Gear Up: Staples

Gear that stands the test of time.

Nostalgia for the artifacts that have played a part in our personal snowboarding stories is one thing—a favorite board from when you were a grom, a pair of boots you loved that’s no longer made— but gear that stands the test of time, things that have held up from the 2000s to today (or even longer) is another. While technology continues to advance, some boards, bindings, and jackets are such favorites that they evolve with the times, representing different eras of riding in the past as much as they are integral parts of snowboarding’s present. Here are just a few of these staples, perennial favorites with 2023 editions primed for the upcoming season.

Never Summer x Breckenridge Brewery FunSlinger (above)
What is a better staple than beer? I mean, it has been around for over 10,000 years. After ten years of special craft releases, Breckenridge Brewery and Never Summer are taking their annual collabs to the next level with a full drop of year-round available beer and boards that will don the same name, the FunSlinger, with a different artist behind the graphics every season. It’s a match truly made in the Rockies. For their latest B+B, the brands tapped Colorado-based artist Brandon Casey, aka @reign_cloud, to kick off the FunSlinger launch. Aging much better than a fine wine, the beer will be one of the lighter beers by Breck Brew, a crushable lager, while the Never Summer board will be an indestructible all-mountain ripper. This isn’t a hokey board that’s hanging above the bar at your local watering hole. Both the snowboard and the beer are made to rip, and the Fusion Rocker Camber, slight taper, and long list of Never Summer tech ingredients are in there to back that up (snowboard only, the beer is made of hops). Once you try either of these, you won’t want it farther away than an arm’s reach come winter. Open the fridge or go outside and enjoy (responsibly).

Smith I/O + Rome 390. p: Basher

In the mid-2000s, a phenomenon swept through the goggle industry. It brought with it a lower-volume fit that offered so much more peripheral vision than traditional cylindrical goggles. The spherical lens wave opened up new approaches to goggle design. In 2008, the one goggle leading the charge was the Smith I/O, which featured an incredibly lightweight, minimalist design that appeared almost frameless. Most notably, the I/O took aim at a completely new approach: quick lens interchangeability. Before the I/O, you’d have to fight jamming a delicate lens into a stubborn, frozen goggle frame. The whole experience sucked, and most snowboarders just opted to run one lens and deal with whatever happened. Definitely not ideal. The newest version, the I/O MAG, is already a standard in Smith’s line and features Smith’s awesome MAG lens retention system, which uses magnets in the frame and lens for a tight seal, and a retention tab on each side of the goggle frame to keep it all secure. The I/O has always been a leader in innovation, and the I/O MAG took things to whole new dimension. – MB

Year after year, the 390 Boss binding is among the top performers across freestyle and freeriding reviews, and now it is available in the Rome 20th Anniversary colorway, as well as a few others. Digging deep to find the roots of the binding, we wondered if the numbers stood for a VT area code from which the legacy brand started? Nope. Upon a short investigation, we discovered it was named after the police scanner code for drunk and disorderly, but there isn’t actually anything disorderly about the binding. Quite the opposite, the tech is tight as the 390 has evolved since it first hit shelves over a decade ago, continually being tweaked by the SDS engineers to deliver the high-performance, workhorse qualities that we loved from the start. With a FullWrap platform to keep the energy transferring where it needs, coupled with Bombproof buckles for grip and durability, these things are designed for to keep you stable in all conditions. There are no flashing lights, but it comes with some low-key bells and whistles that will improve your time behind straps. Rome’s new FastEntry tech (slightly bent straps that separate when unbuckled allowing room for your boot to get in and out without getting tangled up) is a simple solution to a long-standing problem and the AuxTech pattern on the toe and heel straps is actually a hinge-like network that disperses the connection to the boot evenly across the entire surface—aka, no points of pressure. By celebrating Rome’s 20th anniversary with the original 390 graphic highback and colorway, we’d say this binding has come full circle, but this is more than a circle, it’s 390. – MC

The 2023 Burton Cartel (top) and Salomon Dialogue SJ BOA (bottom).

Burton Cartel Bindings
The undisputed champ! The Cartel has been a stronghold in the Burton lineup since 2010 and it’s the binding that all others try and measure up to. I’ve religiously ridden the Cartel since they came out and I just can’t seem to get off them. In other words, the Cartel is the complete package: an uber comfortable, lightweight, responsive, medium-flex binding. It provides versatility and performance that is a steal at its price point. And what’s even better, the Cartel is offered in both Re:Flex and EST, so no matter what hole pattern your current board runs, there’s a Cartel that’ll pair up perfectly. – Jeff Baker

Salomon Dialogue SJ BOA
Looking to converse with the snow? Look no further than the Salomon Dialogue. The master translator has undergone several updates as boot technology and snowboarding styles have progressed since it joined the Salomon line in 2005. Since then, the Dialogue has remained a staple, existing in three forms: dual BOA, tried- and-true traditional lacing, and the freshest iteration, which blends a standard lace system with what Salomon dubs STR8JCKT, also known as SJ. The SJ system is a BOA- tightened, internal strap that holds your heel firmly in place when you really need that extra response out of your toe edge. Wrap all of this magic in a medium-stiff carcass with a flex zone beneath the upper cuff for smoother range of motion, and you’ve got yourself one kickass, all-around boot. – Mike Basher

The 2023 Ride Kink (left) and Arbor Westmark (right).

Ride Kink
You have probably had a kink in your neck at one time or another, but have you had a Kink under your feet? It feels much better. The Kink is a longtime Ride team favorite, and it’s made a splash over the years with iconic graphics, as well as the infamous denim topsheet of 2005. If you search the internet for this particular year of the board, it’s hard to find, but there are a few fossils of the era in online classifieds. From an actual seller: “Comes pre-steezed with a classic Doors, pot leaf, and Teton Village Patch.” Oh, the early 2000s. What has made the Kink endure as a staple for two-plus decades is the performance it offers at a reasonable price, an ideal combination for people who love to ride rails and know their board is going to take a beating. Of course, the Kink has plenty left for the rest of the park as well. You can go look at the specs on the Ride site, or you can just take our word for it. This board is incredible. We can’t promise that the Twin Extra Camber on the Kink will give you double the pop, but we can’t not promise that either. That is more up to the user. We can say the Quadratic Sidecut and Slimewalls give you one of the most advanced and reliable edges on a park board today, key no matter how much you like to detune or run it straight out of the box. The bottom line, there’s no hang ups when it comes to the Kink. – Mark Clavin

Arbor Westmark
For seventeen years (that’s since the 2006-07 season if you’re counting), the Westmark has been a tested-and- trusted freestyle board in Arbor’s annual lineup. While the true twin has taken different shapes over this time, becoming more blunted for a bit, and for 2023, with a new tip and tail profile for more refined pop, it’s performance in the park has remained constant. It’s no surprise that this snowboard is a favorite of Quebecois destroyer Frank April, who for years has put the Westmark through the paces in the streets. Available in both camber and rocker, the Westmark is a deck that combines playfulness and power, and continues to evolve to meet the needs of riders year in and year out. And if Big Frank approves, you know the Westmark is a board that’s worth its weight in Hand Dyed Ash Powerply and then some. – Mary T. Walsh

2023 Quiksilver Mission Gore-Tex Jacket.

Quiksilver Mission Gore-Tex Jacket
We don’t want to be long-winding, but that is how we felt after riding in the Quiksilver Mission Gore-Tex. Long winding runs. Oh, it’s long-winded? Well, we didn’t feel any wind with this jacket on because it is a great jacket. The only things winded were our bodies, tired out from a long, dry, fun day on hill. But back to the Mission at hand. Complete with fully taped seams; an adjustable, helmet- compatible hood; and plenty of well-placed pockets, this shell jacket falls into the top-tier line at Quiksilver, the Highline, but is relatively inexpensive for the Gore-Tex protection it offers. It’s been an essential part of the Quik line for a minute, thanks to its straightforward, bomber protection, and it’s also a part of the brand’s future, made from 100% recycled polyester fabric. To keep it short, this Mission is far from impossible, and you will be cruising for as long as you want while wearing this go-to Gore-Tex shell. – MC

2023 Roxy Rising High Shell Snow Pants.

Roxy Rising High Shell Snow Pants
The rise on women’s pants is always moving up and down when it comes to daily driver jeans, but trends aside, Roxy has included a high-waisted snowpant in their line for years that has remained a cult favorite season after season. This popular pant employs a high-rise, stretch waist for both fit and function, keeping snow out and streamlining the skinny-fit that the Rising High offers. While the Rising High may not be for everyone, especially with baggier fits currently in demand, it’s a classic pant that has a devoted following who know what they love and have made this snowpant into an influential essential in women’s outerwear. To button this up, this is a classic pant that is beloved for its high-waisted take on a ski resort favorite, and no matter the trends that rise and fall, the Rising High continues to be a staple silhouette every season. – MW


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