Whether you’re really good at catching air on the halfpipe, sailing through the backcountry, or wiping out as soon as you hop off the ski lifts, grab your boots (or rent some) and check out these epic resorts. It’s taken years for snowboarders to gain respect and a legit spot alongside skiers and now that their sport’s worthy enough for the Olympics, many mountains cater to the skateboarders and surfers of the snow, who dare to hit the powder with just one board instead of two sturdy skis.
Maybe you’re a new and fresh boarder in search of some new and fresh snow to practice on, or maybe you’re working on your back flip. Whatever the case, these 5 epic snowboarding destinations each promise a unique pow-pow experience.
With five terrain parks and two half-pipes to choose from, Breckenridge appeals to up and coming freestylers and seasoned experts alike. Known for having the best pipes and parks in the world and continually ranked in the top three by industry leaders, Breckenridge continues to raise the bar in the terrain park arena. For ski-in/ski-out lodging that’s close to restaurants and bars check out the Hyatt Main Street Station.
The 3 terrain parks and superpipe at Vail are the training ground for some of America’s best athletes. Frequent competitions are held throughout the season including the Honda Session, the world’s most progressive snowboarding competition. The Ritz Carlton just opened for the 2010-2011 season and is a highly recommended destination.
Snowmass has terrain suitable for all skiing and snowboarding levels with wide stretched tree lined trails, heavily treed terrain tremendous on powder days, steep moguls and easy beginner trails. Advanced skiers and snowboarders go to High Alpine for challenging chutes, tight trees and secret powder stashes. After a big snowfall turn left at the top of the Sheer Bliss Chairlift to experience The Cirque, a double black diamond gully littered with rocks, tre
es and drops. The Sheer Bliss chairlift was replaced by a detachable quad chairlift for the 2009 winter season that’s 155 feet longer than the old chairlift giving advanced snowboarders even more access to the steep Big Burn treed terrain. The sophistication and sense of place that distinguish Viceroy destinations from California to the Caribbean perfectly blend with the Colorado high country, and they recently opened so it’s the place to see and be seen.
Whistler Blackcomb has 5 terrain parks; 2 on Whistler Mountain and 3 on Blackcomb Mountain. The five parks cater for all levels and have over 200 features between them. The world class expert Nintendo Terrain Park under the Catskinner Chair on Blackcomb Mountain is 3,480 feet in length with a vertical drop of 1,007 feet. It has huge table tops, hip jumps, spines and step up jumps, banks, rails, and fun boxes. The snow cross track and superbly maintained superpipe are next to it.
In 2009 Whistler Blackcomb invested $748,000 in upgrading all the terrain parks. Two new park groomers were purchased and new rail features installed throughout the parks. The Habitat Terrain Park on Whistler Mountain was expanded and the entrance widened giving less congestion in peak periods. The Nintendo Superpipe was widened and re-contoured giving even smoother walls and a bigger drop in. For lodging accommodations the Four Seasons always does it right.
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – HEAVENLY
Overlooking the sapphire-blue waters of Lake Tahoe, Heavenly is one of the most unique snowsports destinations on the planet. Snowboarding at Heavenly presents you with a number of different choices. With more terrain variety, more hidden glades, more rippin’ groomers than any Lake Tahoe resort, you’ve got plenty of decisions to make. If you want to test your luck day and night Harrah’s is a top destination.
Tell us about your favorite snowboarding destinations and your favorite places to stay, eat, and drink while you’re there. Now it’s time to hit the slopes!