The Problem With Women’s Snowboard Gear *Spoiler* – Nothing!

After reading a Whitelines article titled ‘The problem with Women’s snowboard gear’ which you can read here and I decided to write my own version.

The article basically talks about how women’s snowboard gear is all ‘girly’ with pink colours and cute kittens plastered all over it. The writer even complains that women specific boards being lighter and more flexible means the companies are almost implying that girls can’t ride as hard as guys. I rarely get annoyed when reading articles online but this one touched a nerve. Since I started riding at the age of 14 the gear available on the girls snowboard market has massively improved (I’m 22 now) companies have listened to girl snowboarders needs and have worked hard to produce products that work for everyone. These boards below certainly don’t scream ‘girly’ at me.

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You only have to visit a website like Blue Tomato to see that there is a LOT of choice out there. Not only for boards but bindings, boots & outerwear too. There is a reason you see more of the girly patterned stuff online – because it’s popular it sells well. All you have to do is click on the product and you will be surprised to see that with a lot of companies, you can buy the same product in black or a ‘less girly’ pattern. Now I don’t think I am alone here when I say that I enjoyed looking at and testing me snowboard equipment. It’s a big investment so you want to get it right, which means you need to spend time looking at all the different options.

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Once you start looking you will soon realise that there is SO many different options out there for you. Wether you ride park piste or powder you can find the perfect board/boots/bindings for you on the market already. Another thing a lot of people don’t realise is that a lot of snowboard companies do actually offer a big range of colours and patterns however shops will only buy in a small selection. It’s understandable as a small independent shop can’t risk buying in 7 pairs of the same binding just so they can have different colour options.

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If you visited ISPO the big snowsports tradeshow in Munich you would see how many products the companies are producing, a lot of effort goes into creating women’s gear that works. Anna Gasser’s pro model board is a board she loves and absolutely kills the park on – and it has cute sleeping cats on it! Anna+Gasser+Pro+Model+149+2016Companies work closely with their female team riders to find out what works best, when your competing at a high level you can’t just ride for a brand because they are giving you free stuff you need equipment that performs well. Boards aren’t just smaller mens boards that are a bit softer – A lot of research and testing goes into getting things right. I’m a sucker for cute designs and being more girly on the slopes. I still have my days where I ride in a big slouchy hoody because I don’t think you have to define yourself as being ‘girly’ or ‘tomboyish’. Why can’t you be both? Here are some more ‘girly options that I really like –

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Some of the comments on the article are really negative and one woman even said she would be ‘very suspicious of a girl with lots of pink and kittens in her getup’. Why would you judge someone based on their style?! I have a pair of mittens with kittens and pandas on them, does that mean you won’t speak to me in the lift line?! We should be giving Snowboard companies praise for all the hard work they have put in so far and yes by all means let them know what you prefer if you get the chance but don’t slate them. The girls complaining in the comments just make women seen really grumpy and miserable which is not good if you want us to be taken seriously in snowboarding. Another common complaint is the fit of girls outerwear, if you look properly you will find that every brand produces several different cuts and fits in their collections. If you were buying jeans and wanted skinny fit, you would look at skinny fit jeans – It’s exactly the same with snowboard trousers. Classic fit stuff is going to be more straight legged and drop crotch or baggy fit is obviously going to have a looser feel to it. Read the descriptions of stuff more and you will see that there is a big difference in stuff even if they look really similar on the pictures.

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The photo’s I have collected took me half an hour to find and are from only two websites – Blue Tomato & Subvert Boardstore. If I managed to find these in 2 stores imagine what you are missing out on by not looking properly. Women that buy mens gear are only making it worse for themselves, lack of sales will push companies to make their girls collection smaller. If nobody is buying products why should they make it? You have to look at the statistics and understand that there are a lot less women snowboarders than there are men. If you keep buying mens equipment then you are contributing to the lack of women’s snowboard stuff that is available. As a business owner would you invest money in women’s products that are going to be ignored in favour of mens stuff? Embrace your own style and don’t judge others for wanting to be ‘girly’ when they are snowboard. Personally I think it’s rad if a girl rocks up in the park with a flowery snowboard and kittens on her gloves then drops into the pro line with a sick cab 5. People will look and think ‘yeah! that was a girl and she is killing it!’ Wear all black if you want to, buy flowery bindings if you want to, treat yourself to those aztec print gloves, whatever you are comfortable with buy it! The main thing is, let your riding speak for itself – people will respect you way more for your style and perseverance to learn new stuff. If you stomp a clean front board in the park nobody is going to be looking at your board graphic.

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