Snowboarding has grown dramatically in the past two decades, with half-pipe parks, fast slalom courses, and backcountry powder chutes. As a result, boards are more sophisticated and versatile, and your choice hinges not just on your size, but on the type of riding you want to do and where you want to do it. So wise riders seek advice from experts such as the folks at Berkeley Boardsports. The owner of the shop, which also sells surfboards, windsurfers, and kiteboards, has been in the snowboard biz longer than any other Bay Area retailer. Every spring, the guys from his stores (he also has locations in SF and San Rafael) test out the newest boards and boots, bringing the ladies along to provide feedback on the latest women's gear. By the time they return, these dudes are so well versed in the performance and construction of their products that customers are hard-pressed to ask a question they can't answer. And this laid-back staff will patiently wax gearhead for as long as it takes. The shop also rents boards and boots, but, sorry, no demos.