Snowboarders should wear layers whilst they are on the slopes; each one has its own function.
- The first layer should be a thermal one, ideally polyester or polypropylene. This layer will come in the form of a t-shirt or leggings. These will keep you warm, but will also get rid of any sweat which you may produce whilst you are riding. Cotton is one of the worst fabrics you can use at this stage as it will soak up the sweat but then stay wet as well.
- Next you should wear a synthetic or wool layer, such as a fleece. This will keep you warm, but also transmit moisture away from your base layer to the outer layer. This layer can also be removed and stored if you find yourself getting too hot once you start boarding.
- The final layer needs to be warm but also waterproof yet breathable, to protect you from the outside weather but let any moisture from the other layers out. Snowboarding jackets contain what is called a snow skirt which is attached to the snowboarding trousers so that there is no gap and snow cannot get in. Snowboarding trousers are made of the same breathable fabric as the jacket, and they have stud fasteners which can be attached to the boot laces to stop the trousers from riding up when the boarder moves.
- Gloves are also essential, especially for those who may be spending more time in the snow rather than on it! They are made from the same fabric as the jackets and pants, and will stop the rider’s hands from getting cold and allow them to the handle the board.
- Neoprene – this is one of the most popular fabrics used in snowboarding clothes. It is a type of rubber which is also used in wetsuits, and provides extreme insulation. It is used mainly in jackets, trousers and gloves to provide insulation. It is a very flexible material so does not restrict the boarders movement. In more extreme snowboarding climates some boarders may also wear neoprene facemasks to protect themselves from wind chill and bite. You should make sure that the jacket, trousers and gloves which you buy or use contain neoprene.
- Gore-tex – this is a breathable fabric which is used in snowboarding clothing to provide insulation, but also to let out moisture when the boarder starts to warm up and may sweat. It is an exceptionally thin layer which means that it will not prohibit movement, and typically comes in the form or a vest or mid-weight mid layer. This means that you can easily take these garments with you if you are not sure whether you will be warm enough, and can remove or add them according to how the weather progresses during the day.
- Poplin – this is the type of polyester which your first layer of clothing should be made out of. It is a cheap yet sturdy fabric, and will get rid of any sweat which may be produced. It is advisable to look for first layer clothes which contain this fabric.
Although ultimately these clothes are to offer protection and warmth whilst you are on the slopes, but there is a great deal of fashion also involved with which ones are chosen.
- Burton – Jake Burton, who was influential in the invention and introduction of the sport, started this label. The company went from just making snowboards to catering for all spectrums of the snowboarders needs, from goggles to wax. The clothes which are offered today are not just practical accessories but also fashion items. There is also a range of clothing available for après ski wear. This is one of the only labels which caters solely for the snowboarding world.
- Billabong – Billabong is an Australia label which was started for the surfing world. Both Australia and New Zealand have some excellent slopes which has pushed the company into producing sports and life wear for snowboarders.
- Volcom – Volcom was originally a skating label, which now produces clothes that are suitable for the piste.
- Oakley – This label originally made sunglasses, but is now the main issuer of goggles for snowboarders. They also provide a range of glasses for snowboarders when they are not boarding.
- Roxy – This label is solely for girls and is synonymous with extreme sports, and is especially common amongst the surfing and skating crowd. With the increase in the past few years of girls participating in the sport, it was only natural that a clothing label would cater for their needs. They do a large range of life wear, which is suitable for all climates and situations.