Are You Wearing Protection?

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…

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