Protective gear seems like it should be a good idea for snowboarding. The reason is right in the name – protective.
Such a high-impact sport naturally leads to a lot of injuries. Fails and wipeouts can result in fractures, sprains, and even serious head trauma.
Knowing that, it seems natural that protective gear should exist.
But the real question is whether it works. And if it does, what are the essential types of protective gear that snowboarders should wear?
This article has the answers.
How Many Injuries Occur Due to Snowboarding Each Year?
Snow sports are risky.
We can see that from a study entitled Incidence of injuries in professional snow sports: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science, this study states that an average of 3.49 injuries occur in snow sports every 1,000 athlete days.
Seems pretty low, right?
But bear in mind that an “athlete day” is any day any snowboarder spends on the slopes. Because the United States alone has several thousand snowboarders who enjoy the sport every day, it has several thousand snowboarding athlete days per day.
The same study points out that 200,000 injuries related to snow sports happen per year in the United States. That’s nearly 550 per day, which gives us a truer representation of how many injuries occur annually due to snowboarding.
The 5 Most Common Snowboarding Injuries
Every part of your body is at risk of an injury when you snowboard. But different parts have different risk levels. Some rarely get injured while others get hurt regularly. These are the most common types of snowboard injuries.
Falls Onto the Coccyx, Upper Legs, and Buttocks
Most snowboarding wipeouts result when the boarder lands directly onto their butt or lower back. This is especially the case for beginners who can’t maintain their balance. But even seasoned pros hurt these areas of their bodies, especially when wiping out on rotational tricks.
If you’re falling face first toward the ground, your natural instinct is to put your hands out to break the fall. That happens a lot in snowboarding, which is why wrist injuries are so common. Data distributed by American Family Physician (AFP) suggests that 23% of all snowboarding injuries happen to the wrists.
Snowboarding requires a lot of bending and twisting, all of which means you’re using your knees constantly. A lot of falls also result in landing on the knees or twisting in unnatural directions if the board gets lodged in the snow. AFP’s data says that 16.3% of snowboarding injuries happen to the knees.
Head injury rates are lower than wrist and knee rates, coming in at 9.2%. But they’re also much more dangerous. Concussions are common occurrences in snowboarding, with repeated concussions potentially leading to the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This is a brain condition that leads to mood changes, loss of memory, and several other symptoms.
These injuries occur 5.1 times per 100,000 snowboarding visits, making them fairly rare. Even so, back injuries can lead to lifelong consequences, especially if you land on a hard object and break a bone.
The 5 Most Common Protective Items
Naturally, the most common protective items are designed to prevent the most common snowboarding injuries. Here are five pieces of gear you should always come equipped with.
Rippl Impact Shorts
“How do I protect my butt when snowboarding?” we hear you cry.
Rippl Impact Shorts is the answer. These padded shorts offer a tight fit and can absorb the initial impact of a butt-first fall onto the slope or into the snow. That means the shorts do most of the work that your butt muscles and bones would have to do without them.
Burton Impact Wrist Guards
With their low-profile design, Burton’s wrist guards are the perfect addition to a lightweight setup. They fit under your snowboarding gloves and come with soft padding that absorbs impacts to the wrist. The hook-and-loop system built into the gloves also makes them easy to adjust as needed.
Giro Ratio MIPS Helmet
With its accessible pricing and premium features, the MIPS helmet is perfect for snowboarders. It offers controllable venting and has a form-fitting system that ensures the helmet stays to keep your head safe. At only 610 grams, it’s also not going to affect your speed or performance.
Rippl Impact Knee Pads
Guard your knees with pads that offer a tight fit to ensure they don’t slip down your legs. Rippl’s pads are made using breathable materials that dry quickly, ensuring that a knee-first crash into the snow doesn’t slow you down for long.
Flaxta Behold Spine Guard Vest
A tough vest, Behold features Flaxta’s proprietary Absorb, Vent, and Adapt (AVA) system to ensure a comfortable fit while offering protection. It’s certified to EN 1621-2 Level 1 standards and is lightweight enough to eliminate the stiffness many snowboarders hate with other vests.
The Verdict – Does This Protective Gear Work?
In a word…
All of this gear offers protection against the most common snowboarding injuries. Furthermore, all of the pieces we’ve highlighted have slimline and low-profile designs, meaning they’re not going to get in the way of your tricks and maneuvers.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. And with the gear we’ve highlighted in this article, you get affordable protection that may just save your life on the slopes.
Guest Post Written by Nick Smith of Rippl Impact Gear