We all dream of snowboarding in perfect conditions, but unfortunately, the weather doesn’t always do what we want it to do. Therefore, you might wonder what happens when the heavens open and rain pours from the sky and whether you can still snowboard in the rain.
Snowboarding in the rain isn’t bad. It comes down to personal preference and the ability to properly prepare for the weather. The potential dangers come from lack of visibility and rain freezing over into ice. You must consider whether you would still enjoy snowboarding in poor weather.
If you are considering snowboarding in the rain, there are a few things you must consider. It is important to be properly prepared to enjoy yourself. Below, we discuss everything you need to know before heading to the mountain on a rainy day.
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It can be bad to go snowboarding in the rain if you are not properly prepared, particularly for beginners. There are several factors that can make snowboarding in the rain an unpleasant experience including the effects it has on your visibility, the snow conditions, and the temperature.
Ideally, if you’re a beginner you should be getting as many hours on the mountain as possible. That way, you’ll see improvements a lot quicker than if you were to only snowboard a few hours here and there. However, if you’ve ever been snowboarding before, you know how often you end up falling on your bum or faceplanting.
In soft snow conditions, falling is not really a problem, provided you go in with a good attitude. If it’s raining, however, that causes wet and heavy snow, which means soaking gloves, wet trousers, and soggy socks. This makes for a cold, uncomfortable experience.
Snowboarding while it’s raining can be quite painful on your face and could affect your ability to pick up speed. If that rain turns into sleet, it’s not a pleasant experience, especially if you don’t have a face covering or eye protection.
An even bigger concern when snowboarding in the rain is the visibility. If you don’t know the resort or get separated from your group, it’s likely to cause problems. That’s rarely something that will happen on a clear day, but if it rains while you’re snowboarding, you’re more likely to get separated or lost.
So, not only does snowboarding in the rain make you wet and uncomfortable, but it also drastically increases the possibility of a whiteout. That’s not something you want to be caught in if you aren’t used to snowboarding in those conditions. The risk of injury and getting lost rises exponentially.
The primary concern with snowboarding in the rain is if it causes the temperature to drop below 0 degrees. As the temperature falls this low, the wet snow is going to freeze over and cause large ice patches across the mountain. These patches create dangerous spots that pose a hazard to both skiers and snowboarders.
Therefore, it is extremely important to know how long it’s been raining on the mountain and what the temperature is before you go out. Not even advanced-level snowboarders particularly enjoy snowboarding on ice. It creates an unpredictable, potentially hazardous environment where everyone must proceed with extra caution.
Despite all these points, it is still possible to go snowboarding in the rain. It is up to you to decide whether you want to and how safe it is to do so. If you decide to go, you must prepare appropriately beforehand to ensure you still have an enjoyable day snowboarding.
One of the most important ways to prepare for snowboarding in the rain is to wear the right gear. High quality jackets, snowboard pants, and gloves are key to keeping dry and warm in this weather. Unfortunately, though, this often comes down to how much money you are willing to spend.
If you can afford to buy top-quality snowboarding gear, you’ll have a far better time than if you can’t. Think of your clothing as an investment into the future of your snowboarding journey and perhaps it becomes worth it.
If you do not typically make stops during your snowboarding days, the rain will probably change that. By taking regular lunch stops or rest breaks, you’ll be able to warm yourself up and give your gloves, boots, and other clothing time to dry before going back into the weather.
As we’ve briefly touched on above, depending on the altitude of the rain you might end up boarding during a whiteout. Whiteouts alone, with enough experience, are not too bad, but combined with rain it can lead to a very unpleasant experience.
The resort you’re at will likely have a variety of runs at different altitudes, so that’s a perfect opportunity to explore some of the lower or higher tracks while the weather clears. You’ll be amazed how much difference a single chairlift can make to the weather. It could even be snowing higher up on the mountain while it’s raining further down.
Properly caring for your snowboard gear after any day on the mountain is important, and even more so if it’s been raining. Your primary goal should be to get all your clothing and your boots dry, so the water doesn’t do any lasting damage.
Depending on where you’re staying, you could hang your gear in the bathroom, near a radiator (though be careful not to overheat it), or in an airing cupboard. Some of the more luxurious accommodations might even have a boot room where you can stick “hairdryers” into them and leave them overnight to dry.
If the weather gets too bad, there’s no harm in throwing in the towel. Think of it as a day to rest and relax so you’re able to hit the slopes the day after in a great mood without soreness. It’s also a great time to explore the local town, shops, and attractions. Though, make sure you bring an umbrella!
Wet snow isn’t necessarily bad for snowboarding. However, it can affect how pleasurable your experience will be. Wet snow can create patches of ice, snow displacement, and otherwise varying textures. This can result in less edge grip and hazardous spots for speedy snowboarders.
Not only does it make things much slower, but the snow will likely feel as though it’s sticking to the underside of your board. While that won’t stop you from boarding, it will definitely become an annoyance after a while. You’ll realize this when you end up on a flat path and lose speed faster, causing you to unclip and walk the rest of the way.
If you want to get past this problem, make sure you have a ski wax formulated specially for soft and wet snow. An even better idea is to have an “all-mountain” ski wax always in the bottom of your boot bag, that way you won’t ever get caught out.
You can ski in the rain, but it poses many of the same problems as snowboarding does. There are still proper precautions to take as well. It’s unpleasant for most people, and not something many skiers actively look forward to. However, it may be easier to ski than snowboard in the rain.
First, skiing over flat ground and slow snow in the rain is more achievable. It is still not easy to ski on, but not nearly as frustrating as it is for snowboards thanks to the ski poles. Second, skiers’ edges are normally sharper than their boarding counterparts, which makes it easier if the rain freezes over. It can still be tricky to ski but is generally easier than it is for boarders.
Finally, if you’re skiing when it’s only recently started raining, your edges won’t grip as much as they normally would. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have your edges sharpened, but you won’t be relying on them as much until it freezes over as we’ve discussed above.
The best weather for snowboarding is a clear, sunny day after a heavy snowfall. Clear blue skies, light and fluffy snow, and all-round incredible weather conditions make for a perfect snowboarding day. A day with deep powder is prime for boarders, providing a floating sensation and soft ground.
If the best weather for snowboards is powder, the best location for snowboarders is in Japan. It has the highest average annual snowfall each year and the lightest, fluffiest snow on the planet. J-Pow is the ultimate goal for most boarders.
Snowboarding in the rain isn’t necessarily bad, but depending on the temperature and visibility, it can become dangerous. The most important thing is to consider whether you would still enjoy skiing in weather like that. If you would, prepare properly to have the best rainy-day experience.