The Big 3 – Protection For Snowboarding Beginners

Snowboarding and falling over pretty much go hand in hand. If you’re a snowboarder, whether just learning or trying to dial in a new trick, you’re going to take some falls. As a result, manufacturers have produced a bunch of different protection options, all designed to reduce the chances of picking up an injury or getting hurt, to keep you riding longer and having fun, pain-free. Of course, injuries can still occur, whether that be a twisted knee or ankle – it’s not always impact injuries that you have to think about. Be sure to have all precautions in place, whether you have insurance or even a physiotherapist like CK Physio lined up for when you return from your trip or day out boarding.

As a beginner you probably have more questions – you know less about snowboarding because you’re new. So as a beginner – what are the most important safety gear items? Read on.

Matte-Black-RG-1-Core-Ski-and-Snowboard-Helmet-With-HG-1-Anti-fog-Goggles1. The Snowboarding Helmet

Arguably the most important piece of safety equipment for all snowboarders – because it protects your head.

Beginner snowboarders don’t usually ride in the snowboard park – they’re not ready to experiment with tricks and park features. They also don’t ride particularly fast, or on off-piste terrain, which can introduce the risk of colliding with trees or rocks. So why is a helmet important for the beginner?

Although you’ll be travelling slowly to begin with, you are still prone to falling.

A helmet makes sense. In particular, you’re prone to catching an edge – where one of the edges on your board bites into the snow, when you didn’t want it to, causing you to fall in the down-hill direction.

If you catch your heel edge when learning to turn, it often results in you falling backwards in the direction of travel. With the momentum involved that can mean a tasty impact to your back and/or head. Ouch.


snowboard-wrist-guard-samp22. Wrist Guards

Beginners fall over a lot. That tends to include a lot of low speed, balance-related falls. The type of fall where it’s natural to put your hands out to stop yourself…

Tempting – but dangerous. Wrist injuries are one of the most commonly occurring injuries for snowboarders.

Which is where wrist guards come in.

Wrist guards are designed to provide support around your hand and wrist.

They are effective in dealing with situations where snowboarders put their hands down to brace for a fall – which makes them useful for beginners.



Impact Shorts3. Impact Shorts

For beginners, the benefit of wearing impact shorts fits close alongside that of wrist guards. A high frequency of falls, many of which will have you landing or skidding on your ass! It is not uncommon at all for snowboarders to get some tasty bruising in that area.

Impact shorts – padded shorts – simply provide cushioning to soften the blow of falling on your butt. Beyond being a beginner, impact shorts are useful to most snowboarders, especially those who ride in the park. The main drawback is fitting the protection underneath your snowboard pants.

As a beginner, the benefits almost certainly outweigh the drawbacks. You will fall on your butt and it will be annoying. Impact shorts will help.


As you progress you may view the situation differently. Depending on your style of riding, the types and frequency of falls that you take will change. The cost/benefit of wearing them will change.


  • Reply January 9, 2012

    Ian O

    Good advice,
    I would like to think i am leaving the beginner status to be more intermediate but i’ll probably still stick with these 3 bits of kit!
    Why? well…
    1) Helmet = second day on proper run and caught a edge.. head, board, head, board for a distance down the hill on ice..
    & have been hit by others at speed so its not just my own skills to watch out for!

    2) Wrist Guards= always worn mine, had not had any injury, plus the amount of times i’ve seen a boarder coming out of a medical room/station in resort with a sling on and their wrist wrapped up! (I only get 5 pos 10 days on snow.. don’t want to miss any due to hurting myself!)

    3) Impact shorts = obvious protection Also extra layer of warmth/padding on my @ss while on lifts/doing up bindings/ having a beer at lunch!!! etc..

  • Reply January 10, 2012


    Hey Ian,

    yep, I’m still wearing a lid and don’t plan on changing that. I’m not wearing wrist guards, but there are times when I think I’d benefit from some impact shorts!

    I kinda got out of the habit of wearing them, whilst at the same time, I don’t think the ones I have are the best option (Dainese)… there are others that are lower profile and have less rigid, but more consistent padding.


  • Reply January 13, 2012


    I almost always wear helmet, wrist guards and butt pads. In the last 2 days of my recent trip to Les Arcs, I left the wrist guards out. There was so much pow everywhere that I couldn’t see how I could injure my wrists! They’re back on now for my visits to the fridge where I’m trying new things on the kicker and jib features. I also have a back protector that I have only worn once, this is intended for when I try the more complex jib moves on bigger features.

    I am not so young (and heal more slowly these days) and I want to progress quickly. I’d rather put up with low-level discomfort of wearing extra protection than having my progression stalled by an avoidable injury!

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