Nighttime snowboarding is another aspect of snowboarding that is unlike any other that you may have tried so far. Many people find snowboarding at night to be very relaxing, exciting and offer a new perspective on hills that they are constantly riding.
On of the most important aspects of nighttime snowboarding is being very familiar with the run you are about to ride. Ideally you should know your path so well that you can visualize each corner, the time it takes to get from one turn to the next and what obstacles are where on the trail when you close your eyes. This familiarity will help to offset your lack of vision.
Regardless of how well you know the run you are about to attempt, you will be in for a surprise the first time you try it at night. In the dark everything looks different and feels different. You may not have realized how much you’re relied on visual cues for when and where to turn slow down or speed up. You will not longer be able to see the stump that marks the start of the moguls or other trail details and shadows will make things seem to appear or disappear.
When it comes to night riding you have three options to improve your sight. You can use your eyes and no light, ride a mildly lighted trail or use a headlamp to light your way. You will have to try each option to determine which method is best suited for you.
Regardless of which method you wish to use, you must work to improve your night vision. The first step is to allow your eyes to adjust to the dark. Your eyes will under go a chemical change to allow you to see better in the dark and this process takes time, usually about 30 minutes. During this time it is best to sit and wait for it to happen. While waiting, and afterwards, be very careful not to look at any man made light source. Doing so will kill your night vision and you will have to wait another 30 minutes to get it back. If you find you must look at a light, close and cover one eye so that it doesn’t loose its night vision ability.
Something that most people do not realize is that their daytime activities also effect their nighttime vision. Studies conducted on pilots show that exposure to bright sunlight, especially for 10 days or more, can reduce your nighttime vision, range and clarity by 50 percent. You may wish to wear gray full spectrum sunglasses on the day or the days leading up to the night that you wish to snowboard in order to maximize your night vision.
The other option available is to use a headlamp of some kind. The first choice most people think of is a bright white light. While this does allow you to see the colors of your surroundings, it isn’t the best choice for nighttime viewing. The second option that most people think of is a red bulb. This too isn’t a good idea as red is the first spectrum of light to become invisible at night. The range of a red light at night is very limited and thus you will not be able to see the details that you need to see.
Perhaps the best choice for a light is a yellow-green LED light. Often you can insert a suitable LED into the socket of the regular bulb on your headlamp. Yellow-green makes a very good choice for nighttime riding as it will illuminate your surroundings and allow you to see the most detail possible.
However a blue-green LED also has its advantages. While a yellow-green light helps activate the cones in your retina to see details, a blue-green light is fairly dim and works with the rods in your retina. The rods are the parts of your eyes responsible for allowing you to see at night. If you are in a fully dark area then blue-green is a better choice since it does not hinder your night vision ability.
Nighttime snowboarding is a very fun and interesting experience that should not be missed. You will find that you will discover all kinds of things about your favorite runs and yourself while doing so. Make a point of trying it the next time you find yourself becoming bored with your favorite hill.