Boarders’ outfits have a sort of grunge look. Loose, almost sloppy. This is not a matter of smart-ass styling. It’s simply one of being suited for the occasion. The loose fit is essential because snowboarding involves a lot more twisting and turning and bending than regular skiing does.

Since riders frequently drag their hands in the snow, their gloves need to be well reinforced and have long cuffs to keep out the snow.

The rider’s parka has reinforced side panels - designed to protect the garment when the snowboard is carried. It’s also longer in the back than a regular parka, or has a drop seat to protect the butt from the snow.

The jeans are huge and insulated, with reinforcement on the seat and the knees - also for protection when falling, sitting, or kneeling on the snow.

Boarders also wear $10 imitation Arnet sunglasses, and “beanies” - snowboardese for those goofy-looking, extra-tall watch caps - and they talk in their own private code about such things as “fat air,” or a “sick quarter-pipe,” or “hucking your puck,” which clearly doesn’t ingratiate them to the, well, established skiers.

But if their hip-hop attitude offends some, when the expert snowboarders take off on their wild maneuvers, doing a mute, a lein, or a
nuclear stiffy, spinning through space like tops, sailing off cliffs at speeds that are almost frightening to watch, they win deep respect for their daring and skill.

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