This past Thanksgiving, I was lucky enough to be skiing with my whole family. My brother-in-law, the only snowboarder in the group, was slightly less fortunate. As a boarder, he struggles to maneuver many of the slopes that seem to specifically cater to skiers. From subtle design decisions (long catwalks) to not-so-subtle messaging (last year on April Fool’s Day, Aspen’s Instagram claimed the slopes would be reserved exclusively for those sliding on two sticks), snowboarders come up against more obstacles on the mountain. Unstrapping their boot from their board for every lift and traverse leads to inevitable loosening of the fit, but retightening the laces just adds to the extra time they already need on every run to walk their board to the top of the hill, remove their gloves, strap back into the board, tighten up, glove up and get going. Luckily, my brother-in-law’s BOA snowboarding boots allowed him to cut that time in half so he could keep up with the family.
It was for this exact reason that surfer-turned-snowboarder Gary Hammerslag started designing the BOA Fit System during his first season on Colorado’s mountains. Numerous prototypes later, BOA was born, immediately attracting two big brands: K2 and Vans. Two quickly became 300, and now BOA are used in millions of boots (for skiing and snowshoeing as well as snowboarding), helmets, shoes and other performance gear around the world. I recently bought a BOA helmet that is fantastically versatile, allowing me to loosen the fit and wear a beanie underneath on colder days or tighten it for a snug hair-to-helmet fit on warmer ones.
How it Works
BOA is simple. Press in on the dial, twist it for a precision fit and pull up to fasten. This way, your boots are secure and won’t naturally loosen and the laces won’t come undone at inopportune times. Some BOA models twist to loosen; others have a pull release, and both make it easy to adjust the fit if your feet swell during activity.
“The BOA Fit System has three components: a micro-adjustable dial, lightweight laces and a lace guide. It is very intuitive to use and feels extremely secure the moment you dial in,” says Brenna Sullivan, BOA’s consumer marketing manager. “When athletes wear shoes with the BOA, they avoid painful pressure points while experiencing a much closer fit than ever before.”
This close-but-comfortable fit is never more important than when we are hurdling ourselves down the mountain at speeds up to 40 mph. In Denver, you can find BOA products at REI, EVO, Runners Roost and other outdoor retail stores.