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What protection do I need as a Snowboard beginner?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
As part of my ski instructing exams I need to learn to snowboard - in fact I need to learn to teach snowboarding but first things first!

I don't bounce as well as I used to, partly due to old injuries, and of course falling will be part of the learning process so what protection should I have? I have heard that wrist guards are a good idea, what else? Intuition tells me that something to protect the coccyx, hips, elbows, shoulders and head is needed although this sounds way over the top so maybe I should just get on with it. Advice please guys?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Can't just blag it by on adaptive like most of BASI?

Good wrist guards and impact shorts useful and a helmet for when you heel edge slam very hard. I wouldn't bother with knee or elbow pads though you should learn to elbow flop rather than extending wrists.

Main problem with learning to SB is very rapid transition from upright to slam when you catch an edge.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Helmet, wrist guards, learn to fall, no wrist guards. No padded shorts, pain is a great incentiviser (wow that's an ugly word i just produced). Toofy Grin
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@Dave of the Marmottes, no I don't want to do adaptive, I would rather do snowboarding.

Can you normally hire wrist guards and impact shorts? What is an elbow flop?
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Doubt you can hire shorts- it's like hiring underwear.
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Basic wrist guards and impy shorts you can pickup on flea-bay for about £10-£15 each. Kudos for taking the time to learn to ride rather than take the adaptive path.
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Wrist guards have some statistical evidence behind them for absolute beginners, but I think transitioning skiers may be different: they already know how not to fall stupidly, and the critical period for absolute beginners is the first day or so, which they kind of already did on skis.

Personally I transitioned without any artificial aids: I just got on with it. For good skiers it's surprisingly easy to start with, and good to be on the steep part of a learning curve again.

If you're riding rails that's a different thing, but that's not what you're asking.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I've just done the first set of lessons in a snowdome on a board (already a skier) and I just used my normal ski wear. Had a helmet but nothing else fancy. From skiing and ice hockey I can already fall over pretty well without being too damaged so didn't splash any money. There wasn't too much falling involved anyway I found once I'd figured out the edges and the fact you are so slow and on a shallow slope means any falls we did have were more tipping over slowly when coming to a stop and over balancing.

If I got better and was out on rails or steep slopes I might reconsider, where a crash or unexpected terrain change might trip you up.

I am mainly doing this as something fun over the summer but similarly more long term I would like to do the instructor pathway skiing L1 after finding I really enjoyed coaching the learn to play sessions at hockey so have done snowboarding lessons ahead of at some point needing a second discipline. Not sure my skiing is quite at the level yet but I'm hoping to get there in the next year or so.
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a massive box of condoms! you're bound to get laid more if you can snowboard Smile

back to the serious question in hand. personally i would go for a separate wrist protector rather than one built into a glove but this will mean you go through gloves at a higher rate. ive seen a few people transition from skis to snowboards and they have picked it up much faster than a total beginner on the snow. you might be surprised in how quickly you pick it up.

oh yeah and always wear a helmet (someone should start a thread about that) Laughing
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@waitrose, A Helmet obviously. Soft knee pads are a godsend as you'll spend a lot of your time on your knees (the D3o are the best but look in the DIY shops first). Butt and Hip protection next, there are plenty of underwear type shorts out there from many sports that will do the ob but some will omit the coccyx pad.

These are just the basics and they allow you to learn to fall without sticking your arms out, saving elbows and wrists.
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Thanks for all the suggestions guys. I have just read all of them again and what comes across is how much difference of opinion is out there, but I guess this is just human nature. I am tempted to start another thread and ask whose advice I should take!

I don't wear a helmet when I ski apart from through gates or if I am going to be skiing off piste in trees or couloirs but I will do whilst learning to board and I am going to wear wrist guards and back protection. Don't think I will spend money on the padded shorts but will probably insert a few strategically placed rolled up socks. I am concerned about catching the wrong edge and being slammed on to my back or front as I have seen this happen a few times to boarders and it looks pretty fierce.

Having said all of that I am going to do some freestyle on skis because this is also part of the skiing exam and no doubt boarding will follow so I maybe I should get the shorts and the all in one protection that covers the back, shoulders and elbows right now. What was I saying about the variance of opinions?


@lampygirl, that was a good idea by you to learn to board in readiness for the 2nd discipline. Ski schools are far more interested in people who can teach both skiing and boarding and to a lesser extent telemarking and hence you will be much more employable. I am going to learn to board in the Snow Centre at Hemel. I have only been there once before to do some basic freestyle and I did fall and although the snow was not hard it felt like I had landed on concrete. This is why I am so interested in getting padded up before I board. Good luck with your Level 1.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Thu 13-08-15 17:29; edited 1 time in total
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Helmet should do the trick the first thing they should teach you once you're on the slope is how to fall properly so wrist guards are a waste of time, unless you're doing freestyle you should be fine without impact shorts, as someone suggested above knee pads are worth it and d3o ones are pretty good.
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@waitrose, I drove 600 miles home on a broken coccyx, too frightened to take a dump, got chronic constipation which required an industrial grade laxative and a couple of stitches in a fundamental valve assembly . . . I'm probably one of the few blokes that can empathise with childbirth . . . impact shorts first, then back protector.

Just a note, one of the common dangerous injuries is a butt fall that sends that pointy tip of the spine into and perforates the Colon . . . that can get very ugly.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
The thing I found out quickly when I crossed over to boarding was that you spend a lot of time on your ar*e and knees and both get pretty sore. I bought a pair of long goalkeeping shorts with built in padding in those areas and they've been a godsend. My son started this year and we've bought some for him. I always wear a helmet and this paid dividends when someone shot out from the side into my path. Avoided him but edged and flipped slamming the back of my head into the slope. God knows what damage I'd have done without the helmet. Never bothered with wrist guards as been skiing for years and had plenty of practise falling over !!
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I think impact shorts and knees are worth it purely for a 'keeping warm and dry' point of view. You'll spend a lot of time sitting on your bum or knees and its nicer to be on pads than on cold snow.

I don't think wrist guards are worth it.

Helmet people debate but at least it keeps your ears warm and I've had a few hard slams to the head so do think they are a good idea.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Helmet, impact shorts and knee pads are what I wear. Helmet's saved me on a number of occasions after a hard slam when catching a heel edge. Impact shorts are more for warmth/comfort when sitting on the slope, ditto knee pads, although they do help. Learning to fall properly is the key one really.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Helmet and wrist guards are essential for beginners. I still wear both now mainly because at least once a season I whack my head or sprain a wrist trying a trick and think without the protection it would have been a lot worse.

If you have a prominent coccyx or a boney bum then impact shorts are advised. Likewise if you have dodgy knees then knee pads will help.
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I'm with @kavakava: helmet, wrist guards (but proper ones), and bum protection (really coccyx and trochanter protection) are my advice.

And though many like @kat.ryb are against Wrist Guards, the evidence does suggest they are worth it.
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On my season in Whistler I saw so many wrist injuries from both beginners and experienced riders alike that I will continue to wear them. Out of 15 snowboarders that either lived in my house or came to stay with friends we had 7 broken bones in one season. One was an ankle and the rest were wrists by people not wearing guards - one guy broke his wearing guards which were not properly fitted (another lesson right there).
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ewanmalone wrote:
a massive box of condoms! you're bound to get rogered more up the back bottom if you can snowboard Smile Laughing


FIFY Happy
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Wrist guards are ABSOLUTELY worth it until you learn to fall properly - or pretty-much stop yourself altogether. They're a pain with gloves etc, but rather a few weeks' inconvenience than months in plaster. I don't wear them now (haven't for years), but can't recommend them enough for anyone learning. I had a Dakine set - comfy, and saved my wrists from numerous hard falls.
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Wrist guards for sure.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
My 2c:

helmet - necessary. Most beginners will have at least a few backwards falls when catching the heel edge (often at low or even zero speed), and the head gets slammed back into the snow with surprising force. Not something skiers have to worry about, but it (sadly) makes a helmet a necessity for beginner snowboarders.

knee guards - not necessary but very useful. You'll spend a lot of time kneeling down and they will insulate and cushion your knees. Plus you're pretty likely to hit your knees while learning and it can hurt. The knee is a joint well worth protecting so I recommend guards. Soft ones will do and shouldn't cost any more than EUR 20 (maybe less).

wrist guards - probably advisable although I've never worn them, and after my first week I don't feel like I've ever come close to needing them. I reckon I got lucky because my wrists and forearms did take a bit of a hammering early on, but didn't break. If you're an experienced skier I suspect you won't be falling like a novice, so you may be spared the worst wrist hits

elbow pads - not necessary. I randomly smashed an elbow into ice early on in my snowboarding career and burst some blood vessel or other - I fainted and my whole arm turned black - after which I wore elbow guards for a while. But have never needed it before or since that incident. The elbow isn't a part of the body that will get hit often snowboarding, and it's an extremely strong joint so when you do hit it it's unlikely to get damaged.

impact shorts - never worn them and probably never will but I've no doubt they're useful - most learners get a pretty sore behind pretty quickly. Don't know if you could improvise padding - possibly.

Back protectors, body armour etc - not necessary unless you're doing rails etc, which I strongly suspect you won't be! (or you have an existing injury that needs protecting). Expensive too. Don't bother.

All of the above will help you keep warm to some extent - may be worth factoring in, but I think this should only be a significant factor with regard to the knee protectors.
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Quote:

the evidence does suggest they are worth it.


The evidence shows that a good quality wrist guard (which is not what most 'snowboarding' wrist guards are) is useful for 1) beginners and 2) people with pre-existing wrist injuries.

So maybe worth it, but its a reasonable investment for something you might not wear for long.
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I believe you're right.

More generally, I don't know anyone who rides with any of that stuff other than helmets, and that's largely because of workplace law. Each to their own, just don't get injured carrying it all around wink
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I must admit to just a helmet if I'm pooting around on soft pistes but if I'm out for an early morning corduroy/crust carving fest it's always with an armored ass and kneepads. Morning snow is just white concrete and if you hit it at anything above 10mph the damage can be catastrophic. Sliding in trees or my feeble park performance adds a spine guard to the mix.
Protection is something that is determined by your skill level and the environmental risks . . . Add your personal 'bounce' quotient . . . mine is "dead pig" and you just need to prepare for that inevitable cockup. wink

edit: I'm a late gymnast/trampolinist so the last things to hit the deck are my hands and wrists but for people without any sports experience, wrist guards or even better, some time with a gymnastics or judo coach is well worth the small cost.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I am transitioning from skiing to boarding, and after doing a full day lesson in a fridge a while back, I couldn't sit down properly for 3 days....hence why I have bought some impact shorts.

Helmet - wouldn't be without it, had a nasty leg injury from a boarder coming down the piste on his toe edge who didn't see me after falling on skis a few years ago, could easily have been my head instead.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
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went snowboarding for the first time last year and fell loads of times usually landing on my bottom! which was quiet sore after the first 2 days fell badly and banged my head too. so helmet is essential as are impact shorts they are useful for just sitting on too insulation for you bottom. another girl in my class hurt her wrist when she fell at the ski lift.

In all I had helmet, wrist guard, knee guards and impact shorts. most important was the helmet everyone snowboarding wears a helmet. the shorts got the most use. in all my falls I never landed on my back might have to do with having a fat bottom! Very Happy
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@fallingdownalot, you need to lean to fall, to spread the impact over as large an area as possible. Bums are not quite as cushioned as people think they are, plenty of bones near the surface.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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Yep wrist guards are nearly essential but bum protectors and stuff you can do without, unless you plan on hitting the black kickers in the park at 30+mph Smile
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@ Masque
Yeah I know that *now*
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
to take it off on a tangent somewhat the thing that concerns me most as a snowboarder is why as a wannabe ski instructor, you have to learn to snowboard at all.

it just shows how screwed up the system is rolling eyes
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@eddiethebus, both skills are rooted in the practical physics of an object(s) moving over a deformable surface. By learning and experiencing the ways your body needs to act and respond to the different tools you can gain comparative and complimentary insight to your technique.
Learning both does improve the speed and quality of that process.
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@eddiethebus, I thought that snowboarding was an elective option module - that or the adaptive, telemark or nordic modules isn't it?
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@eddiethebus, you don't have to learn to snowboard to be a ski instructor. You do have to learn one "second discipline". In BASI-world there are 6 disciplines: ski, snowboard, telemark, cross-country, adaptive (disabled) skiing and adaptive snowboarding.

I think most would consider this to be a good thing rather than an example of a "screwed-up" system.
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eddiethebus wrote:
to take it off on a tangent somewhat the thing that concerns me most as a snowboarder is why as a wannabe ski instructor, you have to learn to snowboard at all.

it just shows how screwed up the system is rolling eyes


I'm the other way round, and actually really enjoyed my week's skiing for the L3!

Then think about the situation in France, where boarders need to pass the Eurotest on skis before sitting their little conversion course to teach boarding...
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What do people think with regards to full upper body vs a spine protector (for on piste currently, nothing more, although I would like to give off piste/the park a go at some future point, but that's probably years away)...would I be right in saying shoulder pads etc are probably over kill and a spine protector is more worthwhile?
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@vjmehra, both are massive, pointless over-kill.

You really, really don't need them.
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Out of curiosity why do you say that about a spine protector?

I'm pretty inexperienced, but it's one thing quite a few people have mentioned to me as a sensible thing to get.

My logic, rightly or wrongly is that most bones heal...spinal injuries...not so much!
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@vjmehra, spinal injuries from recreational snowboarding are incredibly, incredibly rare.

I've actually suffered a triple spinal fracture (in a road accident, not snowboarding!) and I still don't wear one snowboarding. I even raced international SBX last winter and only wore one selectively (i.e. for head-to-head racing and on really big courses) for that.

I rode in a full upper-body suit for my first couple of races and it was just way to cumbersome and restrictive. A simple spine protector was tolerable, but still somewhat restrictive.

Spine protection is really not a common thing to wear for snowboarding. No idea on stats, but just from what I see (I've worked full-time running ski/snowboard holidays for the last 10 years and I'm also a BASI instructor) I would guess less than 1% of people on the mountain are wearing one.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Tue 27-10-15 21:42; edited 2 times in total
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