Beginners at snowboarding will only need one lesson to realise the virtues of snowboard protection shorts, as that first lesson will be spent mainly on their backside. This is not just from falling (although, there will be plenty of that!), but also, as skiers will gladly point out in a mocking manner, from sitting down on the snow. It doesn’t matter what standard a snowboarder is, standing still on an edge, on a slope, is not very easy or comfortable to do; so we sit or kneel. Protection shorts are perfect for adding that additional cushioning layer to stop your backside getting cold on the snow.
Off course, protection shorts are so much more that just a cushion to sit on the snow with! Unlike skiers, snowboarders tend to fall either directly backwards or forwards. When falling backwards the first point of contact will be the backside and protection shorts will help minimise the bruising so it won’t look like you have starred in your own S&M movie.
Good protection shorts will also protect your Coccyx. This is the part at the base of the spine and for those who have felt that dagger like pain shoot up their spine when landing badly from a kicker or rail, will know how vital it is to protect the coccyx.
When choosing protection shorts make sure that they cover the whole of your backside including your coccyx. This may sound obvious, but I recently reviewed an expensive pair that used the latest technology gel cushioning, that hardens on impact and dissipates the force. This was all very well and the technology did work, but they were not suitable for snowboarding because the coverage was minimal at the back, of which I did not appreciate when I fell heavily from mis-judging a landing of a kicker (I am too old for this s@*t!). Also, make sure you have padding at the front and on the outer side of the thighs.
With technical developments in the materials of protective padding they are now lightweight and reasonably low profile, but you will still need to make sure that your snowboard trousers are loose enough to avoid a tight fit.
Snowboarding is an expensive sport but protection shorts may be an investment that will pay back in dividends quicker than you think!
Mark is also the manager of Jamie Barrow (Britain’s fastest snowboarder)