Whilst there's the classic trio of snowboarding gear - board, boots and bindings - as well as the standard jacket/pants combos, there is a whole host of other accessories that can really make or break a day on the hill.
These are the items that are left out of your board bag at your own peril, the little things that are the difference between spending a whole day carving out pow turns or sitting outside a snowboard shop waiting for them to reopen after lunch.
Horrible, shitty tube socks, stuffed into your Christmas stocking as a bargain bucket afterthought are about the worst way to treat your feet, you know, the bits of you that work the hardest on a day's riding. Thick and absorbent, they'll turn your liners into mush and your feet into transparent, wrinkly appendages that wouldn't look out of place in Gollum's cave.
Proper snowboard socks however - preferably made from merino wool - are an absolute joy. Something that'll wick away sweat and moisture whilst still keeping you warm. It may seem like an afterthought, but snowboarding really is a 'sole' sport. Something like these Burton Merino Phase socks, for example, would be perfect.
"Oh they'll have another few days left in them at least" is the familiar response when we've pointed out a friend's ratty, tattered and frayed laces whist booting up for a day riding, only for them to snap completely at the top of a favourite hike, leaving the owner forlornly stranded trying to tie them together whilst the rest of the crew vanishes whooping into the distance.
If your laces are getting a little tired, a spare pair costs nothing and can be stashed away in your jacket without a second thought. Why not spend a few pennies on some nice ones from ThirtyTwo, or other similar brand?
Everyone has thermals, but not everyone has good thermals. Just like socks, they're an easy present from vaguely interested relatives at Christmas, which means that most of us have a stash of cheap, static ridden, ill-fitting underlayers hidden away, inevitably destined for an afterlife in a land fill somewhere.
Merino is the way forward - it'll keep you dry and stank-free for days without washing - and luckily we've recently been out testing some of the best pieces on the market - you can check them out here.
Again, quality is everything here, and for an item that doesn't take up that much room in a board bag there should be no excuse for having sodden, frozen fingers.
Whilst pipe gloves are ace for spring conditions, you'll want something a bit more substantial - and inevitably expensive - for those early to mid winter trips, but investing here will save you pain down the line. Snowboard gloves take a lot more abuse from edges than ski-specific ones, so you'll want something with a leather palm as well as some appropriate insulating material. Celtek do some nice ones...
Liners are also a must, just to give you an extra heat boost on the coldest of days, and like spare laces they can squash up into a corner of your bag or jacket no problem..
Whether it's to anticipate an approaching white-out, or a just a spare in case of loosing your goggles in a tomahawk, having a spare lens stashed away is essential. On top of that, having a clean and dry microfibre lens cloth at all times will give you back up for at least one goggle full of snow. Dragon do some great quick change lenses.
Yeah, most lifts these days have a rack of screwdrivers, but what happens if your binding pops off right in the middle of a run? Or if you just really want to shut up that friends who's always complaining about his stance?
Grab yourself a little pocket sized beauty like the Burton Zip Tool, but remember that having one is no excuse for endlessly searching for the perfect binding angles - these are for emergencies only!
By now with all the tools, lens and laces you might start to feel your pockets getting a little full. What you'll need then is a backpack, but whilst the temptation to dig out your old school bag is quite strong, you should maybe consider getting something designed for the shred.
What you're looking for is something low profile that'll keep the contents close to your body to reduce swing weight, else you'll get that extra angular momentum that'll definitely cause a heel edge catch or two. Plus, if you go for something like the the classic Dakine Heli Pro it'll come with proper compartments for all your avi gear, which you should already have...
For those that have one, beards are obviously best, but if you're lacking in facial hair having a lightweight neck tube to hand is always a must. First up, it'll cover the vunerable spot around your neck through which to snow always finds a way in. Second of all though, they look damn cool, like this one from Anon.
It might seem like a luxury, but once you find yourself putting on your stinking, still damp jacket that you wore all day to go to the pub in, you'll appreciate having something to pop on whilst your main one dries out, else you'll be doubly screwed come first lifts tomorrow. Vans have some great gear for rocking around the resort.
Bringing along a piece of gym equipment on a snowboard holiday might seem a bit boorish, but as the entire WL team can attest to this pain inducing torture device is the ultimate snowboarding accessory, perfect for ironing out kinked and stiff muscles after a day's shredding. It's like having your own personal masseuse following you around on holiday, getting you primed for the next day's adventure.