Snowboarding is a popular winter sport, with over 5.1 million active participants. 22 percent of snowboarders also ski. Ryan Gawick considers snowboarding an exciting winter sports alternative, with its popularity enhanced by the Winter Olympics and X Games.
Snowboarders can use much of the same terrain as skiers, but there are many special features which are of interest to snowboarders. Terrain parks with A-frames, boxes, pipes, and other exciting additions bring snowboarders to their favorite resorts year after year.
Ryan Gawick, an information technology specialist and avid snowboarder, shares his top 10 snowboarding resorts in North America.
10. Keystone in Colorado
Keystone has an excellent terrain park. The resort is comprised of three peaks with 2 gondolas and 20 lifts. There are over 3,000 acres to explore. The resort is popular due to its outstanding snowboarding and extreme skiing features as well as its close proximity to the Denver area.
9. Vail in Colorado
Vail has an impressive array of snowboarding features. With a large number of bowls at the back of the resort, Vail provides terrain that will challenge any snowboarder. The mountain has 12 snowboard runs and 3 halfpipes for visitors to enjoy. It is equally good for beginners and seasoned athletes alike.
8. Mount Baker in Washington
Mount Baker can boast that it receives up to 641 inches of fresh snow every year. This makes it a great three-season destination. While the park is considered no-frills, it is the home of the Legendary Banked Slalom, a thrilling snowboard race held each February.
7. Aspen and Snowmass in Colorado
Aspen is one of the world’s leading winter resorts. With a fantastic array of restaurants and accommodations, Aspen can be the base of an exciting winter vacation. The quality of the mountain and its sister, Snowmass, keep visitors coming back. These two mountains are challenging enough for the most adventurous snowboarder with 4,500 vertical feet.
6. Stratton in Vermont
Stratton is known as the birthplace of snowboarding. It was the first resort to allow snowboarders on its slopes in 1983. It also was the first to introduce snowboarding lessons. The beauty of the surrounding Vermont wilderness makes the mountain stand out. The U.S. Open is held annually on the slopes of Stratton.
5. Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia
Whistler is a huge resort with the largest number of acres of snowboarding terrain in North America. There are 6 terrain parks and 200 marked trails. Backcountry enthusiasts will find amazing slopes in Whistler. The park also includes features from the Winter Olympics in 2010. The park has a beautiful peak-to-peak gondola which allows boarders to transfer from one mountain to the other. The park also has many excellent restaurants and accommodations.
4. Northstar California Resort
Located on the California side of Lake Tahoe, this resort receives approximately 350 inches of snow each year. The mountain has many difficult runs for adventurous snowboarders. The terrain parks are well-maintained, and the resort is known for its well-groomed trails. The after-ski scene is lively and exciting, with an array of restaurants to choose from.
3. Breckenridge in Colorado
Breckenridge has nearly 3,000 acres of terrain available to skiers and snowboarders. This is not a great park for the novice snowboarder, but intermediate and advanced athletes will find many slopes and terrain parks to their liking. The mountain also hosts the Dew Tour where snowboarders can see some of the finest athletes in the sport today.
2. Schweitzer in Idaho
Located in the gorgeous Idaho mountains, Schweitzer is one of snowboarding’s premier destinations. Both downhill and terrain park riders will find amazing conditions. The park boasts a 50-acre terrain park called the Stomping Grounds.
1. Mammoth Mountain in California
Mammoth is considered the best snowboarders’ mountain in the West. It has a huge terrain park with over 100 acres. The park has the best variety of halfpipes in North America. It is an ideal place to learn to snowboard, with high-quality instruction and beginner-level terrain. The peaks also have great boarding opportunities, with exciting high-level runs.
Ryan Gawick encourages everyone to try snowboarding. While it can be difficult to get started, there are a wide array of mountains which cater to the novice boarder as well as the expert. Snowboarding is a great way to get outdoors in the winter and to enjoy the best natural scenery that North America has to offer.