Dominic Talent is going to go snowboarding for the first time at the end of January, and he's worried about what to wear...

"I've been wanting to go for two years, but have never managed to get it together. I still don't know where to go, but I'll probably end up in Verbier, which is where my mates want to go. I think it's as much for the social thing as it is for the boarding. My biggest worry is what to wear: I'm not sure of the difference between what is `fashionable' and what is functional.

"The last thing I want is to get onto the slopes wearing top-of-the-range gear and look like an idiot, especially as I'm a beginner. I might look too eager, like I'm trying too hard, as I'm sure to spend the first couple of hours falling over. Fashion will take second place - on the slopes at least. The best advice I've been given so far is to hire a board and boots and also to bring a cushion to strap to my arse once I've fallen over 50 times.

"The brochures I've seen and the shops I've visited aren't enough really. Snowboarding-inspired fashion is one thing, actually doing it is another altogether. I do think once I get there and check out what everyone else is wearing and doing I'll be OK. I do definiitely want to buy a jacket, drift pants and gloves before I go. I can bring my Duffer and Mambo fleeces with me, and a Paul Smith cagoule which I've got anyway. The main question for me is if I spend pounds 500 on clothes to wear snowboarding, will they sit in the wardrobe or will I want to wear them when I get home? At least if I hate snowboarding (which I hopefully won't, but if I do), I can walk the streets in the clothes I buy. But I'm not sure. The O'Neill stuff I have tried caused my work colleagues to shout `Blobby, Blobby, Blobby' and `Eh-oh!'.

I guess I'll just have to wait and see."

Burton has compiled a definitive guide for beginners. From boards to bindings, it offers expert advice in choosing the right equipment. Call 01784 240980 or 01784 251000 for details on how to receive your free newbie guide

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