Gear Up For Winter: Snowboarding

by Ian Harding

Welcome to the second edition of the “Gear Up For Winter” series. In our previous article we focused on showcasing some hot new gear for skiers looking to make an impression on the hills this year. In our second article, the one you are obviously reading at this point, is going to focus on new duds for all you snowboarders out there. We’ve covered boots, bindings, and boards to help you out in your search for this year’s (well, 2006 and 2007) hot additions. And as with the first article, we also include some helpful notes when it comes to shopping for new gear. Having proper fitting gear for your style is important, so pay attention.


Again starting with the boots, we attempted to give a wide range of styles for you to check out.

As with any footwear, finding the right boot for snowboarding takes time and patience, as well as a little knowledge. You want something that is a good and secure fit so that you have optimal control when on your board. If you are an aggressive boarder, you’ll probably want a boot that is a little harder than others. One that secures your toes a bit more with little movement. If you are a recreational boarder and want something with super comfort, then you’ll want to search for a softer boot, one that allows a little more toe movement. In both cases, it is important that you have zero heel movement. If you can lift your heel, you’re not going to be comfortable and chances are you’ll come off the hill and the end of the day with blisters the size of Kansas. When trying them on, lace them up tight to the point that you can’t lift your heel, then stand up and lean slightly forward, bending your knees. If your heel lifts, they are not a good fit.

You’ll also want a boot with the proper flex. Freestyle boots differ from freeride boots in flexibility, so make sure you understand your riding style before hitting the stores and sales as it can greatly affect your riding. Freeride boots usually have a stiff upper boot for added support on your foot, as well as a lace-up inner boot that allows you to adjust the amount of overall flexibility. Freestlye boots are usually lower cut than others, having a loose inner liner for more flexibility. If you are into apline riding, look for a slightly harder boot. They support your foot, ankle, and lower leg much more firmly, making them best for racing and high-speed carving on hard snow surfaces.

DC - Flare

Flare * Editors Choice

Brand: DC


MSRP: $227.00 CAN, $199.00 USD, $153.00 EUR

Designed for skaters who want to take their skills to the slopes, the DC Flare boot has an abrasion-resistant sticky rubber sole to keep you from slipping on snow. It has an adjustable ankle brace for control and sports a 3D tongue for better comfort when leaning into the hill.

ThirtyTwo - Lashed


Brand: ThirtyTwo


MSRP: $215.00 CAN, $189.00 USD, $145.00 EUR

The ultimate all mountain boot for women. If you have no fear of anything anywhere, this boot is for you. It has independent lacing and finger pull tabs for getting your perfect fit, 400 NBS rubber overlay outsole for superior board and snow grip, and an inner ankle harness for maximum support.

Flow - Zone


Brand: Flow


MSRP: $260.00 CAN, $229.00 USD, $175.00 EUR

A boot for high-performance freestyle riders, the Zone offers strong support while maintaining a reasonable flex. It brings with it Flow’s new 3D articulating tongue in company with a customized body giving you the comfortable fit you’re looking for when passing skiers and carving long lines.

Salomon - Maori


Brand: Salomon


MSRP: $216.00 CAN, $190.00 USD, $145.00 EUR

Although not as superior as the Flow Zone, the Maori still provides a medium flex with an internal bio-cage structure that helps keep your heel down and your comfort level up. It has a Dolby sole that absorbs maximum shock and gives you Salomon’s secure Powerlace system that helps get you on the hill faster than your friends.

Vans - Hi-Standard


Brand: Vans


MSRP: $146.00 CAN, $129.00 USD, $99.00 EUR

What more can be said about the Vans High-Standard other than the fact that it is one of the original boots in Vans’ lineup, yet it is still leaving strong marks on the hill. With all synthetic leather, an internal web harness, a Trifit center tongue liner, and a pro-flex snowaffle air sole, this boot is rightly named as it meets the requirements of people with, high standards.


Snowboard bindings are key. Boarders enduce a lot of torque on their legs and ankles, so having a good binding plays a very important role. You want a binding that transfers movement from your body to the your board efficiently, but more importantly, you must ensure that your bindings match the style of your boot. Having a really nice binding that doesn’t fit your boot is no good. If you want (or have) a soft boot, you’ll be happy with strap on bindings, as they are the most flexible, not to mention the fact that they are super easy to jump into. A popular choice among most recreational boarders. If you are going with a harder alpine boot, we recommend finding yourself some step-in bindings. They are more secure than the strap on bindings, ensuring that you have the control you need when riding in unknown places. You could also go with plate or lever bindings as these provide the most control over your board, tranferring all motions directly from your body. They aren’t as popular as the other two, but if you care more about quality control over having something super simple, then you’ll want to go with this choice.

Burton - Cartel


Brand: Burton

Sizes: S, M, L


MSRP: $250.00 CAN, $220.00 USD, $169.00 EUR

Attention freestyle boarders: If you haven’t heard yet, the Cartel is easily the binding of choice, especially among pros. So why hold back? It has the tallest hi-back in it’s line, has a super lightweight chassis, and boasts a tool-free length adjustment. With the Cartel, you’ll have no problem twisting in your rotations as you fly over drop zones.

Flow - The Pro

The Pro * Editors Choice

Brand: Flow

Sizes: M, ML, L, XL


MSRP: $260.00 CAN, $229.00 USD, $175.00 EUR

An all around binding for everyone, The Pro offers a ventilated hi-back and a glass-filled nylon base plate. It’s classic freestyle construction is forgiving on hard landings while still maintaining enough stability for the response you’ll need to ride away from a monster stomp. It also has two locking mini-ratchet buckles that allow for a customized strap fit for any boot.

K2 - Charm


Brand: K2

Sizes: S, M


MSRP: $142.00 CAN, $125.00 USD, $96.00 EUR

K2 recent addition to its women’s collection, the Charm makes it easy for all ladies looking to outperform the guys. It has aluminum speed ratchets, a universal toe strap, a caddy ankle strap, and a variety of tool-less adjustments that will allow you to get the perfect balance between boot and board.

K2 - Cinch CTX

Cinch CTX

Brand: K2

Sizes: M, L, XL


MSRP: $340.00 CAN, $299.00 USD, $229.00 EUR

This binding calls out to all those seeking ultimate performance. Not a binding for the faint hearted, the CTX is a durable sophisticated binding that brings together everything you’ll need for extreme riding. Carbon side plates, an airframe high-back, and aluminum speed ratchets with friction housings all come together in a binding perfect for high level riders.

Rome - 390


Brand: Rome

Sizes: S, M, L, XL


MSRP: $215.00 CAN, $189.00 USD, $145.00 EUR

For the new season, Rome decided to lighten up. Literally speaking, the 390 has in fact been lightened up. With a plethora of features designed for comfort, support, and durability, the 390 covers pretty much everything when it comes to boot bindings. It has multi-strap mounting, a tool-free adjustable toe ramp, a two-piece InBase pad, and the ConFormist.2 toe strap. All together making the 390 a great binding for anyone.


Finally, we have the boards. There are many, many different boards out there to choose from, so again we have to emphasize… know your style before choosing. Finding the right board for you is more than looking for the coolest graphics that will impress your friends. Your style can set the pattern for the shape and price of a new board, so make sure you know what you’re looking for. Like any other product out there, beginner boards are going to be cheaper than high-end boards and freeride boards will differ from freestyle and freecarving boards.

Another factor you’ll notice when board shopping is their length and weight. The length of the board is pretty much up to you, but should generally reflect your overall body weight. As there are no set standards for what specific length you should have based on your height or weight, ensure you go for something that matches your size appropriately. If you want a board that turns quickly and manouvers fast, you’ll want something shorter than a board that handles long, high-speed carving. However, heavier people generally want a longer board. Lighter people generally go for shorter boards because the longer the board, the less control you have.

Finally, there is the flex of the board. Again this generally is determined by the style of rider. Beginners will want a softer flex board to help with turning, while more experienced riders will want something a little more stiff. With their experience, a long-time rider can put the board to work much more than a beginner, so you want to ensure you have the proper control.


Brand: Forum

Shape: Directional


MSRP: $340.00 CAN, $299.00 USD, $229.00 EUR

Forum - Recon 156

Designed for all conditions you could possibly get a board into, The Recon brings together a tip to tail compound matrix core that provides ultimate flex and rebound. It has a 4400 base that has the speed of a sintered base, but requires less maintenance. It’s direction shape offers more nose for better turning and increased snap in the tail.

Air * Editors Choice

Brand: Burton

Shape: Directional


MSRP: $454.00 CAN, $399.00 USD, $306.00 EUR

Burton - Air 153

If you’re looking for pro performance in board you can afford, then the Burton Air is the choice to be made. It has a longer tail for improved switch riding, a sintered base, and constructed with Triax™ response fiberglass. This make the Air a great all-mountain board for riders looking to stomp hard and ride smooth.


Brand: Burton

All-Terrain Freestyle


MSRP: $431.00 CAN, $379.00 USD, $291.00 EUR

Burton - Se7en 151

The lightest, fastest, and toughest Se7en Burton has ever produced. For 2007, Burton added a spoon tip to the Se7en which allows you to plow through powder and ice alike. It offers a true twin shape, a new Park Fly™ core, and it’s super responsive fiberglass design will have the Burton Se7en at the top of everyone’s wish list this season.


Brand: Flow

Big Air/Pipe/Backcountry


MSRP: $533.00 CAN, $469.00 USD, $360.00 EUR

Flow - Infinia 157

New for 2007, the Infinia is designed for women who seek more than your average performance board. It has a 4000 sintered base and dual-transitional sidecut shape that makes the Infinia a very fast board while it’s carbon quadrax core maintains stability and control both in the park, on a pipe, or somewhere deep in the realm of the backcountry. Watch your budget though, you may have to bust the bank for this board.


Brand: Unity

Shape: Directional Freestyle


MSRP: $554.00 CAN, $487.00 USD, $374.00 EUR

Unity - Pride 159

Unity’s most popular board brings forth a directional shape that makes freestyle riding easier than breathing. Well, not THAT easy, but it’s design is softer and lighter weight than last years model. With it’s deep sidecuts, the Pride is perfect for increasing your vertical over pipe lips, and if freeriding is your thing, it has increased snap due to having one less layer of dampening foil compared to other boards.

Well, that wraps up part II of our Gear Up For Winter series. Hopefully you learned a few things to help you out in your hunt for new gear. Stay tuned for our final article in the series in which we’ll attempt to focus on some cool accessories for both skier and boarders.

  • Gear Up For Winter: Snowboarding
  • by Ian Harding
  • Published on November 26th, 2006
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