Best Resorts For Snowboarding
The best resorts for snowboarding are often based in ski areas where the mountain and facilities are ideal for snowboarders and where the local businesses have embraced the sport. Resorts with large numbers of drag lifts, t-bars and flat tracks are a nightmare for snowboarders and there are even a handful of US resorts, such as Deer Valley, which have banned snowboarding full stop.
In both Europe and North America there are some fantastic resorts for snowboarding. The likes of Avoriaz and North Star at Tahoe, boast the Burton Stash snow parks — hand built by Burton's park shaping experts — while resorts such as Tignes, Aspen and Flims Laax host some of the biggest events, due to their great parks, terrain and resort atmosphere.
With more resorts embracing snowboarding, here are our best resorts for snowboarding holidays.
Photo: John Antoniuk, Revelstoke Resort.
Best Resorts For Snowboarding: Overall
Tignes: Tignes, being linked to Val d'Isere, offers one of the world's finest ski areas and is a great place for snowboarding. The resort boasts a real pedigree, hosting the European Winter X-Games, and being a regular haunt of many pro-riders. The snow parks in Tignes and Val d'Isere are both great, the freeride terrain — especially when hiking with a guide is epic and there are snowboard specialist ski school (and hire) shops galore.
Val Thorens: Val Thorens, at the top of the Three Valleys, is a snowboarder's paradise. With great slopes, a good snowpark and access to Meribel and Courchevel, it offers unrivalled terrain. There is a great nightlife, thanks to a great choice of English, Dutch and Scandi bars, as well as the largest night club in the Alps — Malaysia.
Morzine: Morzine is renowned for snowboarding and the Portes du Soleil boasts one of the most even splits of snowboarders-to-skiers you will find on the slopes. There are eight snowparks to chose from — including The Stash in Avoriaz — good freeriding and tree-lined runs and, over in Les Gets, plenty of good rising for beginners.
Ischgl: Ischgl offers a charming village with one of the most raucous après ski scenes around. The ski schools have a great reputation, and English-speaking instructors, there is terrain for every ability and you can ski back into town at the end of the day. There isn't one aspect of Ischgl which outshines the other — which is why it's such a great all round resort for snowboarding.
Whistler: Whistler is often described as the best in the world. Though it doesn't benefit from the huge choice of skiing that many European resorts offer, the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains offer a great variety of terrain, snow parks and powder-filled back bowls. The resort has a great atmosphere, good nightlife and every amenity you'll ever need on a snowboard holiday.
Best Resorts For Snowboarding: Beginners
Alpe d'Huez: Alpe d'huez is one of the best, if not the best, resort for skiers and snowboarders in the Alps. It has a huge beginner area and some great confidence building blues and reds. With the largest ski school in the Alps, a beginner and expert snowpark and a fun après ski scene — check out Smithy's band nights — it's definitely among the best resorts for snowboard beginners.
Courchevel: Courchevel is often overlooked by beginners, but both Courchevel 1650 and La Tania has good beginner terrain — especially 1650 — and some fun blue runs to improve your skills on. With great bars, such as Rockies and the Skilodge, you can have plenty of fun-filled nights to retail stories of your first days on the slopes.
La Rosiere: La Rosiere is a hidden gem when it comes to snowboarding. The resort is quaint with a few green runs to get you going, but then it offers some great blue runs for building up you speed and confidence as you head to La Thuile — which boasts some great value mountain restaurants with good Italian food.
Saas Fee: Saas Fee is another Mecca for snowboarders and is home to the British Snowboarding team for much of the year. With great terrain for beginners, a fantastic selections of easy blues and reds (and a huge snowpark), snowboarders from beginners to experts are all catered for. Add in a charming resort, amazing year round snow and good ski schools, and what else could you need?
Obergurgl: Obergurgl has more steep blues and cruisey reds than any other Austrian resort, perfect for snowboarders looking to progress on the mountain. The runs really lend themselves to beginner-intermediate snowboarding and if you want to venture further you can visit the easy riding glaciers at Solden.
The Stash, Avoriaz
Best Resorts For Snowboarding: Freestyle
Meribel: Meribel sits at the heart of the Three Valleys and offers a great all round snowboarding experience. There are some good beginner slopes around the Altiport, two snowparks — including the new DC park — plus the Val Thorens snowpark, and some good powder stashes. Ski schools, such as Magic in Motion, are great for snowboarders and there are also specialist snowboard shops too. Last, but not least, there is a great après ski party scene!
Avoriaz: Avoriaz is one of the best resorts for snowboarding if freestyle and park riding are your thing. With eight snowparks to play with, two half-pipes — one of which is a bonafide superpipe — and great snow, what else could you ask. A favourite with many British pro riders, a great snowboarding scene and snowparks for every ability, not to mention the Burton Stash — built by the world biggest snowboarding companies top park shapers.
Flims Laax: Flims Laax is home to the Burton European open for one reason and one reason only, it's park team. The snowparks here are already awesome, but when the competitions arrive in town the team build the most incredible snowparks and half-pipes in Europe. For competition riders and park rats, it's a snowboarding dream.
Les Deux Alpes: Les Deux Alpes plays host to BUSC (the British University Snowsports Championships) and many industry board tests thanks to its great mountain, awesome terrain park and the epic riding over in La Grave. Les Deux Alpes also offers great value accommodation, making it ideal for cheap snowboarding holidays.
Mayrhofen: Mayrhofen is another resort popular with pro snowboarders, thanks to the Vans Penken park and the great party scene. With the Hintertux glacier offering year round snow and some amazing parks and half-pipes on offer, Mayrhofen is a long standing favourite of snowboarders.
Best Resorts For Snowboarding: Freeriding
Verbier: Verbier boasts some of the most epic freeride terrain, whether on a board or skis. With a pedigree that includes the Verbier Freeride competition and some of the most respected guides in the mountain, heading up the Mont Fort is a must for freeride fans. There is also an awesome après ski scene in the Pub Mont Fort and the Farinet — perfect after a day of rooster tails and hiking to the top of couloirs!
St. Anton: St. Anton would be an all round resort, if it wasn't for the beginner skiing, but it's freeride terrain and après ski are what sets it apart from everywhere else. Epic back country — such as the Valluga where you can't even get on the lift without a guide — followed by a few beers in the Mooserwirt, Krazy Kanguruh or Bar Cuba offer the hardened snowboarder and amazing holiday.
Chamonix: Chamonix is known for it's extreme terrain and the world famous Vallee Blanche. Though you can access the VB from the Aguille du Midi, it is recommended you take a guide — due to crevasses and cliffs on the way down. Chamonix is home to more insane freeride terrain than anywhere else in Europe, but you'll need a guide and some serious back country skills to make the most of what's on offer. There's a reason people like Xavier de Le Rue and James Stentiford call Cham home.
Val d'Isere: Val d'Isere may be known for its party scene and invasion of well spoken Brits, but it's also home to some incredible terrain. Book yourself an off-piste lesson or guide and go and enjoy the way selection of couloirs, hidden bowls and secret powder stashes galore. Once you've ridden yourself into the ground, check out the world famous Folie Douce, Petit Danois and Dick's Tea Bar to finish your day.
Revelstoke: Revelstoke is the ultimate of ultimate freeride resorts! It's the only place in the world that offers ski lifts, cat skiing and heli-skiing, all under one proverbial roof. The mountain is truly epic, the tree runs and awesome and the powder lasts for weeks, not days. This really is a once in a lifetime destination that will require some serious fitness to make the most of the riding!
Just remember, snowboarding is meant to be fun...