Watch any big mountain snowboard film and you’ll instantly notice the use of walkie-talkies or radios. They have a wide range of uses for snowboarding. The simple truth is that anyone looking to take their snowboarding to the next level needs to invest in better communication systems. It will let you crush the big mountains and resorts while keeping in touch with your riding partners or buddies.
When Should You Use a Walkie Talkie In Snowboarding?
This question is answered in three different categories and three very different use-cases. That being said, let’s start with the first use for walkie-talkies, the backcountry.
The backcountry is a lot of things. Beautiful, stunning, challenging, but also dangerous and can be deadly. When venturing into the backcountry having some kind of radio or communication system is vital.
Even if the forest rangers don’t require it, you would be a fool to not bring one. It’s a simple fact that cell phones rarely get any signal in the backcountry. Even if your phone can get a signal, 9 times out of 10 walkie-talkies will get a better signal.
Let’s say someone were to get hurt from tree wells, getting lost, avalanches, crashes, or any number of things that can happen, a walkie-talkie can literally mean the difference between getting buried or getting rescued.
Most of the time a walkie talkies will outperform cell phones in the mountain, making them perfect for large ski resorts and backcountry.
On the less morbid side of things, walkie-talkies are perfect for flying off big jumps in terrain parks. It’s extremely common that it will be impossible to see the landing off a massive 10-20 foot jump. While you might have read the safety signs warning people to stay out of the landing zone’s not everyone takes the time to read those signs.
This is where walkie-talkie’s come in. No more guesswork when spotting the landing zone. One friend with a walkie-talkie can instantly tell you it’s all clear to hit the jump or if you need to hold off.
The last reason is the same reason ski patrol uses walkie-talkies on big mountains. It’s simply easier and more reliable communication in big resorts where phones don’t always get signals.
How Do You Communicate While Snowboarding?
Depends on your set up but this works like any other use of walkie-talkies. Make sure everyone in the group is on the same channel and you’ll be good to go. For example, if John is using channel 4 then Mike would also use channel 4. Otherwise, you might find out a little more than you would like to know from the couple on channel 3.
Do Walkie Talkies Work in the Mountain?
Yes, they will work but will have a limited range. Without getting too heavy in the science of it all, radios and walkie-talkies work by line-of-sight radio waves. If your walkie-talkie has trouble “seeing” the one you want to send a signal to then the receiver of your message will also have trouble “seeing” the sender radio and will struggle to get the message.
However, unless your party is miles apart from one another, then it will be very rare that you will struggle to effectively communicate with one another. It will almost always work better than cells up in the mountain and won’t drain your cell battery.
What Are The Best Walkie Talkies for Snowboarding?
The best walkie-talkie for snowboarding is the best one for the specific job or place you plan on snowboarding. For the backcountry or big resort trips, you will want long-range radios with long battery lives. For the terrain park, a simple radio that won’t break the bank or your heart if it gets damaged would be the better way to go.
As a general note, cold and snow sap battery life on even the best walkie-talkie so always keep your walkie-talkie on the inside of your jacket and in waterproof containers or bags.
Best Overall Radio
1. Midland GXT1000VP4 2-Way Radios
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Best Backcountry Radio
2. Backcountry Access BC Link
When something goes wrong in the backcountry, communication is vital. Don’t let something as preventable as bad clarity or a dead battery waste precious minutes. This radio is a workhorse in the backcountry. If you prioritize backcountry riding then this is a great choice.
Best Terrain Park Radio
3. Midland T51VP3 2-Way Radios with Charger
The Midland T51VP3 2-Way Radio is the best radio for the long days in the terrain park. Cheap, small, and featuring a hands-free mode, spotting jumps has never been easier. With the price point being the lowest on this list, if your radio falls off your jacket 30-feet off the ground, your wallet won’t be crying when you have to run back to the shop to get a replacement.
Final Thoughts on The Best Walkie Talkies for Snowboarding
Walkie-talkies are without a doubt, vital to step up your snowboarding to a new level. However, when figuring out what the best walkie-talkie is, you have to consider a few things. Where you plan on using it, your price-point, and the worst-case situation in your planned snowboarding trip.
Have a cool story about a time a walkie-talkie saved your bacon? Let us know in the comments below!