When the internet first got its tentative grip on the snowboarding world, it proved to be - as it was for most things - intermittently entertaining without being particularly useful. Indeed, Whitelines' own first stab at it back in 2000 was a crude bulletin board featuring the words 'Ed Leigh smells'. We like to think we've improved things since then.
Nowadays the online element has nurtured/infected (delete as appropriate) snowboarding in every conceivable way. Online parts, insta-feeds, trip-planning, the dreaded Comments section - and, perhaps most significantly of all, shopping.
"The guys who make and sell gear are harnessing the power of ones and zeroes to get more people checking out their wares than ever"
Stores now put as much effort into their digital shopfront as they do for their actual one, and brands that once required you to hunt down a physical copy of their catalogue now offer full access to their range with a few taps of a phone.
It's not unique to snowboarding by any means, but the guys who make and sell gear are harnessing the power of ones and zeroes to get more people checking out their wares than would ever have been possible in the exclusively brick-and-mortar days.
For some, that includes embracing a an approach where brands sell directly to their customers in a move that, if done right, should mean that the prices are a lot lower - a significant factor for many in these days of stagnating incomes and rising living costs.
That’s the reasoning behind the new look for Drop MFG, a long-standing glove and goggles brand based in Vermont. They’re now selling exclusively from their website (with free international shipping on all orders over $150), leaving you with more cash to put towards your next trip.
So exactly what kind of savings are we talking? Well, take the Drop Traffic goggles, for example. With a smart, reliable magnetic lens-changing system (and a spare lens included), you’d expect them to be priced at around $200. However, you can snap them up directly from Drop for a mere $100.
We recently took a pair out at The Selection, our annual gear testing event in France, and couldn’t fault them in terms of performance. When we had cause to change the lens, it really was a piece of cake, and they remained fog-free all day.
The same goes for the Drop Roach snowboard mitts. Despite being priced at only $60, you get the full benefit of a Gore-Tex insert and Primaloft Gold insulation. Features include a touchscreen-compatible thumb and wrist leashes, and there’s also a clever tab located at the heel of your palm that makes pulling each glove on a whole lot easier.
During the on-snow test they too ticked all the right boxes, so are definitely a pair worth checking out - especially if you're heading somewhere particularly chilly.
"Despite being priced at only $60, you get the full benefit of a Gore-Tex insert and Primaloft Gold insulation"
That particular mitt is the pro model of snowboard legend Chris Roach. The talisman of the brand’s pro team (which also includes Dylan Alito and Blair McKinney), he was one of the standout talents of snowboarding’s early days, and hasn’t stopped since. The fact that he’s on Drop is reason enough to re-watch his epic '90s multi-grabbing adventures in Chile with Terje Haakonsen (below).
Then once you’re buzzing on that, head to the Drop MFG website to scope the full collection.