Are You Wearing Protection?

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I was looking through the stuff that they pack inside the Neverland DVD case, and a Slytech brochure caught by eye: both Romain and Wolfgang ride with the Slytech back-protectors. Slytech are one of the sponsors of Absinthe’s Neverland; I guess their advertising has kinda worked in this situation 🙂

That doesn’t mean that I’m gonna rush out an buy some snowboarding protection – I’m not. But it did get me thinking about it.

The very first week I spent snowboarding, I went and bought some wrist guards in resort, after the second day or so. As a beginner, I fell a lot, often putting my hands out and hurting my wrists. The wrist guards seemed like a good idea.

However, it wasn’t long before I stopped wearing them. First off, I stopped falling in the way that beginners fall, so I didn’t feel that I needed them. Second, there was the risk that a nasty slam would just shift the damage from the wrist/hand to further up the arm. And finally, they were a pain to wear under my gloves…

Fairly early on, I also started wearing impact shorts. Trying out new freestyle moves, even really small ones, often ended with my landing on my ass. I found that once I’ve had a hard slam on my behind, the next time I fall, even lightly, it really hurts. You can still ride, but the thought of falling isn’t good!

But I’ve stopped wearing them also. I decided their benefit no longer paid for the feeling of wearing them: restrictive, encumbered. And they never look good. I do pack my impact shorts in my bag, just in case I need them, but I can’t remember the last time I wore them.

The only protection I do wear is a helmet. I don’t rock it all of time, but I’ll often put it on if I’m going to be riding park or off-piste. Park for the increased slams and off-piste for the potential rocks. If I’ve cruising around I probably won’t wear it.

That said, I do find that a helmet offers some goggle advantages in addition to head-protection. If you slam, your goggles probably won’t come off if you’re wearing a lid. That greatly reduces the chances of your goggles getting filled with snow; and there’s nothing worse than un-clear goggles! I also think the goggle vents are more likely to remain un-covered/un-blocked if you’re wearing a helmet, which keeps the ventilation working and therefore reduces the dreaded steaming up.

So what about you? Do you wear any protection? Or is the discomfort not worth it? Is it a style-decision? Yet more expensive kit to buy? Perhaps you feel you just don’t need it…

6 Comments

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Gavin Hope

    Hey David,

    which helmet do you use? What’s the sound quality like? I’ve been thinking about getting one of the ProTec audio helmets for a while now…?

    Anonymous – which brand do you wear? I’ve got the Dainese ones, but found the Burton ones slightly more comfortable….

    Cheers

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Anonymous

    I wear a lid and sometimes impact shorts – the shorts mainly for insulation when sat down on cold days rather than protection.

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    David Z

    I wear my helmet always, even when I’m not planning on doing anything gnarly, mostly because it’s got the audio ear pads & easy to adjust volume. That’s the only protection I’ve ever worn while snowboarding.

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Anonymous

    the impact shorts are made by “bullet” its a mountain board brand. Loads cheaper than dakine or Burton – can’t imagine they are any less robust

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Shane

    I’ve just recovered from torn ligaments and muscles (severe back sprain) from a reasonable fall…about 20ft kicker directly onto my back – stupid move I know but it happens! Anyhow I’ve just ordered the Slytech after seeing it on Neverland (what a good consumer I am!). I’m wearing it at St Moritz this weekend, I’ll post back my thoughts afterwards.

    PS: Good blog! Me like.

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Gavin Hope

    Thanks for the comments! Sorry to hear about the injury; I’d definitely like to hear your thoughts on the Slytech, and St Moritz.

    Cheers

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