Sorry I'm late to the discussion, I wasn't keeping an eye on this section.
Good choice on the helmet; I lost the edge on ice, slammed down on my back and cracked my head. I was dizzy the rest of the day. Said I'd better get a helmet, but put it off. Two weeks later I took a spill on a rail and glanced my head on the steel. Went helmet shopping after that. I lost an edge and went flying into the woods, caught my tail on a tree that sent me spinning, banged myself up pretty good and was thankful I was wearing a helmet.
I looked around for info on the web when I started, but didn't find much. A few forums and groups.
Demo days and shops are great, you can try out the latest boards and see how they feel. Wouldn't suggest it for at least another season though, since you're still learning to ride and you might not notice the differences between boards as well as you would with a few seasons riding under your belt.
I found talking to the guys at the shops really helpful. Well, some shops anyway. I have an old Burton BMC (that caught some air at 70mph after I forgot to lock my rack) and was looking for a replacement, but after talking with a few guys I bought a Jeenyus Kevin Jones. Completely different ride and I love it. I swap between the two depending on my mood (and my partners), but if I hadn't talked to them I probably would have spent twice as much on another Burton (which I probably would have liked as well but been a few benjamins poorer).
I like Burton soft goods because the warranty and durability. I've tried a few other brands, and they seem to wear out much quicker and lose their water repellency. Depends on what you do, if you're sitting around a lot waiting to drop in or watching your friends, or sliding down the pipe on your knees or your ass, durability and waterproofing make a huge difference. Maybe it's not as important on powder days, but being a east coast rider I wouldn't know...
As for technique, just ride. Ride with others better than yourself, ask them for advice. You'll probably spend the day trying to keep up, but then when you get a chance, work on what they've said. When I'm riding with those better than myself I watch and see how they do things. When I'm the best I ride at a slower pace to allow those following to keep up, so I practice my technique, and also watch them so I can give them tips. Guess you could take a lesson, but I don't know anyone who's taken more than a beginner's course.
Yeah, hang on to the old board, it's good to have a spare lying around. When people come visit me, they leave their board at home and just bring their boots and bindings. We're good enough we can ride each others boards and still have a great day... we're not good enough where we *need* our own boards. Easier than lugging a board around the airport.
Edited for a bad cut and paste.
Edited by quanto_the_mad (12/29/05 05:33 AM)