Fresh powder, a new snowboard, the ride up to the top of the mountain. No matter if you’re an avid snowboarder or just happen to be along for the ride, you’re in luck. No matter what part of the world you might find yourself in, you’re sure to run into some of the best places to snowboard.
Every designer starts with a variety of factors that go into creating the overall vibe of each resort. Ranging from the jumps, bowls, and perfectly placed ski lifts, each piece is vital in getting the blood pumping of tourists and locals alike.
There are hundreds of ski resorts in the United States alone, thousands spanning across the globe. Regardless of what fuels your snowboarding passion, there is a ski resort for you.
How to Prepare
Whether you’re a seasoned snowboarder or this is your first time on the slopes, there are a few things you need in order to make your snowboarding trip a success. Preparing ahead of time will ensure you have the time of your life!
Snowboard and Bindings
If you don’t own a snowboard, don’t worry, these are easy to rent and won’t cost an arm and a leg. Depending on what experience you’d like to have, there is a variety of boards to try, including alpine, freestyle, and freeride.
Bindings are a piece of the snowboard and are the place where you’ll fasten in your boot. They might be difficult to maneuver at first, but those who work at the snowboarding resort will know exactly how to help.
Snowboard Boots and Socks
You’ll find that the boots conform to the overall shape of your feet, so it’s best to purchase your own so they fit correctly. Nevertheless, snowboard boots are also available to rent at any snowboard resort. The boots will hook directly into the binding onto the snowboard.
When choosing the right socks to wear with your boots, make sure you find something that is both thin and sweat-wicking. if your socks are too thick, your feet will begin to sweat, making them cold, which will lead to a very miserable snowboarding experience.
The Perfect Outfit
Snowboarding requires snow, which means it’s going to be cold. Being properly prepared with a jacket that’s wind and waterproof resistant, and also breathable is important. Just as your jacket needs to be waterproof, your pants should also protect you from the snow. The last thing you want is to land in the snow and find water seeping through.
Another important piece, a good helmet. As a beginner, you’re bound to fall occasionally. A helmet will help protect your brain in the event you take a tumble. Even if you don’t have one of your own, the resort will have various sizes you can rent.
All the Layers
The final piece to creating the perfect snowboarding outfit combination is preparing with lots of base layers. Worn underneath your outer jacket and pants, these layers play a big role in ensuring you stay warm even on the coldest days.
Material that has moisture wicking properties are best as they are breathable and will help create and maintain the proper body temperature. You can also add mid layers on top if you need even more warmth.
1. Whistler Blackcomb, Canada
Deemed one of the best and biggest snowboarding mountains the world has to offer, Whistler Blackcomb, Canada has something to offer snowboarders no matter their level of expertise. Not only will you get a great resort stay, but the mountains are not bad themselves.
A short 2-hour drive from Vancouver, this snowboarder’s paradise is one of the biggest skiing and snowboarding areas in the world. Offering a variety of terrains including vertical and horizontal slopes as well as black diamond level courses, there’s something for everyone.
Whistler Blackcomb originally opened in 1980 and has been the home of numerous outdoor events including alpine skiing, snowboarding, and slalom. Over the course of the year, over 450 inches of fresh snowfall here and see more than 2 million guests travel in from all around the world.
2. Snowbird, Utah
You’ll find this snowboarders paradise located near Salt Lake City, very close to the Rocky Mountains. Not only is this a popular tourist destination in the winter, but it acts as a year-round ski and summer resort found in the heart of Wasatch National Forest.
With help from the Great Salt Lake, Snowbird will see about 500 inches of snow per year, making it the second snowiest skiing and snowboarding area in the United States. It also offers one of the longest ski and snowboard seasons in the state of Utah with snow lasting up until the fourth of July.
Snowbird’s popularity stems from the quality of the snow found throughout the resort. Because the conditions surrounding it are so arid, the snow is soft and powdery. Not only this, but the salt from the neighboring lake prevents the snow from packing, quickly becoming a snowboarder’s dream.
3. Nozawa Onsen, Nagawa, Japan
Nestled right at the base of the mountain, Nozawa Onsen has been around for over 70 years. The resort covers over 730 acres and has been used for a variety of worldwide winter events. There are also slopes for any level of snowboarder, regardless if this is your first time or if you’re on the black diamond level. If you’re looking for the full experience, look no further than Nozawa Onsen.
Not only do the mountains look beautiful with a fresh blanket of snow covering them, but they also look phenomenal in the warmth of the summer. You’ll find that people come from all over to experience the newest lifts come winter. All the fresh snow is natural and you’ll be able to enjoy the snowboard season well into May.
With 50 runs and 20 lifts, there’s even a ski camp for the kids. Even if you come with kids under 6 years of age, the resort has all kinds of activities to keep them entertained while the parents enjoy a day on the slopes. There’s also the opportunity for them to enjoy the snow as well in the Kids Park that offers supervised outdoor activities.
Thanks to the large size and tremendous amount of snow, Nozawa Onsen has quickly become one of Japan’s top ski resorts.
4. Verbier, Switzerland
If you’re looking for big, look no further than Verbier. Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by one of the biggest snowboarding mountains you could ask for. This makes it a great destination for those extreme snowboarders out there looking for a rush.
Even if you find yourself on the other end of the spectrum, Verbier has become so popular that the staff offers snowboarding lessons on the slopes. No matter your skill level, the staff will take all age ranges and talent and teach them tricks of the trade. Verbier has developed both backcountry and freestyle camps that are fun and safe, allowing those first learning to snowboard to truly feel the rush of the sport.
Verbier isn’t cheap, but with all its bells and whistles, there’s a reason it’s one of the world’s top snowboarding and skiing destinations. Just make sure to plan ahead because as soon as fresh snowfall is in the forecast, all the locals know right where to head first.
5. Squaw Valley, California
Known as one of the largest and most popular ski and snowboard resort, Squaw Valley was developed using designs from popular European ski resorts. This is perhaps one of the reasons it’s so appealing to those in the United States.
The founder, Alex Cushing, put together some of the most advanced lift technology the United States ski resort community has ever seen. Squaw Valley is rated as one of the top ski resorts with a variety of offerings.
With over 170 trails covering 3,600 acres, you’ll find something no matter your skill level. The overall breakdown of difficulty in the courses is 25% beginner, 45% intermediate, and 30% expert. The amount of beginner courses is more than the majority of major ski resorts, making this an excellent choice for those who are still learning.
Not only is there a trail for every level of skill, but there is also a variety of terrain ranging from soft to rocky, from a leisurely ride to a riveting adventure. Squaw Valley is a great place to learn and to hone the skill of snowboarding. Not to mention it’s season runs longer than many throughout the rest of the country.
6. Mammoth Mountain, California
Mammoth Mountain is the true California dream. Locals and tourists alike travel from everywhere to experience all this ski resort has to offer.
The highest four-season resort, Mammoth Mountain sits over 11,000 feet in elevation and has 300 days of sunshine a year. What more could a snowboard lover ask for? Not only will you get a lot of snow time during the winter, but you can also relax in your bathing suit in the summer.
The price for a snowboarding trip to Mammoth Mountain is available at a variety of rates making it affordable for anyone looking for their next winter vacation. No matter if you’re looking for luxury, convenience, or you’re on a budget, you’ll be able to find a place perfect for you.
If the elevation and number of sunny days don’t convince you that Mammoth Mountain is a snowboarder’s paradise, the 400 inches of snowfall per year might do the trick. Resort designers are raising the bar every season by adding new trails and new adventure, so you’ll never be disappointed.
7. Telluride, Colorado
Nestled right in the middle of a beautiful, towering range of mountains and cliffs, Telluride is best known for being a silver mining camp in the late 1800s. Home to some of the tallest mountains sitting at 14,000 feet, Telluride is a year-round tourist destination.
With over 2,000 acres of skiable terrain, you’ll enjoy an average snowfall of 280 inches each year. The trails run from the town of Telluride all the way to the community of Mountain Village, Colorado. And at only 330 miles from Denver, you’ll never be without a range of activities to choose from.
While there are runs for everyone, even beginners, Telluride specializes in terrain meant for intermediate and expert level snowboarders. There are over 120 runs to experience with 23% beginner, 36% intermediate, 41% expert.
Another great feature is the free gondola system that runs from the town of Telluride to the Mountain Village. Not only is this one of the first systems of its time in the United States, but you get a great view of the mountain range on the three-mile-long ride.
A Million Choices, a Million Best Places to Snowboard
Whether you choose to stay in the United States or book a trip around the world to gain another stamp in your passport, there are hundreds and thousands of beautiful ski resorts to choose from. Each offering something special to make it stand out from the rest.
So if you’re itching to get your feet back in those snowboarding boots, pack your bags and get going! With record snowfall this year, it looks like you have some planning to do as you explore all the best places to snowboard!
No matter if you’re young or old, an expert or a beginner, there’s always a place for you on the slopes. Want to brush up on your skills before your trip? Read these tips to help you surprise and shock those around you as soon as you strap into your board.