Active Endeavors Ambassador Greg Bellville loves two things almost as much as his family: biking and snowboarding.

Okay, that’s not true, but he loves to shred snow and trails any chance he gets.

One of the questions that we typically get back by seasonal or novice snow sport participants is how to pack appropriately for a trip with all of that gear. So Greg, being the kind soul he is, broke it down for us in a two-part blog post.

Snowboard, Active Family

Things that you need to consider first:

  • How am I getting there and how much storage space will I have on the way to where I am going?
    • Flying and checking bags.  Cramming you and 3 of of your closest friends into a Subaru Forester.  Is there a roof rack?  This can impact the amount of things that you can bring.
  • Where will I be staying in relation to the mountain?
    • The further away you are staying from the mountain the harder it is to get something if you need to make a change.
  • How will I get from where I am staying to the lift?
    • Shuttles are nice because you don’t have to worry about parking… ish.  I am not a fan of shuttles but have also been saved by them more than a couple of times.  Taking the shuttle usually means that you have to carry a backpack all day (I always travel with a backpack but I do not like snowboarding with one) or rent a locker (which I also don’t like, cause I’m cheap and I lose keys a lot).
    • Cars are great because you can make your own schedule, listen to your own music, tailgate, and leave things that you may need with relatively easy access.
    • Walking is the best because it is so easy.  You can go back for anything, you can sleep in a little longer, stay a little later, apres a little harder.  
winter, sale, snowboarding, local outdoor store

Taking all that into consideration here is a recommendation for how to pack for a trip with 4 days of snowboarding:

  • Snowboard/bindings/boots (1, 2, 2, respectively)
    • The most important of all of these things is the boots.  Your feet are going to be in them all day.  If your feet aren’t happy, no one will be happy.
  • Helmet (1)
    • I am a recent helmet convert (thanks largely to my wonderful caring wife).  As we have learned more about the effects of concussions and head trauma it is a really smart thing to do.  They are warm, and I would be lying if I said that it didn’t give me a little bit more confidence in what I was doing.  I have a huge head, so my helmet looks like a black fish bowl. However, I can always count on the dozen people wearing stupid hats with spikes or ears or mohawks or other dumb things.  Lastly helmet and goggle technology has really come along way.  My Smith I/O goggles integrate seamlessly with my helmet.  
    • Bonus: A snowboard helmet also makes for a great cold weather bike helmet.
  • Goggles (1)
    • One pair of goggles will be great.  Bringing an extra lens just in case is a little better.  I love my Smith I/O goggles.  They fit my face great, never fog, work really well in flat light.  I like to put my goggles in my beanie while traveling for extra protection.
  • Hat/Beanie (2)
    • For on the mountain or off they will keep you warm, having an extra in case one gets wet or goes with your outfit better is good and they don’t take up much space.  You may not be able to wear a beanie with your helmet, so make sure you do lots of other activities after snowboarding so you can show off how good you look in it.
  • Gloves/Mittens (2 pair)
    • I love mittens.  I have poor circulation and my fingers get cold so I benefit from the shared warmth.  I try to bring heavy or light pairs depending on what the weather is going to be.  I also like to switch them out at lunch time to a new dry pair.  If my snowboard isn’t on top of the car, I like to pack my gloves in my snowboard bindings.  Some people also like liners, they help wick moisture away from your hands and take up almost no space.
  • Neck Gaiter (2)
    • These are game changers and you can usually get them for free for participating in events(like the Dirty Duathlon in the fall).  They keep your neck and face warm and fold up small.  I pack them in my boots.
  • Snow Pants (1)
    • Most important thing here is the waterproofing/breathability.  This is what will help keep your pants from taking on water from the snow.  I won’t go for less than 8000/5000.  If you wear a non-insulated pant you may want to go with a heavier base layer.
    • Other things to look for in a snow pant are leg vents for temp control on warmer days and zippered pockets for holding things in.  I also get real nerdy here and look for zippers that zip up to open and down to close.  That way they dont fall open on accident.
  • Snow Coat (1)
    • All the same concepts from snow pants apply here.  I personally prefer a heavier jacket. Other’s prefer a lighter jacket and more layers so they can strip back as their body heat rises throughout the day.
  • Camera/Phone (1)
    • If you went on a snowboard trip and didn’t post it on instagram, did you even go on a snowboard trip?  Phones are also good for other things like googling things to settle arguments, or trying to figure out where the meet up spot is if everyone gets split up.
  • Backpack (1)
    • I always travel with a backpack.  You can put one set of clothes in it if you are flying in case your stuff gets lost, which also saves you room in your bag.  You can carry important things that you need to have with you at all times or things that you don’t want to get smashed.  You can carry a snack(s).  When you get settled, you can take everything out and use it to take your things to the mountain which makes it easier if you’re driving or taking a shuttle.
  • Snowboard bag (optional)
    • If you are flying this will be worth its weight in gold.  Most importantly it will protect your snowboard.  It will also carry all of your things (Seriously. Everything).  Additionally, it will allow you to pack things in your bindings and around your snowboard, without taking up extra space.  
    • Count on it getting searched by the TSA every time you travel.  
    • I do not recommend this option for road tripping.  Unless you have a huge car or semi truck, it will take up too much space.
Snowboard, Active Family

Important things to remember:

  • Have fun.
  • Be safe.
  • If your not falling your not riding hard enough.
  • Do it for the gram.
  • Drink lots of water while traveling out to your destination, altitude sickness is no joke and can knock out one or more of your riding days.  No one wants to be sick on vacation.
  • Call your parents.
  • WEAR A HELMET, you won’t be the dumbest looking person on the mountain. I promise.