Know your budget: The Ski + Board Swap offers great gear at great prices, and having some prices in your head will help narrow choices. Check out online sites like ebay.com or geartrade.com to find out what used equipment is going for.
Know your sizes: Read the info below to find what you should be looking for. Ski boots aren't always labeled with US sizes, so know your converted size. Ski and boards should be matched to users height, weight, and ability. Beginners might benefit from smaller sizing for easier maneuvering.
Know your gear: Most downhill ski bindings will fit most downhill boots. Snowboard bindings and boots are also easily interchangable, though a few unique systems exist. Cross-country bindings and boots need to match, and both come in various styles. Old-school "three pin" systems are still beloved by some enthusiasts. Newer styles often break into two choices (ala VHS vs Beta video cassettes); both SNS and NNN systems may look similar at first glance, but do need to match.
Know you're safe: Before stepping out into the snow, make sure your equipment is set properly. Downhill ski bindings must be adjusted to fit the boot length, and skier's size and ability. Snowboard bindings need to be spaced and rotated for the proper stance. On your first day out, remember to stop in the Rental Shop to have your bindings adjusted!
Downhill ski boots are usually measured in 'mondo point' sizing, and cross-country boots are usually measured in European sizing. Knowing your US boot size conversion will make the hunt easier.
Snowboard boots are generally measured in US sizing.
- Click on the chart to enlarge.
Shopping the Ski + Board Swap can be a daunting task if you're just starting out. The buffet of gear ensures something for everyone, but finding the right equipment flusters many. View the PDF files below to help with sizing:
Downhill skis should be parabolic shaped, with tips and tails wider than the midpoint. Length should be matched with skier size and ability. Downhill ski poles should be about elbow height.
Classic poles should fit to about armpit height for best technique
Cross-country (or Nordic) skiing is an excellent low-impact exercise. Getting gear to get on the trails begins with style: classic (side-by-side) is generally best for beginners, and skate-skiing can offer a more intense cardio workout. Also, cross-country skis are either waxless or waxable; waxless is easier to maintain, and usually best for beginners.
Snowboarding is a challenging sport to master. Matching board to rider should be based on use style. Terrain park riders might find a slightly smaller board easier to maneuver, whereas carvers like more length to hold an edge.