January 12, 2022

What Is A Snowboard Leash Used For?

Scott Kimball

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Scott Kimball

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Are you a rookie snowboarder wondering what a snowboard leash is used for? We don’t blame you since they aren’t commonly used today. Read on to learn more!

As someone new to the world of action sports like snowboarding and skiing, it can be a bit overwhelming to keep track of all the gear and supporting equipment you need for a successful snowboarding adventure. From choosing the right snowboard and day pack to finding the purpose of snowboard leashes and selecting the right shoes, you need to have it all figured out. One such problem that many novice snowboarders face is determining the purpose of a snowboard leash.

Snowboarders use a snowboard leash to keep the board attached to their leg and prevent it from careening off the cliff or mountain or hurting other snowboarders on the slope. It also keeps the snowboard secured to your leg while you travel up the mountain in a chairlift.

Traditionally, snowboard leashes were used with self-releasing or quick-releasing snowboard binding to prevent the boards from sliding down the slope and keeping them attached to your person. Today, these leashes are considered outdated and impractical as people don’t need them with the new snowboard design that ensures the board remains attached to your feet unless you detach it. With that said, many resorts still insist on using snowboard leashes to avoid the case of runaway snowboards. Read on to discover more!

As someone who frequently goes snowboarding, I have gone to many resorts that have a leash law that requires you to use snowboard leashes before snowboarding on the slopes. Since the only way to access these slopes is through the chairlifts installed by these resorts, it’s best if you go prepared and have a snowboard leash on you.

What Is A Snowboard Leash Used For? | Today I'm Outside

Table of Contents:

What Do You Use a Snowboard Leash for?

A snowboard leash essentially keeps you securely tied to your snowboard, which prevents the board from hurtling away from you when it gets detached. Historically, these leashes were created to tackle the issue of quick-release snowboarding bindings. The old-school, step-in bindings would automatically release the board, making using a leash necessary.

Today, most boards don’t have these bindings. Even the sub-standard gear available at rental shops don’t typically have the old-school bindings. The bindings used today are tailored for snowboarders. They ensure that the snowboard detaches only when you unclip yourself from it at the bottom of the mountain, walking on a flat surface, or for traveling up an incline.

That said, the leash is used to keep the board attached to your leg at all times. They come in various sizes, hues, and shapes and prevent accidental unclipping of your board. Without them, your board might get away from you in deep power, race off a cliff, or get lost in a tree well. Moreover, most snowboarding resorts make it compulsory to use snowboard leashes to prevent accidents, such as the runaway board hurting other snowboarders, which is more of a possibility during the busy season.

Why Snowboarding Resorts Make It Compulsory to Use a Snowboard Leash

Resorts insist on making the use of snowboard leashes compulsory to avoid paying insurance premiums. They don’t want you to get hurt or cause others to get hurt accidentally and face any liability in such instances as it will result in a dip in their profits and future business. It’s why they insist that every snowboarder that snowboard on the mountain accessible from their resort uses a snowboard leash.

The resort management wants to avoid the possibility of the board falling from the chairlift you’re on and hitting a skier or snowboard on the mountain. It’s why the lift operator also insists on the use of snowboard leashes.

They also want to save you the trouble of running after the board or losing it while on an incline. Even though it might not make sense to use a leash with your self-locking board that can only be detached intentionally, it’s best to use it not to breach the resort’s rules.

What Does a Snowboard Leash Look Like?

A snowboard leash is a basic mechanism of cord that you need to attach to your snowboard and leg. The cords come in different fabrics. Some are coiled, while others are coated wire leashes with a plastic coating. Each of these cords comes with a specific method of attaching the leash to your body. It can be attached through a Velcro strap or a clip. The most popular snowboard leash brands include Burton, Dakine, Demon, and Bakoda.

A leash typically has two styles. A short leash will clip from the laces of your snowboard boots to your binding, while a long leash will wrap around your leg below your knee and clip from your snowboard binding. If you’re a newbie snowboarder, don’t make the mistake of wrapping your ankle with the long leash. It only increases the likelihood of getting tangled with weeds or tripping over your board. The leash should never hinder your movement.

Reasons Why You Might Need a Snowboard Leash

Here are some reasons why you might need a snowboard leash:

Many ski and snowboarding resorts require you to use snowboard leashes during the ski season, while some consider it proper mountain etiquette.

  • To ensure that you don’t have to run after your sliding snowboard down a mountain
  • To boost the security of old-school snowboards with traditional bindings
  • To ensure the safety of those around you, especially during the busy season
  • To prevent yourself from tripping over on the flat ground
  • So that your board doesn’t slide off when you take it off on an incline
  • To use the built-in locking mechanism for securing your board at the lodge

How to Mount a Leash onto Your Snowboard

Firstly, you will need to connect the snowboard leash to the binding of your snowboard when packing your gear for the trip. This way, you can enjoy your trip if our resort insists that the snowboarders have to use a leash. If you don’t have a leash, you will have to spend considerably more on purchasing one from the resort shop.

Attaching the leash beforehand will also make it easier to attach it to your leg later, as you won’t have to spend more time fixing it out in the cold with freezing, numb hands. To attach the leash, take the end that doesn’t feature the Velcro or clip and pass it through the hole on the side of the binding.

Pull it through to ensure that it comes over the binding. Make sure to run the clip through the curve to make a U knot on the snowboard binding. Make sure to attach the leash to your front foot so that when you get off the lift, you don’t push off with a back foot attached to a leash.

A long leash will wrap around your leg on the outside of your adult snow pants. The short leash will attach to the metal loop on the snowboard bootlaces. Don’t be tempted to clip the leash to the toggle on the back of your snowboard boots since it won’t be able to support the weight of the board.

Do You Really Need to Use a Snowboard Leash?

Even though a snowboard leash is one of the more affordable items compared to the rest of the snowboarding gear, it certainly isn’t necessary, especially not with the boards designed today. With that said, since most resorts still insist on using snowboard leashes, you should get one to be on the safe side.

You can also check with your local mountain resort to see if they require one before purchasing it. If you’re heading to a faraway location, it doesn’t hurt to call and ask in advance. However, even then, it’s best to keep the leash on you in case you find resistance or are faced with a sudden change in rules requiring you to leash up to snowboard on the mountain of your choice.

What Is A Snowboard Leash Used For?

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About THE AUTHOR

Scott Kimball

From a young age I was introduced to fishing, hiking, camping, snowboarding and more through family, friends, and scouting. After 20 years of learning and participating in these outdoor activities, I share what i've learned (and continue learning) with you.

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