Many years ago my brother introduced me to snowboarding. During one of our many conversation he wisely said that “one of the most important pieces of equipment is a good pair of gloves”.
I tried on many and finally shelled out just under $100 for a pair of Burton’s Gore Tex gauntlet style. They had removable liners and wrist strings so you wouldn’t loose them on the chair lift. For years I used them for everything from boarding to snow blowing and back to tossing snowballs at the kids. Simply put they were bullet proof, never leaked and my hands were always warn.
However, like myself they started showing signs of wear! At the start of this season they took a turn for the worse. The outer material started flaking off a few fingers and thread were showing in the fingers tips. Also, the thumbs lost all the outer coating and on real cold day my fingers were getting cold.
The quest was on to find replacements. At ten year plus I knew I was not going to find a pair like mine, but I really wanted to come close. I must have tried on fifty pairs of gloves and I even took a few runs in a pair of Swany X-Cell ll Gloves. They were very warm but I couldn’t get them to go over my jacket arms, just under. Two runs later I didn’t like how that felt so off they came and on went my Burtons. The other concern was how long it would take for an all leather glove to dry. Quite a while it turned out even after two runs. Thankfully the store took them back.
Other than getting gloves that I liked I also needed to get them on over my wrist guards. At this stage it’s all about making it down the hill in one piece, do I won’t board without them. After additional research I came across Hestra gloves. I ordered a pair of there Heli Gloves from backcountry.com for $ 80 and some change. According to Hestra’s sizing chart I needed a size 9, but with my wrist guards that turned into a size 10. With free two day shipping I had them in no time and at first glance I was very impressed. Like my Burton’s they have a removable liner and wrist strings, except it’s a string that attaches to the glove and an elastic material band that goes on your wrist. I don’t think you could accidentally drop them even if you tried. They feel warmer that the Burton’s as the liners are much heavier. I can easily get my hand with wrist guard into them. I may order a pair of liners that a size 9 at some point but I can use
my old liners also. All in all I’m very happy with them and I cant wait to try them out.
BTW. I did find a few loose thread on one seam but one live chat with backcountry and a replacement pair was on the way. No question asked, no hassle and they included a free UPS shipping tag.
Go here for details on Hestra Heli Gloves: http://hestragloves.com/en-us/gloves/alpine-pro/heli-glove/
Go here for backcountry: backcountry.com
Go here for details on Swany X-CELL II GLOV:
So the last time we went snowboarding I took a pretty good fall. I know I did something as my left ankle was not happy with me! A week and a bit later it’s still at me so I went to the nice folks at Lahey Clinic Burlington. A few x-rays later and a chat with the doctor it’s turns out to be a Grade-1 sprain.
When I told the doc what I did he gave me a funny look as if to say “well at your age perhaps you should stick to flat ground”, but also promoted the fact that in a few weeks we’ll be hitting the slopes for four days!
The fix is stay off it, keep it elevated and take it easy for now. I’ll give it a try and see what happens.
Yet another fine day snowboarding with the GMan at Wachusett Mountain. The condition were great (for man made) for top to bottom, but the upper half seemed better. We ended up parking in the remote parking and taking the shuttle to the mountain. Its a quick three minute ride in a fancy school bus with cranking music and creaky springs.
After suiting up and picking up the GMans rental board and boots we headed right for Ralph. It was fairly quite considering it was a holiday and the start of school vacation week. We did a few runs and them headed for the top.
We boarded for a solid four hours and I feel it now! I did take one good spill but all in all it was a wonderful day.
This is the last snowboarding lesson for the GMAN. As usual I got here at around 1:30 and snagged a few tables. The spot I normally get was gone, but I managed to find a fee more and fend off a few soccer moms to hang onto them!
The conditions on the other hand are less than perfect. In fact it like snowboarding on a slushy! On top of that it’s dotted with large ice patches. In amy event it’s better than the office.
Yesterday was # 4 of 6 for the GMan’s snowboarding lessons. I got to Wachusett Mountain at 2pm or so and staked out a few tables for the rest of the group. At 2:30 or so I was on the mountain boarding. I felt a little off on the first few runs but then I loosened up. At that time it’s really quite with no lift lines. Its nice to board right down to the lift, unclip and get right on. I round tripped for a little over 2 hours and then took a break.
Back in the lodge things were getting busy as the tour busses were all coming in. It was touch and go to retain the tables. I had to ward off unhappy soccer moms and the odd teenager. GMans school showed up around 4:10 and we got the gear squared away and got in a run before his class. Since I was out I continued to board. At this point it was getting busy, but the extra bodies on the slope provided a good reason to practice my turns. I’m all about a moving target, just not the human type!
5:15 pm. A chez burger later we were back at it until 7:45. By then my legs felt like a pile of jelly held up with pipe cleaners. I even fell getting off the lift, but in my own defense the track of ice right at the bottom on the ramp did not help. As you can guess conditions were terrible and if you were not boarding on ice you were plowing thru snow (and I use that term in jest) that felt like frozen granular sugar. Mind you not the regular white stuff, this was more like brown sugar.
I managed to stay upright the entire day with the exception of the above mentioned ice induced incident. I did have a few near misses that I saved in one fashion or another. I trying really hard to not look at my board, keep my weight over my forward leg and bend at the knees. Put all that together, turn without thinking about it and keep looking in the direction I want to go in and it all seems to come together. I can’t be certain of this but I may even look like I know what I’m doing!
Went snowboarding with the GMan and it was a blast. Condition were terrible but it was still a lot of fun. We got afternoon tickets and boarded non stop for a little over three hours. It was fairly warm but windy so the snow field like boarding on frozen granular sugar! What do you want for man made on the east coast.
I was a little sore the following day but not as bad as I expected. Only too a few hits and good tumble. I also briefly chatted with a similarly aged boarder and we laugh about the importance of making it down in one piece especially at out age!
All in all it was enjoyable and I cant wait for Friday and the GMans’s school ski/boarding evening.
Here’s something to think about. When I was the GMans’s age and my dad was my age I could never imagine doing anything remotely like snowboarding. Granted snowboarding is not that old and Ireland is not known for wonderful skiing conditions, but I can think of a few more things that may have happened but only other very different circumstances.