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  1. #1
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    Should we wear body armor?

    My wife and I, along with our 7 year old daughter, are going to Snowshoe Ski Resort in July for some downhill riding. We are enrolled in their "Family Clinic" for a day of downhill lessons. This will be our first experience with downhill, as we typically ride singletrack. I am enrolled in private lessons (by myself) the following day.

    Snowshow's website recommends full face helments, arm and leg armor, body armor, and gloves. My question is this:

    Should we buy (or rent) armor, full face helments, etc., considering that we will be only riding on the beginner's trail (at least my wife and daughter will)? Basically, I have no idea what to expect, and i just want to be prepared.

    Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    JDM
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    I would rent whatever safety gear they have.

  3. #3
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    Yes. Aptitude of trail riding does not strongly correlate to DH riding

  4. #4
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    If you can afford it, buy all of it. I have tried "beginner trails " .

    I was glad I had full gear on, when I crashed, repeatedly.

  5. #5
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    Sounds like we need to use all of the recommended protective equipment.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian23693 View Post
    Sounds like we need to use all of the recommended protective equipment.
    Yes Brian, get it all. The green trails may not be extremely technical, but can be fast. I recommend that you watch some youtube vid of some of the trails at Snow shoe to get an idea of the park.
    Snowshoe mountain bike park 9/17/2011 HD - YouTube

  7. #7
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    I would gear up the kid, and just wear a full face (if that). Beginner trails at resorts are generally XC trails that have minimal climbing. Even the blues at most resorts aren't real crazy, but you'll feel more comfortable with armor and a full face.

    Note: I have not been to that particular resort, so I may be talking out my arse.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drth Vadr View Post
    Yes Brian, get it all. The green trails may not be extremely technical, but can be fast. I recommend that you watch some youtube vid of some of the trails at Snow shoe to get an idea of the park.
    Snowshoe mountain bike park 9/17/2011 HD - YouTube
    Thanks for the link. OMG that looks like fun!

  9. #9
    Perpetual Hack
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    Snowshoe Rocks.

    But as has been mentioned some of the green and blue trails can be as fast as your courage allows.
    Place is awesome for progression, but it is a pretty big hill with 5-8 minute runs at speed on the western side.
    Gear up and have fun.

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  10. #10
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    hard shells on yer shoulder prevents it from sticking when you connect to terra firma. hard shells skip off surfaces, most of the time. shirts stick, and hence, transfers forces into your shoulder, down your clavicle, and sometimes, pops it into a few pieces.

    just sayin.

  11. #11
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    Should we wear body armor?

    My advice: Rent the protection and see if it works for you. It is smarter to take it off if you feel it doesn't work on the trail than to go out and rent it after a painfull crash. Buy the stuff only if you really like going out more often and after you know what kind of gear suits you.

    I must say that i feel a bit more free in moving when not wearing body armor ( like during enduro racing). But if I ride at a park i suck it up and wear it anyways. My last park weekend 2 weeks ago involved 2 fairly big crashes, and i was really happy to be wearing my protection.

    Last week i was doing some rides on my local bmx track, only xc helmet. A hard crash left me with scraped and bruised knees and elbows. Grrrrr, should have used my kneepads and elbow pads.

    There will always be kids and cool riders in jeans and shirts that race of the mountain. As a father of 2 with responsibily's i tend to go for some relative safety without loosing out on the fun.

    Just my 2 cent

  12. #12
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    I haven't been to Snowshoe in years so this is coming from memory:

    The beginner trails are machine groomed doubletrack that double as access roads or just doubletrack machine built and groomed.. no vehicle traffic. You could get away with just an XC helmet and no pads. Your wife and daughter should wear XC helmets and knee pads, elbow pads if you want to be 100%. The beginner trails have loose stones similar to an unpaved driveway. Someone's front tire could washout.

    You should wear full armor if hitting any singletrack in the park. The Basin side trails are tougher than most of the trails on the Western Territory. If you decide to hit more than the green ask someone in the shop what's next.
    I'm going to rob banks til I retire or get caught. Either way I'm set for life

  13. #13
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    Rent the gear. would stink to buy all the gear just to find out you or one of the other 2 aren't into the downhill stuff. if they like it, buy away!
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  14. #14
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    Taking the clinic is a great idea! And it's nice that you and your family is enrolled. Sounds like a fun vacation. Watch out you (and family unit ) might get addicted
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  15. #15
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    I would wear it if you haven't done it before. Even the green trails at Snowshoe on western are fast and lose control of the speed and you will go down hard. I've seen kids riding down the gravel roads and get slammed on the water breaks, so yeah, I would have all of them armored up just in case.

  16. #16
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    If you have to ask... you already know.

  17. #17
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    Here are my feelings:

    You and your wife are adults and will survive a ride down the green trails (assuming you are decent riders). You would probably be fine in what you normally wear to ride.

    As the day progresses, you will probably do something (whether by accident or on purpose) that is a little bit of a stretch for your skill level. This is when you will want the full-face and armor. And yes, it is a good idea. And it will probably help your confidence.

    There is a very good chance that by this point in the day, your wife is drinking iced coffee, reading magazines, and looking for a place to get a massage (not trying to be a jerk, just sayin'). But if your wife is really gonna ride all day and push her skills, then all the gear is a good idea for her, too.

    Now the 7 year-old is a big wild card. Even if she has good skills you just never know what might happen. I would say get all the armor you can for her right from the word go. Even on easy trails, she may take 10 times longer than other beginners. Be patient with her because those places can seem overwhelming to a little person with little wheels.

    Knee/shin pads, elbow/forearm and full-fingered gloves will save you from all kinds of annoying little scrapes and bruises if you want to go with the minimum. If you are gonna push the speed, ride man-made stunts, or gnarly steep/rocky sections, then the full-face and chest/shoulder/spine protection definitely make sense.

    On a different note: are you renting bikes? A beefier bike can go a long way towards giving confidence and keeping you in control.

    Have fun!
    You better just go ahead and drop that seatpost down to the reflector... the trail gets pretty rough down there.

  18. #18
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    YES!!!

    Rent the gear... Too expensive if you're only going there once.

    I went DH'ing a few weeks ago for the first time after riding some fairly aggressive trail features for the last year...

    I ate it like 10 times... but in full body armor, and so not a scratch!

    It's much faster (even beginner trails) and just different enough from regular old riding to make you forget all those skills that have become second nature.

    Hitting an unknown rock garden doing 20 mph around a corner you don't know is WAAAYYY different from negotiating the one you've hit 100 times on your local trail at 5 mph.

  19. #19
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    + 1 for renting all armour.

    More than likely, you'll be hyped up and want to try something a bit more. And then more... Heck, I know I've wiped out going at a comfortable pace on a familiar and relatively easy line - just one moment of having your weight on the wrong side can send you down

  20. #20
    CAN YOU DIG IT??!!??!!!??
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    +1 on th armour especially for th 7 y/o. Just got bk from SS Sun. it was a blast even though I took a OTB @ th end of th 2nd day & missed th 3rd day....spent it lounging & hurting....
    "Why are you willing to take so much & leave others in need...just because you can?"

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JefedelosJefes View Post
    If you have to ask... you already know.
    exactly...


  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by JefedelosJefes View Post
    If you have to ask... you already know.
    true dat
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  23. #23
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    Renting the gear is a lot less than your insurance deductible or co-pay... It's a fine line between awesome jump and horrific crash... Having the armor on makes for better pictures too! But, with all seriousness - downhill is a special beast. Some trail riding carries across, but not that much and those bikes pick up speed in a hurry. If it's hot and uncomfortable take it off on the chairlift.

  24. #24
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    Thank you for all of the replies and advice. My wife and I both rented full body armor and we bought all new 661 full body armor for my daughter. Glad we did. My wife went over the handle bars and my daughter got thrown off too. Unfortunately for my daughter, the handlebar turned 90 degrees and jabbed her in a "private" area that the body armor doesnt cover. But all in all, we were happy with the body armor and will always use armor in the future when downhilling.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian23693 View Post
    Unfortunately for my daughter, the handlebar turned 90 degrees and jabbed her in a "private" area that the body armor doesnt cover.
    Murphy's law is always at work.

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