Exactly one week until I fly to South Korea! The bag has been packed, gear has been bought and counting down has started. Work commences as soon as I land so I will be taking a little break this weekend for a wellness stay in Hanmer Springs. Just to have a little vacation in between two jobs.
I had to buy new gear this season since my set up hadn’t changed in two years. My snow pants got ripped thanks to my impact shorts and I was definitely due for some new gloves.
My boards have steadily improved in the seven seasons I spent in the mountains. It started with crappy nineties rental boards to full new set ups.
In those first seasons, my boards were second hand which served me fine, but as I got more serious into making snowboarding a career I invested some serious money into getting proper equipment. Like pants that fit and merino wool thermals.
I have had some struggles getting used to spending money on snowboards. Prices seemed so extravagant at the time. But as snowboard instructors prance around on the slopes all day long, it’s essential that you have good gear. This means waterproof, durable and fashionable.
I have grown to understand that if I want to give my clients the best possible experience, I need to be warm and have hardware that will last a whole season. It definitely makes me more relaxed when I have the right bindings, boots and thermals.
There is so much stuff out there so how do you make the distinction between good stuff and okay stuff?
I have tested out a few products and for this season, I am happy to say the gear traveling with me will be the cherry on the cake.
If you are looking to buy new gear this winter, here’s my personal review of the brands I love and will be taking with me to Korea. Be inspired, spend those dollars and feel like a rockstar this season!
Thermals, you hardly see snowboarders wearing them at all but I am telling you, when it’s a windy day and you’re riding chairlifts, you’ll thank the genius who on a particular cold day invented these woolen undies.
The brand to buy is of course Mons Royale, a clothing brand established in the nineties by a local skibum in my favorite New Zealand town: Wanaka.
Mons Royale thermals and clothing are not only very warm, they’re also incredibly sexy.
My first lookout of this season was for a new pair of mittens. I prefer them to gloves and they do keep your hands warmer. These Flylow mittens are leather, so very durable.
I have paired them with Mons Royale merino wool liners. Same story as my mittens, they last forever but most important, they prevent your fingers from freezing.
Wellness & Beauty
Food for my lips
On the coldest days the temperature in Korea drops down to about -14 degrees Celsius. Since I talk a lot while instructing, it’s essential I keep my lips silky smooth.
When I went to Korea for the first time, in February 2016, I found out that most of the girls here wear lipstick, especially on the slopes. I really liked that look opposed to the no make up style in New Zealand.
Growing up in a household that was obsessed about avoiding chemicals at all cost, I can say I’m pretty suspicious about putting lipstick on. Therefore, just before I went to Korea last year, I was on the prowl for some quality, good for your body lipstick.
That’s how I found Karen Murrell’s Natural Lipstick. They are pricey and did give me some initial resistance when I bought my first one. But they are so good that shortly after I bought a second one while in Korea and had the lipstick send to me from New Zealand.
You can order these magical lip coloring wands directly from the Karen Murrell website or if you live in New Zealand, find them in the Health 2000 stores.
Traveling with me this season is my trusted Nikita board, Sideways Sista 157. She has served me for three winters now. I initially didn’t like her as much as my other board, a Yes Emoticon 153. Sorry girl.
But as I switched boards halfway through the season last year in Korea, I found out that now prefer her to her little sister. They both deserve my love equally though but dare I say that I do love one more then the other?
Nikita Sideway Sista is a true twin and a little stiffer then my Yes Emoticon. A true intermediate/advanced freestyle board.
I started riding freestyle boards since Japan, two years ago. Park is my biggest challenge at the moment so it made sense to ride a park board. I can use all the help I can get. She’s also my preferred snowboard for exams and teaching.
Last month I was contemplating whether my Burton Lexa bindings would last two more seasons. As one of the toe straps only had a minor tear in it, they probably would have lasted. You can order binding parts from Burton if something like a toe strap needs replacement.
I got a bit excited though when I found these girls online, so I got them.
Brand new Union Milan bindings. The reason they excited me is because whenever other snowboarders talk about this brand, they’re usually trampling their feet. Union Binding Company also have the raddest team, with Belgian snowboarder Seppe Smiths and Jamie Anderson.
These are my preferred choice of snowboard brands. My other gear like jackets, goggles, helmets, pants and socks I buy from Burton, Roxy, Volcom, Darn Tough and Smith.
There is some seriously good stuff out there and I suggest you try out different brands and find your own style. The simple rule about buying gear is: if it makes you feel like a rockstar, you are a rockstar.