Top 4 Resorts for snowboarders~
Snowboarders and skiers don’t always mix well on the slopes but there are winter sports resorts that welcome boarders with open arms. We look at four resorts in Europe and North America where boarding is a way of life, and where fans can freestyle, freeride and improve their carving technique knowing there are great facilities.
Before you go, make sure your travel insurance covers you for winter sports. Some policies include it as standard. Others, such as those from Barclays, feature it as an optional extra.
USA: Park City, Utah
With many facilities dating from the 2002 Winter Olympics, there are challenges for all abilities in Park City. The celebrated Eagle Superpipe, for example, has walls up to 22ft while the King’s Crown Superpark offers awesome jumps and more for the sport’s very best. Jonesy’s is a better park option for intermediate boarders looking to build confidence. Keen freeriders head for McConkie’s Bowl, where moguls or powder are the order of the day depending on the conditions. Lessons are available for all levels at the Ski and Snowboard School.
Long popular with a youthful crowd and with a reputation for great après ski, Mayrhofen was quick to embrace the boarding culture. A key attraction is Van Penken Park, which has kickers, rails and jumps, a half-pipe and facilities for beginners through to pros. There’s also a section set aside for children. Daredevil boarders (and skiers) continue to be drawn to the area’s hair-raising Harakiri Piste, which is Austria’s steepest groomed slope. Artificial snow-making facilities help when the white stuff is thin on the ground but beware of lift queues, especially in high season.
Switzerland: Laax and Flims
Boarders like their après ski but pretty Laax and its neighbour Flims in Switzerland are a quieter option for much of the season. However, it offers some excellent freeriding with about 220km of marked pistes and plenty of off-piste and powder options, including in the Vorab Glacier area. Freestylers of all abilities are catered for, with the Ils Plauns snow park a particular favourite with experienced boarders and freeskiers. NoName boasts Europe’s largest half-pipe but newbies should head for the Beginners Snow Park.
USA: Breckenridge, Colorado
The facilities at Breckenridge are rated by many, including the British Olympic team, who’ve spent many a winter’s day in training on the resort’s half-pipe. Experts are catered for at the Freeway Terrain Park at Peak 8, which has impressive jumps and rails as well as a superpipe. The same peak is home to the Trygves Terrain Park, which is better suited to beginners. Take 5 Chair to Park Lane, which boasts a collection of rails, boxes and jibs.
And one resort to avoid… Deer Valley in the USA is a skiers-only resort.