Desiree Melancon first caught a everyone’s eye a decade ago as one of the most progressive chicks to hit urban. She’s gone on to win countless awards, and has filmed for Think Thank’s “Brain Dead Heart Attack”, Think Thank’s “Almanac”, and Crab Grab’s “Crunchtime Movie”, to name a few. Over the last few years, however, she’s transitioned away from mostly street riding to tackling a variety of terrains, increasing her already high number of difficult tricks she can easily pull from her bag. We were able to connect with Desiree to find out what snowboard gear she likes to rock on the mountain. From her Coal Heritage Beanie on her noggin to the Salomon Gypsy she helped design under her feet, read on to discover what might also help you conquer all your mountain objectives.
Photos: Marc O’Malley.
See also: Coal Presents: United Slopes – Season 2.
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Coal Beanies and Neck Warmer
Let’s work our way down from head to toe. Coal beanies have been keeping snowboarders ears warm since 2002. Their beanies are made of high-quality materials, include nice details, and offer a toasty and super soft feel. “The best way to stay warm is to make sure my neck is covered and face is protected which makes the M.T.F Gater a go to. I also wasn’t able to take off The Heritage beanie this winter. I loved the ear flaps, fit, and top pompoms. They made me feel like a kid. Also, The Pinnacle hat was perfect for any moment riding or just needing to keep the head cozy.”
Smith Riot Goggles
When asked about her favorite aspects of the Smith Riot Goggles, Desiree says she loves them because of their low profile, smaller fit, they have lots of lens options, and they’re easy to take care of. “They also showcase an illustration I made that was first a mural that I did on the back of my best friend’s quarter pipe in his backyard. So this year’s have sentimental value!”
Owner Operator 111 Parka and Vintage Sponsor Jackets
As we all know, jackets are fun to switch up each day on the mountain, and whichever one you choose is going to largely depend on the conditions of where you are riding. Current jackets in Desiree’s rotation include her Owner Operator 111 Parka Jacket and her assortment of Vintage Sponsor Jackets. The 111 Parka has DWR to shed water, underarm venting to prevent burning up, and can be relied on for backcountry pow or built-up snow under urban rails. For those sunny Cali days back at Bear, her home mountain, Vintage Sponsor jackets are of her choosing. These upcycled ’90s gems are difficult to find, so don’t snooze if you see one you like. “Vintage Sponsor hooks me up with cool outerwear and warm clothes … Owner Operator made an incredible coat, the 111 Parka in red that I really enjoy and it’s MADE IN THE USA.”
Crab Grab Punch Mitt
Crab Grab Mittens are designed and tested in the harshest of conditions in Oregon, so you know they’ll keep your fingers toasty and dry, while extra traction on the palm of the mitten will make sure your hands don’t slip when holding your grab. One look at Desiree’s hand plants, and you’ll see what we mean.
Volcom L GORE-TEX Pant
With a solid pair of extremely waterproof Volcom GORE-TEX® pants or overalls, one thing is for sure: you’re not going to get wet. Desiree’s been riding her pair for three years, so you know they’re made well. She prefers the Volcom L GORE-TEX Pant, complete with Recco® Advanced Rescue for adventures in the backcountry, a V-Science Breathable Lining System so extra heat can easily escape, and elastic suspenders so when you dip, they dip.
Airblaster Ninja Suit
Made of extra cozy Wolverino Merino Alloy Fabric, a form-fitting hood with a ponytail hole (yes you heard that right!), and 350-degree waist zip-easy access when you need go to #2, the Airblaster Ninja Suit is the one to go with this winter to stay dry and warm. Wear it under your jacket and snowpants on the mountain or by itself when you’re locked inside the house. Bonus: you can use it as a quick make-shift Halloween costume if you’re in a bind.
Thirtytwo Lashed Snowboard Boots
The Thirtytwo Lashed is Thirtytwo’s #1 selling boot, and for good reasons. The intuition foam keeps feet supported underneath for all-day comfort. The independent eye stay keeps feet locked down and in place. And the Cozy Cuff is lined with fleece for a soft feel around your shins. But don’t take it from us. Take it from Desiree. “I think this will be my fifth winter riding that boot. They are light, easy to break in, and have a medium flex. Not too stiff not too soft. I prefer traditional lacing because that was the first thing you learned to do as a kid, tie your shoes, and it makes me feel good knowing I can still do that. Thirtytwo was also the first company to let me do whatever I wanted art-wise on my boots. So I think my design career is mostly because of that first boot they let me go to town on.” Stay tuned for when they are available one week from today.
Salomon Mirage Bindings
Desiree’s hooked on Salomon’s ShadowFit family of products, which are specifically catered for women’s bodies. Her bindings of choice are the Salomon Mirage bindings. They have tool-free Micromax so when you need to set them back for rides in the backcountry you can do so in a snap. They also feature plush straps, and a flexible heel cup for extra comfort during quick movements. Says Desiree, “Really love the way they work with my feet strapped into them. They are incredibly light and easy to use, plus I’m still running the ones I got two winters ago but just updating the straps. They last forever.”
Salomon Gypsy Snowboard
Desiree has been riding for Salomon since 2009. That’s eight years of rider-gear collaboration. This year is no different, and she relies on her Salomon Gypsy for all-mountain riding and to manage the unpredictability with resort terrain. Says Desiree, “The Gypsy has a classic camber profile and is a little stiffer, making it a bit more versatile than the standard park board. I was able to ride it in pipe, on quarter pipes, and still hit rails and jumps. I even filmed a few street clips on it. It was pretty amazing to not have to switch back and forth between boards like I was used to doing in the past. Not to mention I did all the art on it, so looking down at my feet and seeing something that I am so invested in made me feel different about this board than any in the past.”