For dedicated snowboarders who prefer riding the mountains rather than slaloming their way down on skis, these resorts are guaranteed to satisfy. While they’ve got plenty to keep the skiers in your group happy, they all have a special appeal for snowboarders.
There’s a good reason the Annual World Ski and Snowboard Festival is held in Whistler Blackcomb every April. This popular event hosts the Boarderstyle World Championships and Big Air competitions, as well as live bands and DJs. North America’s largest ski resort has 37 lifts, giving you access to more than 8000 acres of slopes. There are plenty of challenges and variety to tackle in the resort, with bowls, steeps and trees to dodge.
If pristine pistes aren’t your thing, Whistler also has unrivalled backcountry access so you can take your snowboard away from the crowds. The resort’s five terrain parks provide plenty of opportunities to try your hand at tricks. Altogether, these have more than 40 jumps, 90 rails, a boardercross track and an 18-foot Zaugg superpipe.
Summer snowboard camps take place on Blackcomb Glacier during the summer months. These are run by Whistler Valley Snowboard Club, in conjunction with the resort itself.
Swish Davos is one of Switzerland’s largest resorts, with 320km of snowboard terrain. It’s also one of highest resorts in the Alps, so you’re practically guaranteed plenty of deep powder. The resort also has lots of natural features that make snowboarding exhilarating, including berms and trees. Some areas are floodlit at night, so you can discover the eerie sensation of boarding after dark.
Most snowboarders flock to Jakobshorn mountain, once the only part of Davos that was open to non-skiers. This area is known as the ‘cradle of the freestyle scene’, as it’s where the movement was first launched back in the ’90s. It’s home to the JatzPark, a terrain park with short but intense runs with features like rails and kickers suited to all abilities.
Parsenn snow park, which links Davos and Klosters, also has a lot to offer. Here, you’ll find the boardercross track, where you can compete with up to three others in a head-to-head race. The 1km course has waves, jumps and obstacles to keep you on your toes. It’s accessible to beginners as well as advanced boarders.
Attracting freestyle skiers and snowboarders from around the world, Verbier has the perfect combination of extreme terrain and pristine facilities, with perfectly groomed pistes and an efficient lift system. Speaking of which, with just one lift pass you can access 94 lifts and more than 400km of pistes across the Four Vallées. You can also board on Nendaz, Veysonnaz, La Tzoumaz and Val de Bagnas.
Verbier also has an exhilarating snow park on the sun-trap slope of La Chaux. The park is open from the beginning of December to freestylers of all levels. It has more than 20 elements including boxes, rails and kickers. There are five lines, including a red line with three kickers and nine rails and a black line with two kickers and five rails. The beginner blue line has three kickers and handful of easy rails.
Intermediate level boarders will get the most out of the incredible terrain at St Anton, which some enthusiasts have labelled the best terrain in Austria. With an Arlberg ski pass, you can also ride the slopes at St Christoph, Stuben, Lech and Zürs, which also have excellent terrain for snowboarders.
St Anton’s main draw is its 180km of marked off-piste runs, which are easily accessible and positively encouraged by the resort. Venture into the backcountry and you’ll find deep powder, lots of steeps and plenty of tree-lined slopes.
It’s also worth noting that St Anton is the only European resort where you can go heli-boarding, so it’s one for the serial thrill-seeker. Jump in a chopper and head deep into the back country, where you can make fresh tracks on the most off-the-beaten path slopes, covered in virgin snow.