Ready to slide

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It’s November, which always reminds me that soon, it’ll be December, and that means time for snowboarding. I spent a few hours in Jimbouchou today with my personal shopping advisor for the 3rd time so far this season to see what’s in stock.

Jimbouchou is to outdoor sports a bit what Akihabara is to electronics – it’s a huge street and side streets of purely sports shops, which at this time of year focus on snow sports. The main players (despite some having different names, they’re owned by the same companies) are Minami and Victoria, but to be honest, it’s the small shops and the side streets where the best selections and prices can be found. That’s not to say that the big shops haven’t got like that by accident – they stock an amazing selection of stuff at good prices, but if you’re looking for the full range of Flow bindings, it’s time to go down a dark alley on a rainy day (as I did a few weeks ago).

A bit like last year, there doesn’t seem to be one dominant fashion (a few years ago it was short skis, before that, snowboarding, before that skiing and so on). I think this is a good thing, if only because it means a better variety of kit in the shop.

Again this year, it’s nice to see a variety of smaller brands, not just Burton bindings, Deeluxe boots and Oakley goggles. Not just that, but the variety of colours and sizes has improved too. When I started boarding about 4 years ago, we could only find a single pair of boots to fit me, and they were from somewhere in Indonesia, and they only just fit. This year you can get quite a few different sizes of boots, even beyond my 29cm size. (I’ll be using my Burton Ruler boots again).

It’s always good to see what’s good this year, and I’m looking forward to getting on the slopes…then getting in the onsen…then not being able to move the next day. Game On!!