading to a run. I looked behind me and yelled at my buddy who went the wrong way and caught my heel edge. When I woke up, Patrol was standing over the top of me.
Before I rode again, I bought a helmet. Since then helmets have saved me countless times. They’ve saved me from getting taken out by a “pizza/ French fry” skier and landing on my head. They’ve saved me from eating $hit and slapping my helmet on rails – tink! I had a headache for 3 days after doing that once. I can only imagine how bad that would have been with no helmet!!!
I won’t ride without a helmet nor do my girls ride without a helmet. I’ve owned several helmets, but hands down my favorite had been my Smith Vantage Helmet. It has the MIPS protection system in it, which is a super advanced protection system.
Equally as awesome – it has vents that open and close. Thatt makes all the difference in the world when you’re hot and need to cool down. It also has a BOA system in it, so it ends up fitting your head perfectly which is pretty rad.
ProTip: If you crash or hit your helmet hard on anything, it’s done. After 1 hard crash, you need a new helmet. I know they can be expensive, but after 1 hard hit on the helmet, the shock from the impact was spread throughout the padding and protection system in your helmet, rendering it significantly less effective if you were to use it and hit your head again. My wife says it’s the same thing as needing to replace a car seat after a car accident.
ProTip 2: Don’t wear a beanie under your helmet. First off, it looks stupid. Very, very stupid. Secondly, it renders the protection from your helmet completely useless. The only thing you should wear on your head if you’re wearing a helmet is a very thin balaclava. That’s it, nothing else.
The worst thing you can do is not have eye protection on the snow. People get their eyeballs sunburned all of the time at the resort, resulting in snowblindness. I’m not going to scare anyone here. I’ll let you do that to yourself by going to Google and Googling snowblindness and clicking on the Image Tab. It’s a serious problem that can have permanent consequences.
Sunglasses are better than nothing, but if you’re going to wear sunglasses you should really have sunglasses that are specifically designed for snowsports so your eyes are properly protected.
When it comes to goggles, getting a pair that matches your helmet is of the utmost importance. If you get a pair of goggles that don’t match your helmet, you could have a huge gap between your goggle and helmet, resulting in getting called a “gaper.” Gaper is a term also used for anyone who is dressed like or acting like an idiot.
The Smith IO7 are the top of the line goggles by Smith. They have an awesome anti-fog airflow system that works seamlessly with all Smith Helmets to keep your lenses from fogging up.
Changing out lenses is quick and easy and your field of vision is very decent. And with a lifetime warranty, that even includes the foam deteriorating, so you just can’t go wrong.
ProTip: The strap for the goggles goes around the outside of your helmet. You do not strap your goggles on your head, then put your helmet on.
The most important thing about your snowboard pants is that they are comfortable. If you are one to wear skinny jeans, well, I can’t help you there. What I can say is that tight fitting pants have no place in snowboarding. I like loose and comfortable fitting pants.
I am a Snowboard Instructor, so I use cargo pockets a lot. The Thirtytwo Blahzay cargo snowboard pants are waterproof, super comfortable and also have thigh venting. It’s really nice on those warm days, not to mention they look very stylish. I wear a size large.
ProTip: DO NOT wear jeans, leggings, yoga pants or any of the like under your snowboard pants. Just don’t do it. If you are afraid it’s going to be cold (sustained temperatures under 20 degrees), then you may consider wearing thermals. That’s it. Not leggings, biking pants, yoga pants, etc. And for the love of whatever higher power you may or may not believe in, DON’T WEAR JEANS UNDER YOUR SNOWBOARDING PANTS!!!!
ProTip 2: The little crinkly thing at the bottom of your pants is called a “boot blouse.” DO NOT stuff your boot blouse down inside of your boots. That will make for a very uncomfortable day. The boot blouse goes over your boots to help keep snow from going up your leg and/or down inside of your boots. Stuffing your boot blouse down inside of your boot completely defeats the purpose. The only thing that should be inside of your boot is your foot and sock – NOTHING ELSE.
One thing I see at Bear Mountain is lots and lots of people dressing waaaaaaay too warm. Snowboarding is an extreme sport. You will be very active and your body will generate lots of heat.
More often than not, you don’t need a super warm snowboard jacket. Super warm snowboard jackets are great for when the temperature is below freezing during the day. If it’s going to be warmer than freezing, it’s best to layer with a t-shirt, hoodie and a light jacket.
The thing you want to remember most when you get a snowboard jacket is that it’s super comfortable and that you can move around in it without the jacket feeling tight.
I have my Thirty-Two Kaldwell jacket, which is a Level 1 lightweight jacket meant for warmer weather. I ride Bear Mountain in Southern California, so this will be perfect for the warm days with just a t-shirt underneath. On days when it’s cooler but not freezing, a t-shirt, hoodie and my jacket will be fine.
I also have the previous model of the Oakley Men’s Division 2 Bio Zone snowboard jacket, which is a Level 2 jacket. That means I get to use it approximately 5 days a season when the weather drops below freezing… LOL. Hopefully I’ll have to use it for 3 months straight starting tomorrow.
Because of the length of my arms, I tend to wear XL to XXL jackets. They are super baggy on me, which is cool because I have plenty of room to move in them.
It’s best to have a waterproof jacket or hoodie because getting wet, no matter what the outside temperature is, will chill you to the bone. Layer, layer, layer. I can’t stress this enough. Your days will be so much better.
Pro Tip: Get a locker. Most resorts have lockers and locker rooms. If you’re not parked right close to the lifts or if you have to take a shuttle to get to your car, get a locker. If you are layered and too hot, no worries. Throw your layers in your locker.
Don’t want to take a chance on stabbing yourself in the leg with your keys if you fall? Throw them in your locker. Don’t have a Lifeproof Case on your phone? Throw your phone in your locker. Need a place to store your water bottle? Throw it in your locker. Just get a locker!!!
Straight up… snowboarding is dangerous. I’ve had my shins busted and bruised, concussions, black eyes, bloody lips/mouth, bruised ribs, cracked sternum, sprained wrist, bruised hipbone, bruised tailbone, fractured arm, strained MCL, burst bursa, bruised tibia and kneecap, fractured tibia, fractured talus, torn anterior talofibular ligament and if I sat and really thought about it, I’m sure there’s more.
My point is that you can get hurt, especially when you’re hitting jumps, the halfpipe, rails, boxes and jibs. (Jibs are pretty much any features you hit that aren’t a box or rail). And even if you’re flatboarding across a very flat area and you have a brain fart, you can catch an edge and end up knocking yourself out cold and wind up with a concussion and a massive headache for like 3 days.
Or you can simply get taken out by some gaper from behind who was too busy trying to get the perfect selfie from their selfie stick and wind up with some nicely bruised ribs. Just because you’re not going through the park doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear safety gear.
Injuries happen while snowboarding, so it’s best to minimize the risk of injuries by using safety gear. As I stated above, I always wear a helmet. I wear the Biomex Support System in my gloves. But for me, that’s not enough.
I always wear knee pads and I always wear hip pads and when I’m really going to do something high risk I wear upper body armor too.
Here’s a bit more about the safety gear for snowboarding I recommend.
I’ve used a few different knee pads over the years, but now the only knee pads I use are Black Diamond Kneepads. They aren’t supper thick, but they are super comfortable and they work extremely well to help minimize serious injuries.
If it wasn’t for these kneepads, I would’ve had a shattered kneecap instead of a severely bruised one. They’re one size fits all, so accidently buying the wrong size (which has happened to me before) isn’t an issue.
ProTip: The Black Diamond knee pads are worn under your snowboard pants and directly against your skin.
Upper and Lower Body Armor
I’ve had a couple pairs of hip pads over the years. You really learn to appreciate hip pads after you do a hard butt-check off a jump and ride away without feeling it. And when you do feel it, you appreciate that it doesn’t hurt worse. I have a matching set of Demon Body Armor – both hip pads and upper body.
The hip pads have padding over your – wait for it – hips. It also has pads over your tailbone and on your thighs. They’re like a pair of shorts – you wear them over your underwear.
The Demon Flex Force Lower Body Armor series is the most comfortable hip pads I’ve ever worn. Even over some more expensive “high tech” pads I’ve bought since, but I revert back to the Demon. They’re rad.
The matching Demon Flex Force Upper Body Armor is the matching upper body armor that has an armadillo that protects your back, shoulder pads, elbow pads and rib protection. It’s fully adjustable and comfortable. It is very warm, so it’s rad on cold days instead of wearing a hoodie under your jacket.
ProTip: I am guilty of this, so it’s more of a do as I say not as I do thing. Don’t get over confident when you put on your body armor. You can still taco a rail, which hurts oh-so-bad, regardless of padding. You can still slam. I don’t care what you’re wearing, it sucks harder than trying to get a golf ball through a garden hose. Just because you have body armor on doesn’t mean you need to test its fortitude or yours for that matter.
It sounds like it would be pretty obvious, but lots of people completely forget their belts, end up using nice leather belts or studded belts and so on. A simple cloth belt like the DaKine belt I have is perfect.
Pro Tip: If you forget your belt, use a shoestring from your shoes, not your snowboard boots.
Until I became a snowboard instructor several years ago, this is something I wouldn’t have believed people were messing up. Boy I was wrong.
Snowboard socks cost $15-30. If you’re in a warmer climate like I am in Southern California, you’ll want lighter snowboard socks. If you’re in a colder climate you’ll want warmer socks.
Regardless, snowboard socks are specifically made for snowboarding. I can’t count the number of people I’ve seen wearing tube socks or, even worse, low cut gym socks. You will have a much better day if you go buy a pair of actual snowboard socks that fit properly in your boot.
I use these exact socks with a different pattern.
ProTip: If you live in a cold climate and are thinking about getting wool socks, check out Smart Wool Socks instead. Because I live in a warm climate, I’ve got like 15 pair of lightweight socks like I just mentioned. I only own 1 pair of Smartwool socks and I take them with me on snowboarding trips just in case. These are the exact Smart Wool socks I own.
There is no sport that is as amazing and freeing as snowboarding. I recommend everyone go and learn how to snowboard. It is challenging to learn how to do it, but once you get it, the sky is the limit. Hopefully my recommendations will help you or the dad in your life enjoy this next season even more.
If you have any questions, please ask them in the comment section below and I’ll try my best to answer all of your questions.