Gear Up: For Everyone

In recent seasons, brands are striving to release more products that are gender neutral, increasing available sizing and opening up more styles, technical benefits, features, fits, and function to a wider swath of riders. From snowboards to outerwear and everything in between, genderless gear simply provides more options for everyone, and that is a good thing for snowboarding. Here are a few of our favorites for the upcoming season.

The Vans Mountain Mule, also available in the color bone, the Sam Taxwood Signature colorway. p: Mike Basher

Vans Mountain Mule

The post-snowboarding shoe game has been changed, thanks to the Vans Mountain Mule. The open-heeled, mule design and soft leather upper says, “I have a dimly lit and dark-wooded library in my home where I spend the evenings contemplating things.” But the lugs on the Standard Snow Boot Outsole say, “The shelves of said library are filled with back issues of snow mags and the entire collection of 411.” With 100g of insulation to keep your foot warm while exuding such luxurious sensibilities, the Mountain Mule almost makes you look forward to two-more skip, because when you take off your boots you can slide your feet into these winter-ready slips. Even more, in addition to the black upper with gum sole version, the Mountain Mule also comes in bone with a black sole, the signature Sam Taxwood colorway. $60 – Mary T. Walsh

686 x Rude Girls Surface Cargo Pant and Smith I/O MAG. p: Basher

686 x Rude Girls Surface Cargo Pant

When I travel in the winter, my go-to sweatshirts all are emblazoned with the Rude Girls moniker. I’ve only been to Alberta, Canada a few times, yet I wear these hoodies with the pride of a Sunshine Village local. And that’s because Rude Girls shop manager and buyer, Abby Furrer, and her team of snowboarding schemers and dreamers have managed to transform their Banff brick and mortar into an all-encompassing community that extends far beyond far beyond the Canadian Rockies. If you aren’t familiar with Rude Girls, it’s a shop that offers all women’s gear—it’s the partner shop to Rude Boys, which houses men’s product. In the past five years, it’s blown up, much due to Abby’s commitment to the women’s side of snowboarding through the meticulously curated selection of product in store, the support provided to riders near and far, and the Rude Girls Ride Days and inclusive digital offerings. It’s a shop that represents something much larger in snowboarding: a community that’s welcoming and encouraging, full of die-hards that love to board and who will happily share their excitement with others. To this end, sweatshirts and toques emblazoned with the RG logo have been adopted by pros, ams, and industry veterans. This season, 686 has upped the ante by collaborating with the Banff crew on a pair of snowpants. The 686 x Rude Girls Surface Cargo Pant is made of a 10k softshell fabric with evolved trackpant styling, featuring cinched cuffs, low profile cargo pockets, and a logo hit on the right leg. The Surface Cargo Pant is part of 686’s Borderless Collection, which means the pant comes in inclusive, genderless sizing. All in all, it’s a spot-on combination of 686’s commitment to progressing egalitarian outerwear offerings with Rude Girls style in a pant that anyone can wear. $299.95 CAD – Mary T. Walsh

Smith I/O MAG

Once upon a time I was debating which color bathing suit to wear to a pool party, and somebody very wise told me, “Never be the one not in red.” Well, I try to keep that in mind every time I dress to go anywhere with a crowd, because the color red is powerful. Everyone with any sense knows it. Slap it on a pair of Smith I/O Mag goggles with ChromaPop lenses and some of the clearest vision in the game, and you’re basically suited up to have the best day of your life every day you’re on the slopes. $300 – Julia Spadaro

(l to r) Burton Hometown Hero, Rome Uprise Split, and Ride Psychocandy. p: Basher

Burton Hometown Hero

sizes: 144, 148, 152, 156, 156W, 160, 160W, 165W

At the Natural Selection Tour finals at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge last spring, Ben Ferguson and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott dropped in to their runs on the same board, the Burton Family Tree Hometown Hero. While Zoi and Ben have distinctly different snowboarding styles, the common thread is an agile ability to ride anything in their path, be it pow, chunder, or corduroy, with a smooth and playful style. For these two, along with basically anyone else we’ve talked to that has strapped in to this board, the Hometown Hero is favorite daily driver, a quiver killer capable of blasting through slush, winding through tight trees, and floating turns when the day is deep. The Hometown Hero boasts Burton’s Freeride Directional Shape and a 12mm taper, increasing buoyancy in fresh snow white maintaining maneuverability. This is further enhanced by a Directional Camber Bend—camber between the feet and rocker under the nose—and a symmetrical flex, which work together for secure edge hold that is fun and lively. Simply put, the Hometown Hero has got it all, and Burton has made sure there are lengths for everyone. The entire Family Tree Line is genderless, built in sizes that are accessible for any rider of any body size. $599.95 – Mary T. Walsh

Rome Uprise Splitboard

sizes: 153, 158, 162, 165

Splitboarding is fun. You get to spend the day outdoors while you work your body and even score some turns on ungroomed terrain. Splitboarding is also expensive and requires a lot of gear. Let me give you a little unsolicited pro tip: Buy the Uprise Split from Rome and you can walk with your head high knowing you diversified your purchase a little bit. You can ride this thing. You can give it to your nephew to ride, or your sister, or your girlfriend, or your roommate. That’s the beauty of it: It’s for everyone. No rules or regulations. Also, it’s compatible with any traditional splitboard-specific binding, so go wild! $569.95 – Julia Spadaro

Ride Psychocandy

sizes: 138, 142, 146, 150, 154, 158

It’s 2021 and honestly the concept of gender has been chucked out the window to get chewed up by a dog, swallowed, and disposed of elsewhere. Especially when it comes to snowboards. While there are undeniable differences between a man and a woman’s biological makeup, these differences really should have no effect on what snowboards we should be riding. You’re a chick? Shrink it and pink it. You’re a dude? Okay, here’s everything else. Excuse me, I probably sound bitter, but the days of exclusively rainbow-and-cupcake graphics on tiny, light women’s snowboards are over. Please someone tell me they’re over.

Thanks for answering my cries, Ride. The experts over at Ride Snowboards noted the success of the Psychocandy, a directional all-mountain board, and thought, Wow, we should make this thing accessible to all riders by adding a couple sizes. So that’s what they did. It’s a volume shift board based on the classic and proven Warpig, designed to be ridden three to six centimeters shorter than your standard board. I’ll tell you from personal experience—this is the board you want on a deep powder day. Thing floats. And it’s a graphic we can all get behind. $519.95 – Julia Spadaro


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