American computer scientist Stephen C. Johnson has defined a successful tool as “one that was used to do something undreamt of by its author.” By this definition, a multi-tool is definitely a successful tool – it can be used in any number of unusual circumstances. This article explores how a multi-tool can be useful when snowboarding. We’re betting the developers of multi-tools probably didn’t anticipate that their inventions would be used by shredders, but there are at least three ways a multi-tool can come in handy when you’re snowboarding, including:
1. Tightening and Adjusting Your Bindings
This multi-tool application is important for boarding safety and style. First, when you’re pummeling down the mountain at upwards of 60 miles per hour, the last thing you want is a loose binding. Should your binding come entirely free, your board will be impossible to control. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that the fasteners holding your bindings in place are tightened down before you launch into your next sick run.
Adjusting your binding can also dramatically change your riding performance. Small shifts in binding angles can make a big difference in your snowboarding experience. For instance, a “duck stance,” in which both feet are angled slightly out, allows you to feel comfortable riding forwards or backwards. Duck stance binding angles are perfect for free styling. On the other hand, the forward stance is better for carving big turns and staying in control. In the forward stance, the back foot’s binding angle is at about +6 degrees, and the front foot is set an angle of about +18 degrees.
Let’s suppose that you begin your day on the mountain with forward stance binding settings, so you can get reacquainted with your board and feel confident. Later on, your friends ask you to tackle the terrain park with them, and you know a duck stance will allow you more flexibility when coming off obstacles. With a multi-tool on your person, you can easily make binding adjustments on the fly – before every run, if needed.
To get the best setup for adjusting bindings, choose a multi-tool that includes Allen wrenches and screwdrivers.
2. On-the-Fly Edge Work
The file function on a multi-tool can be useful for removing burrs, creating a sharp edge, and repairing other minor board damage. Burrs are simply ragged areas that could become hooked on snow, thereby sending you in an entirely different direction than you anticipate. Yikes! Professional snowboarders also use files to keep their boards fast in race situations. A well-beveled board is a fast, safe board.
Typically, it’s best to use actual snowboarding tools for creating a beveled edge on your board. Still, minor damage from rocks or rails should be tackled as soon as possible. Multi-tools allow riders to remove burrs while still on the slopes. To eradicate burrs, use the file on your multi-tool, sliding from nose to tail at the same angle as the rest of the edge.
3. Surviving Emergency Situations
It’s not terribly unusual for snowboarders to become stranded, even while riding at major resorts. For instance, Olympic hockey player Eric Lemarque became stranded in 2004 while skiing at Mammoth Mountain in the Sierra Nevada range. Lemarque became lost after going outside of ski-run boundaries. He was stranded in the wilderness for a week before a search team was able to find him.
A multi-tool is an excellent tool to have in such emergency situations. Its various blades can be used for cutting firewood, among other survival tasks. For instance, creating a sturdy shelter is one of the best things you can do when you’re stuck in the wilderness. A multi-tool would be very functional when building a shelter. You could use its serrated blade to cut down evergreen boughs for your shelter’s roof, for example. Some multi-tools even include a compass, which would definitely be practical when trying to navigate your way back to civilization.
From smoothing out your board’s edge to finding the proper binding angle, there are many ways to use a multi-tool while snowboarding. If you do choose to bring a multi-tool on your next snowboarding adventure, be sure to store it in a holder or folded clothes so as to avoid impaling yourself during a fall.