When it comes to buying gear for the slopes, it’s safe to say that I’m a research fanatic. I don’t rest until I’ve found the perfect piece of snowboard gear that’ll help me do exactly what I want to on the slopes (ride hard and fast), and for a great price at that.

In my books, having the right equipment is just as important as having perfect conditions if you want to have a good time. Click Here to read about the Dream Snowboarding holiday.

When it comes to research, here are a few resources and tips I’ve found useful that I thought I’d share with you.  These are my 5 best places to research snowboard gear.

1) Your Local Snowboard Gear Shop

Nothing beats talking to an expert about your personal needs. When I was developing the Ride Easy Line, the first place I went to for research were snowboard shops because I knew that they have seen hundreds of customers and would give me great advice about the problems they were facing.

However, I know that going into a shop and talking to a veteran snowboarder can be quite intimidating, especially for newcomers.  Even if you’re a seasoned boarder, here are some questions to think about to help let the pros in the shop find out what you want:

  1. At which resort are you snowboarding at most of the time? – Bonus points if you ask this while in a local shop.  What you need for Niseko will be very different from Zermatt or Whistler, so this will help your resident expert select the right kit for the conditions.
  2. What type of boarder are you? – Are you someone like me, who looks to ride fast and carve hard?  Or do you enjoy jumps and learning new tricks?  How about if you’re a beginner just looking to get to the bottom?  A quiz can be really handy to help you identify what type of boarder you are, so try this one out.

3. What’s your budget? – Letting your salesperson know how much you’re planning on spending right away can save everyone time and frustration.  Pro tip: one way to know whether you’re over or underspending is to ask yourself how often you can visit the slopes.  If you’re planning on making it a big commitment, like weekly during the season, then it’s worth investing in something more expensive.

2) Whitelines — Best Snowboards

This is one of the first sites I visit when researching because of they have some of the most comprehensive guides on the net.  I love how their yearly buyer guides cover hundreds of different brands on one page.

For example, when I want to buy a new board, I’ll spend 10 minutes scrolling through the guide, reading the concise blurbs and applying the eye test to pick 5-6 that I like the sound of.  It’s a great place to begin your research.

Here’s their latest guide for snowboards for 2017-2018.

3) Board Insiders — Great Deals

If you haven’t already, check out Board Insider’s Youtube Channel.  It’s got hundreds of videos with detailed breakdowns.

Each board is reviewed comprehensively, with 4 videos- a manufacturer overview, a review preview, a flex test and a full shred cred review.  Their board reviews are done at the end of the day by several testers who rode the board, at a real slope.

Listening to their stories about how the board handled and what they liked and disliked about it seems more convincing because you know they’ve just been riding it for the whole day, and not just reading talking points from the manufacturer.  Plus, the go pro footage of them trying out the board is sick and worth watching just for that.

It’s as close as you’ll get to trying out the board yourself.

4) The Good Ride — Good reviews

This is another website that offers great reviews, only this time, it’s from average boarders like (most) of us, not pros.  I like that their content is based off user reviews, which is great because you get to see a whole spectrum of opinions, which can help you weigh up the pros and cons before buying.  You also get linked to an official manufacturer review of the product so you can have all the information available at your hands when making a decision.

When it comes to buying, the Good Ride also has a handy feature which compares gear prices across different shops, so you know what a good deal is.  I use this site just for the price comparison feature alone.

The reviewers at the Good Ride (by their own admission) are “gear whores” with hundreds of reviews available, so go check one out.