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Snowboard Gear Guide

Tried-and-true and new suggestions from the industry's top talent

by Graham Hiemstra in Tech on 26 October 2011

Most perennial snowboarders don't buy an entirely new set-up every winter, knowing that nothing fits better than perfectly worn-in gear. To see which pieces have stood the test of time, we polled a group of the industry's top pro riders and editorial experts to find out the boards they're hyped on for 2012, and the single piece of gear they continue to rock year after year. Below are their favorites plus two of our own.

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Austin Hironaka

Professional Snowboarder

Seattle-based pro snowboarder Austin Hironaka looks forward to riding the newest iteration of his longtime board of choice, the 2012 Ride Machete. This all-around freestyle board features Lowrize rocker, meaning it's flat between the bindings with a slight reverse camber raise at the nose and tail contact points. This makes the board responsive while keeping contact points raised from the snow to help prevent catching an edge.

For his favorite piece of past gear, Hironaka is rarely without his black Airblaster Seaman beanie. This timeless tuque fits well with classic boarder style on and off hill.

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Nick Lipton

Senior Editor at Yobeat

Born and raised in Portland, recent Chicago transplant Nick Lipton will be ripping the Midwest flatlands on the 2012 Capita Ultrafear FK. A relaxed reverse camber shape throughout gives it a fun feel, while the collage of graphics from the 2012 Capita line adds a touch of glam and gore to the topsheet. This board is perfect for lapping the park and straying into the trees on powder days.

For all weather conditions Lipton is forever hyped on the 2008 Holden CFM Jacket. This workhorse of a coat has fully-taped seams to keep heat in and water out. Plus the vintage twill fabric looks great even years later.

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Jason "Hondo" Newman

Online Editor at Transworld Snowboarding

Now based in San Diego, Hondo spent years in Utah running with the best. He's looking forward to lapping the park with the 2012 Salomon Salomonder. This "urban assault vehicle" is at home in the park and on the streets. With a flat camber and loads of pop, it's the standard for the best rail riders in the game.

Hondo relies on the 2009 L1 Mendenhall Down Jacket even after years of abuse. Plenty of tech, 10k waterproofing and just enough style make this puffy coat ideal for the hill and beyond.

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Corey Smith

Professional Snowboarder, Art Director at COMUNE

Another Northwest native, Smith now calls L.A. home. For 2012 he picked up the Capita Totally fk'n Awesome for all his West Coast riding. Bold graphics—based on photos he shot—and tech from tip to tail earned this board its well-suited name. For pop it features camber between the feet and reverse on the ends, and for control and ease of consciousness its got elevated contact points and a RFC-certified sustainable core.

A longtime loyalist of Holden outerwear, Smith is faithful to his 2009 Holden Southside Jacket. In short, he says, it's a classic jacket that just seems to get better with time.

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Tim Brodhagen

Editor in Chief at Rad Collector

NYC-based Brodhagen is looking forward to getting some days in at Steamboat Springs, CO on the 2012 Burton Fishcuit 50. Designed by the legendary Terje Haakonsen with loads of rocker and the iconic swallow tail, this is the ultimate powder board, feeding on the steep and deep.

Brodhagen stands by his Analog puffy jacket he bought back in 2000. Featuring a two-tone colorway and zip-off sleeves, it's as classic and "ill" as he's ever seen.

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Chris Owen

Editor in Chief at Snowboard Magazine

Chris Owen has access to some of the most varied terrain in the world, and for this year's riding the Boulder, CO resident is stoked on the 2012 Yes Basic. Designed to tackle all conditions, this quiver-killer has everything you need and nothing you don't. Go from park to mountain with slightly directional flex and Camrock— traditional camber between the feet and reverse camber under the bindings.

For years, Owen has relied on his Backcountry Access Chugach shovel for everything from building cheese wedge kickers to digging out fallen comrades in avalanche territory. This one's a definite must-have for anyone considering venturing out of bounds this winter.

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Desiree Melancon

Professional Snowboarder

Southern California dweller Melancon is looking forward to winter on the 2012 Salomon Gypsy. Made specifically for the female ripper, this "freestyle" board is ideal for hot laps in the park and slushy spring days.

Four years ago Melancon found a flannel at a thrift store and has yet to find anything better, as either a base layer in winter or solo in the summer. Coincidentally, word has it Bonfire may have a collaboration in the works with a certain heritage flannel maker, so keep an eye out this winter.

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Mary Walsh

Freelance Writer and Snowboard Marketing Director at Windells Camp

Calling the East Coast home means flat terrain and cold winters, and under these conditions Walsh plans to carve up ice coast groomers on the 2012 Rome Lo-Fi Rocker. This stick's got plenty of flex for pressing and Freepop camber—flat under feet and rocker on tip and tail—making it an all-mountain machine.

After three seasons Walsh is never on hill without her NXTZ tube, Waterville Valley edition. The moisture-wicking neck warmer and face mask protects against wind burn during the cold New Hampshire winters and blocks harsh rays of the Oregon summer sun.

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Josh Rubin

Founder and Editor in Chief at Cool Hunting

An avid traveler and long-time snowboarder, Rubin calls NYC home. For 2012 he's looking forward to getting some time on the 2012 Ride Highlife UL. Super lightweight and built to float, it features a unique all-mountain shape from a rockered tip to camber under the feet and tail.

For layering, Rubin remains loyal to a now-10-years-old Ibex merino wool vest. Perfect for nearly all conditions and made in the USA with double-layered New Zealand wool, it'll keep your core warm—plus, without sleeves it won't bunch.

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Graham Hiemstra

CH Contributor and Semi-Retired Snowboarder

Now based in NYC, this Northwest native always appreciates a good powder board like the ultimate slayer, the 2012 K2 Gyrator. As the first board to introduce reverse camber technology to a now-obsessed industry, this powder hound will keep you afloat in everything from Utah's champagne powder to Cascade concrete.

When it's too nippy for shades, the Oakley O-Frame has been Hiemstra's go-to goggle for the past ten years. Lenses swap out in seconds and the timeless aesthetic has lasted through every style shift, from food court gangster to Mt. Hood gypsy.

All boards and most gear can be found online from either Evo or Tactics board shop.

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