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As much as we'd like to pretend it's not true, when it comes down to it most snowboarders are gear geeks. Of course, unlike surfers (who need little more than a wetsuit and a board) or skaters (shoes and a board) we have a reason to be - snowy mountains are cold, unforgiving environments. We need a certain amount of kit just to survive. That said, there's an awful lot of snowboard kit that has nothing to do with survival, and everything to do with making your day on the hill more fun.
These are our favourite 'extras' for the 2013-14 season, which range from the near-essential (base-layers and goggles) to the simply entertaining (headphones).
Scroll through the outfits using the numbers below or click on each name to jump straight to the review of a particular brand. NB. The kit presented on these pages are in alphabetical order – this ISN’T a countdown from 31 to 1.
[part title="Anon M2 & Adidas ID2 Goggles"]
ANON M2 GOGGLES REVIEW
Lens: Green Solex
Anon, Burton’s goggle brand, have been around for years making solid goggles, but they’ve made a serious splash recently with the launch of their ‘magna-tech’ frames. These use a series of magnets to attach the lens to the frame, removing the need for fiddly pop-in and out systems and making changing your lens much, much quicker and easier. The first frame to feature the new technology was the M1, which is being followed for the 2013-14 season by this, the M2.
It’s a large goggle with a frameless design, offering an excellent all-round field of vision. This has 8 magnets as opposed to the M1’s six, which attach then lens with a combined force of 22 lbs (9kg). This means that the lens is easy enough to remove but is attached strongly enough so it won’t pop off if you stack it. It really works too, switching lenses between the green solex one showed here and the black, bright light one that comes as a spare with this colourway was easier than any other goggle we’ve ever tried.
ADIDAS ID2 GOGGLE REVIEW
Colour: Shiny black
Although they’ve only started making snowboard boots recently, Adidas have been making snowboard goggles for years. They’ve had a long history of supporting the UK scene, having sponsored the likes of Johno Verity, Adam Gendle and Tim Warwood back in the day. Their current team includes Angus Leith and Dom Harington. The ID2 is one of their staple goggles, a classic model that is updated with new colour combos each season.
It’s quite a small, simple frame, so ideal if you’re not after the oversized gangster look. Our test version had a grey lens, which is designed for bright days, although it’s not quite as reflective as say an iridium lens. Our testers thought these were comfy and classy and for a great all-round choice, especially for the price.
[part title="Dragon NFX & Dye CLK Goggles"]
DRAGON NFX GOGGLE REVIEW
A couple of years ago Dragon shook up the snowboard goggle market by releasing the first ‘frameless’ goggle. Rather than clipping into a surrounding frame, the lens on the APX goggle snapped onto the front covering it completely. This not only offered excellent peripheral vision, but also made changing the lens quicker and easier than it would be on conventional goggles. Late last season, they released a second model that used this same ‘frameless’ approach, the NFX. Like the APX it’s oversized, but the lens is a cylindrical shape rather than a spherical one.
Despite the fact that it’s only been on the market for half a season, the NFX has proved very popular, no doubt helped by the fact that Dragon always include a free spare lens with the goggle. The NFX offers excellent peripheral vision, and if you’re into the big goggle look, you won’t find much bigger than this. Whitelines’ online editor Sam Oetiker has been wearing these all season, and loves the way they fit to the face and ease with which you can change the lens.
FIND YOUR NEAREST DEALER AT: dragonalliance.com
DYE CLK GOGGLE REVIEW
Colour: Bjorn Leines Pro Model
Lens: Smoke silver
DYE only started making goggles for snowboarding a few years ago, as a major player in the paintball equipment market, they have an impressive pedigree when it comes to making performance eye-protection. They’ve signed a pretty impressive team to rep their snow goggles too, including Dan Brisse, Aaron Biitner, Markus Malin and Bjorn Leines.
This goggle is in fact Bjorn’s signature model, a special colourway of the CLK. The large frame apparently takes it’s name from the ‘click’ mechanism which allows you to change the lenses very by pushing a button release. It’s quick, easy and effective, which is why these were an obvious choice for the Whitelines 100.
[part title="Electric EGB2 & Giro Blok Goggles"]
ELECTRIC EGB2 GOGGLE REVIEW
Colour: Gloss White
Californian eyewear brand Electric have an impressive pedigree in board sports, with a background in surfing and a strong surf team. On the snowboard side, their riders include Pat Moore, Mark Sollors and Andreas Wiig as well as legends like Peter Line and Trevor Andrew.
The EGB2 is a fairly new frame, but you’d never guess it – the styling here is old-school, and deliberately so. Rather than try and make oversize goggles, Electric are going for a look that’s a bit more understated and a bit more classic. The colour scheme on our test model – plain white with a simple, all weather bronze lens - is in keeping with the shape.
GIRO BLOK GOGGLE REVIEW
Giro was founded in the mid-80s by a Californian called Jim Gentes, and has since gone on to become one of the most successful makers of helmets and goggles not only for snowboarding, but also for cycling. The Blok is a new model for the 13-14 season. Like the Electric EGB2 the lines of the frame are fairly classic (Giro refer to it as the “badass retro" look) and the colours are pretty simple.
The lens, an iridium style bright light option that Giro call the ‘flash’ has been designed in conjunction with the camera lens company Carl Zeiss, so you can be sure the quality is top notch. The lens is interchangeable.
[part title="Oakley Canopy Goggles"]
OAKLEY CANOPY GOGGLE REVIEW
Colour: Mint leaf
Oakley is one of the biggest players in eyewear, not just in snowboarding, but across all sports. I mean how many other companies can boast having both Bradley Wiggins and Torstein Horgmo on their team? In fact, their range extends even further than that – look closely at most pictures of American troops serving in Afghanistan and you’ll notice that their sand goggles and sunglasses have the ‘O’ logo on the side.
The Canopy is a fairly new frame from the California-based company, designed to combine the large field of vision offered by frames like the crowbar and the airbrake with the lower profile, more fitted shape of the A-Frame. The idea is that not only will these goggles be less bulky on the face, they’ll also fit helmets more easily. Like all Oakley goggles the lenses in this are made of something they call ‘Plutonite’ which not only blocks all harmful radiation but is also impact resistant – it’s apparently tested by firing “a quarter-inch steel shot from a pneumatic canon at 102mph!" The nose-piece on the goggles is Oakley’s patented ‘O arch’ a rigid bit of plastic that won’t crunch your nose or impede your breathing. The test model we tried felt comfortable and lightweight - it sat easily on the face. The bronze mid-light lens shown here is pretty versatile too, designed to handle most conditions.
[part title="Smith I/O"]
SMITH I/O GOGGLE REVIEW
Colour: Bob Smith Retro
Smith are one of the best-respected goggle makers in the business, with a team that includes the likes of Scotty Lago, Scott Stevens and Xavier de le Rue. Based in Idaho, they have a unique testing facility up in the hills - a cabin on a disused mining concession. Every year they construct what’s basically a backcountry park, with a whole series of mega-booters accessed by snowcat, for their team to hit as documented in the Prospecting Idaho series. The company wasn’t always so big though. It started back in 1965, when Dr Bob Smith, an orthodontist by trade started building goggles “using dental tools, foam and glue".
This special version of the I/O, with its retro striped strap, and yellow lens is in fact a homage to the good doctor and his original models. The colours may be retro however, but the frame isn’t. The I/O is one of Smith’s staple shapes, with a sophisticated lens-switching system that makes changing your visor to suit the light conditions easy. As well as this low-light lens, our test model also came with a bright light mirror, and our test team was impressed by how easy it was to switch between the two. The fit is large offering a good field of vision, but not over-sized. And the foam was comfortable around the face. Smith do make larger variations on this basic shape to fit bigger and smaller faces, which they call the I/O X and the I/O S respectively.
[part title="Anon Rodan & Bern Watts Helmets"]
ANON RODAN HELMET REVIEW
This winter Burton have stopped making helmets under the RED brand and have released a range under the Anon umbrella. So while this is technically Anon’s first year making helmets, in practise they had a wealth of experience to draw upon when designing the new range. This Rodan helmet is a mid-level model with a mini-peak. It’s got removable ear-flaps, a comfy chin strap and a Boa fit system which means that one-size fits all.
BERN WATTS HELMET REVIEW
Bern claim to have invented the skate-style peaked helmet, and they have the patent to prove it. This is their second-generation model, and they’ve emphasised that peak by making it a different colour. There are two versions of this helmet available, the EPS foam one, which meets European Union safety standards for snowboarding, and the hard hat version, which is lighter but doesn’t meet the safety criteria. It’s worth making sure which one you’re buying as they look the same.
[part title="Pro-Tec Riot & Giro Combyn Helmets"]
PRO-TEC RIOT HELMET REVIEW
Pro-Tec claim the Riot is “one of the lightest certified helmets in the industry" and we have to say, we were suitably impressed by how little this weighed. It meets all the standard safety certification criteria, and has a skate style peak so you look dope while riding it. There are other style features too, like the ‘gaper gasket’ designed to prevent the ‘gaper gap’ (or us Brits know it, the ‘twat-gap’) that appears between your helmet and goggles and leaves a strange-looking stripe of sunburn on your forehead.
GIRO COMBYN HELMET REVIEW
Giro’s Combyn is a brand new model for the 2013-14 season, which features their new ‘soft shell’ technology. This doesn’t mean it’s actually soft, it just means that the ‘vinyl nitrate’ foam inside is more impact-absorbent than the conventional EPS found in most helmets. This makes the helmet is capable of absorbing multiple minor knocks without having to be replaced. And as Giro’s publicity bumf points out, hard knocks are “the inevitable price of progression". Our testers found this comfy and lightweight.
[part title="Slytech Backpro XT Naked & Forcefield Boom Shorts"]
SLYTECH BACKPRO XT NAKED PROTECTION REVIEW
According to Slytech this is “a dramatic shift" over their previous 2nd Skin Back Protector model, which was already popular with pros and ordinary riders alike. Their tech geeks apparently “kept running up against performance walls" with the polyurethane foam they had been using, and so switched to EVA, which is much more tough and durable, particularly at low temperatures. When it’s worn next to your body and warms up, the EVA foam becomes even more flexible and “moulds to the contours of your body like clay". Not only does this make it more comfortable to wear shredding around, but it prevents the risk of any oddly-angled pieces digging into your back when you fall. Back protectors are not for everyone, but if you do feel safer with one, this is well worth checking out.
FORCEFIELD BOOM SHORTS REVIEW
Forcefield is a British-based brand that focuses exclusively on protection and body armour. They have an impressive reputation in motorsport, providing protection for various Moto GP racers and teams, and have brought the expertise they acquired in those fields to bear in designing protective gear for snowboarding. It’s not for nothing that the GB Snowboard Cross team has picked them as an official supplier, or that Jamie Nicholls and Jenny Jones rock their kit.
The Boom Shorts are new model for the 2013-14 season, featuring their soft armour pads at various key places around the thighs, buttocks and coccyx. These meet the recognised European safety standards. The shorts themselves are made of ‘becool’, a technical fabric designed to wick moisture (for which read: sweat) away from your body. They’re machine washable so long as you remove those pads. If you feel your arse needs protecting from the ravages of rails, rocks or icy impacts, check these out!
[part title="Dakine Fillmore Mitt & Analog Gentry Mitt"]
DAKINE FILLMORE MITT REVIEW
Dakine have a reputation for making great gloves of all kinds, but particularly the sort of mitts that serious backcountry riders need for spending whole days out in the cold. This Fillmore Mitt is a case in point. With 230g of insulation, it’s quite seriously warm – on Dakine’s own internal scale it’s rated 4 out of 5 – and it has features like nose wipes on the thumbs, and a leather palm to help with grip, all for a very reasonable £50. German pow-riding powerhouse Elias Elhardt has chosen a blue and white version of this glove as his signature model, and having worn them ourselves, it’s easy to see why.
ANALOG GENTRY MITT REVIEW
Analog have been producing a version of this big logo mitt for a few years and it’s proved highly popular not only with backcountry shredders like their team riders Danny Davis and Mikkel Bang, but also with new school street rail rats. It has 180g of insulation and a comfy fleece lining, so it’s pretty warm. Our favourite feature though is the cuff, which complements the Velcro tab with an adjustable webbing strap, which is easy to pull closed with your teeth if you’ve got the other glove on. This makes it extra difficult for snow to get inside.
[part title="Park Frag Pipe Glove & Volcom Puff Give Mitt"]
PARK FRAG PIPE GLOVE REVIEW
Park are a Manchester-based brand founded by local shred enthusiast (and former Whistler seasonnaire) Joe Park. Starting out as the result of a late-night conversation over a few too many bottles of wine, the company has grown from making a few t-shirts for Chill Factore locals to selling hoodies, hats and of course gloves to shops across the country and even in Europe.
Like all pipe gloves this is designed to offer a basic minimum of protection while allowing for maximum movement. The neoprene and polyester mix will stop your hands from over-heating on the kind of hot slushy days these are designed for. Whitelines’ deputy editor Tristan wore this model a lot last season and was impressed with how well it held up.
VOLCOM PUFF GIVE MITT REVIEW
Volcom’s gloves and accessories are – like all their kit – made to the highest standards. This awesomely-named mitt is a prime example. It’s seriously warm, with a fully breathable outer made of Gore-Tex and thick insulation. The lining is sort, comfy fleece, and the palm is reinforced to stop it splitting when you’re carrying your board.
While there are no wrist leashes, there are goggle wipes on the thumbs and they’ve put thought into things like the zip on the gauntlet, which is chunky enough to do up with a mittened hand. None of this tech comes cheap of course, but if you’re looking for seriously technical gloves that’ll keep you warm out in the wilds, these are a great option.
[part title="Burton Riders' Backpack"]
BURTON RIDERS PACKS BACKPACK REVIEW
Burton have been making bags for snowboarders since the late 80s, so they have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t. The Riders’ Pack, which we’ve selected in two different colourways for the Whitelines 100, is a great example. As well as looking pretty cool in both Black (left) and Mocha Block (right) this is absolutely ram-a-jam with useful functional features, especially for backcountry riders.
There’s the horizontal board carry on the back and the vertical board one on the front, flanked by two easy access side pockets. There’s the clip straps on the side that mean you can make the bag thinner when it’s empty, so it hugs your back more effectively and doesn’t pull you off balance. There’s the comfy waist strap with external pockets for small items and the fleece-lined goggle pocket designed to stop your spare lenses getting scratched. Inside, the bag has a capacity of 25 litres, so it’s big enough to hold most things you’d need for a day hiking lines. It also has specially-designed compartments for your shovel, probe, and splitboard poles, as well as a compartment for your Camelbak with a hole to pass the pipe through. All of this is finished off with a reinforced back panel to stop anything sharp from jabbing into you. In fact, the only thing these excellent bags are missing is the kitchen sink.
[part title="Dakine Helipack & Volcom Symtop Pack"]
DAKINE HELIPACK REVIEW
Dakine have always made great bags and this latest version of their classic Helipack is no exception. The 11L capacity is easily enough for the essentials – shovel, probe, water and a couple of cereal bars. It has comfy straps and a bunch of useful features, including a vertical board carry, a diagonal carry that’s useful if you need to hike with your split skis (or heaven forbid, actual skis) on your back, and an isulated ‘hydrosleeve’ for the pipe from your Camelbak that runs inside the shoulder strap, stopping it from freezing in extreme cold. Our test model was also decked out in Rasta colours, which got us feeling irie.
VOLCOM SYMTOP BACKPACK REVIEW
This is more of an off-the-hill carry bag than a serious backcountry accessory. But as Brits, we know all too well that snowboarding for the most part involves travelling, so something as large, comfy and functional as the Symtop Backpack definitely comes in handy. This one is specially designed to keep a laptop – now pretty much an essential part of any travelling snowboarder’s arsenal - safe and secure. It’s got a heavily padded exterior, a ton of space for your stuff and more useful pockets than you can shake a stick at. This being Volcom, it looks pretty cool too.
[part title="Dalikfoda T-Shirt & Amel Backer Thermal"]
DALIKFODDA MASTER OF REALITY T-SHIRT REVIEW
Dalikfodda are a ‘Deathpunk’ snowboard brand hailing from Leeds. Founded by two friends who spent seasons together in Tignes, their love of the shred is equalled only by their love of metal music. And possibly, their love of Guinness. This quality t-shirt is a homage to one of their favourite bands the mighty Black Sabbath, with the Dalikfodda name spelt out in the font from their classic Master of Reality album.
BUY THIS T-SHIRT AT: dalikfodda.com
AMEL BACKER THERMAL BASELAYER REVIEW
British brand Amel have been making high quality moisture-wicking base-layers for a number of years now. They base their products on the principle that a thermal should not only work effectively, but also look cool enough that you can take off your jacket in the bar after riding without cringing in shame. The Backer baselayer, like all their models, is made of a cotton-polyester blend, which is great at drawing moisture away from your skin effectively but also doesn’t feel as plastic as wholly-synthetic alternatives. Having worn these for several seasons, we can also vouch for the fact that they do help keep you stench free too!
[part title="Nixon Blaster & Marley Chant Speakers"]
MARLEY CHANT PORTABLE SPEAKER REVIEW
Battery life: 6 hours
Marley is the headphone and speaker brand established by Bob Marley’s children. This is the smallest and most portable speaker they make, and it pumps out the sound pretty impressively for something so small. You can plug this into your phone using a conventional mini-jack cable and charge it off your computer with a USB, but the best feature about this is its Bluetooth connectivity, which means that your phone doesn’t even have to be connected to the speaker to play music through it. We tested the effective range at about 4-5 metres, which is probably about all you’ll ever need. All-round, it’s an excellent travel accessory.
NIXON BLASTER PORTABLE SPEAKER REVIEW
Dimensions: 218 x 95 x 45mm
Battery life: 12 hours
Nixon may be best known for their watches, but they’ve been making headphones for a number of years now, so taking the leap into speaker manufacturing was an obvious next step. The Blaster is designed to be portable and durable, and as such features a water-resistant rubber case that’s designed to absorb the kind of hard knocks a life on the road will dish out. Like the Marley, it offers Bluetooth connectivity as well as conventional cable connections. It is larger and heavier (and so by definition less portable) but it boasts a much longer battery life, giving you up to 12 hours of continuous play.
[part title="Neff Daily Fold Beanie & Ortovox Zoom+ Transceiver"]
NEFF DAILY FOLD BEANIE REVIEW
Neff have been making headwear and other accessories for years, and are one of the best-established brands in the snowboard beanie market. Their team includes the likes of Chas Guldemond, Louie Vito, Chris Bradshaw and Erin Comstock. This classy knitted roll-up beanie takes its cues from skater’s style.
ORTOVOX ZOOM+ TRANSCEIVER REVIEW
Far from being an accessory, a transceiver is actually an essential piece of safety equipment – at least if you’re planning on venturing off piste. Ortovox are one of the best-known and best-respected makers of transceivers, or avalanche beepers, in the business, this is their entry level model.
As well as all the usual functions you’d expect from a transceiver like the universally compatible search and emit modes, this has no fewer than three antennas, making pinpointing avalanche victims easier and quicker. There are also other features like the ‘automatic switchover’ to emit mode if the user is buried in a secondary avalanche, and lights to indicate multiple burials. There are more sophisticated transceivers out there (Ortovox’s very own S1 is one of the finest) but in our opinion this is the best option at this price point. Perfect if you’re starting to venture into the backcountry for the first time.
[part title="Skullcandy Hesh 2 and Crusher Headphones"]
SKULLCANDY HESH 2 HEADPHONES REVIEW
Skullcandy were the first brand to start making headphones specifically for the action sports market. Their Hesh headphones were one of the most popular in their original range, with large, on-ear cans that pumped out impressive amounts of bass. The Hesh 2 ‘phones, as the name suggests, are an upgrade on this classic model, offering better sound quality, a more comfy strap and a more durable construction.
SKULLCANDY CRUSHER HEADPHONES REVIEW
The Crusher ‘phones are a new model from Skullcandy, but play to the brand’s traditional strengths, with big cans and a stylish headband that make them perfect for that G-Unit park rat look. What sets these apart form most other headphones is they deliver basslines that you can feel as well as hear – literally. A battery-powered unit in the cans creates vibrations that match the bass frequencies, giving you a listening experience that’s like no other. You can switch this off if you really want, but if you’re into Torstein-style wobbly dubstep, you’ll want to crank it to the max. Seriously, it’s quite something!
[part title="Volcom Chainsaw Shirt & Teva Riva Winter Boots"]
VOLCOM CHAINSAW FLANNEL SHIRT REVIEW
Volcom’s reputation for stylish clothing is well established and this riding shirt (or ‘shacket’ – halfway between a shirt and a jacket) is no exception. Riffing off the grungy flannel shirt look that many modern rail riders are rocking, this is designed for late-season shredding, when the sun is out and you don’t need a full on jacket. It’s made of DWR-coated material which means it’s water resistant, and has a moisture wicking mesh lining and a comfortable cotton hood. You wouldn’t want to be wearing this and nothing else in minus 10, but for spring park laps, it’s ideal.
TEVA RIVA WINTER BOOT REVIEW
While they may not look as “dope" or “down with the kids" as skate shoes, the market for waterproof winter boots has been growing recently. In fact, several skate shoe companies have got in on the act – DVS with their John Jackson signature model and Adidas with their Jake Blauvelt ‘après shred’ boot. Teva have been making hiking boots for longer than either brand and this is their flagship winter model.
Apparently they’ve taken their “best-selling light hiker of all time" and added in extra insulation (200g of thinsulate if you’re asking) as well as extra waterproofing to keep you warm and dry in the snow. If you’re sick of shovelling the snow out of your shoes after a night out in resort, these are a great option.