These snowboarder-approved resorts range from Mt. Baker in Washington to Laax in Switzerland.
I grew up in and now live just outside a ski town — a place where everyone welcomes the snow and counts the days until the start of the ski season. Ski towns like mine are rooted in the sport, but even the term “ski town” seemingly excludes a huge portion of people who like to slide on snow. (Just ask my husband, who switched from skiing to snowboarding in the 8th grade and now rides for Ogasaka Snowboards out of Japan.) Sure, most resorts allow both skiers and snowboarders to play on their hills, but there is often an underlying angst toward snowboarders. Three U.S. ski areas have gone as far as to ban snowboarders — looking at you Deer Valley, Alta, and Mad River Glen — and many are full of moguls, a terrain type snowboarders hate.
The snowboard has come a long way since it debuted as the “Snurfer” in 1965. Skier acceptance of snowboarders has also improved. Sure, a few resorts don’t allow snowboarders, but according to Smithsonian Magazine, during the snowboard boom of the 1980s, “Most North American ski resorts banned snowboarding, citing insurance liability and the rudeness of too many riders.” They note that “The sport was more accepted in Europe, particularly in France.”
The number of resorts that not only welcome snowboarders but have terrain specifically made for snowboarders has increased greatly over the years. And according to Josh Niernberg, a competitive snowboarder who is now a chef and owner of two (soon to be three) restaurants in Grand Junction, Colorado, the vibe goes a long way. “Ski areas where they are happy to host their guests, even if their amenities aren’t luxury, have always proven to be more snowboard friendly than their counterparts from an on-mountain perspective.”
In addition to Niernberg, we chatted with a couple of other riders who shared what makes a resort snowboarder-friendly and what mountains they like to ride.
Here are 20 of the best snowboarding resorts around the world.
Related: America's Best Ski Towns
Best Snowboarding Resorts in the U.S.
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, California
Mammoth Mountain is a favorite of Brent Sandor, a snowboarder and the vice president of marketing at 686, an outerwear company that specializes in gear for snowboarders. The California mountain has 28 lifts and gets 350 inches of snow a year on average. Plus, the mountain has a whopping 10 terrain parks with over 100 jibs, 50 jumps, and two halfpipes.
“There is just so much terrain, from steeps to park to accessible backcountry,” said Sandor in an email interview with Travel + Leisure. “It’s a home away from home for me, so it has to top the list.”
Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington
Its name may state it’s a “ski area,” but in many ways, Baker is a snowboarder haven. It was one of the first areas, if not the first ski area to allow snowboarding, and has been run by the Howat family for over 50 years.
Niernberg says, “The maritime snowpack and moderate warm temperatures have traditionally made Baker more conducive to snowboards than skis, but even today where factors like that aren’t as important, Baker continues to be in a class by itself.” The winter playground is also home to the Legendary Banked Slalom race, a top event in the snowboard community.
“It’s impossible to say enough about this mountain,” confirmed Sandor. “A small, independent mountain with some of the mightiest terrain, this should be on the top of every snowboarder’s list.”
Related: T+L's Guide to Mt. Baker
Brighton Resort, Utah
Niernberg calls Brighton “the epicenter of snowboarding,” noting it has the perfect combination of “terrain parks, natural terrain, cliffs, deep snow, and an impeccable vibe.” Plus, the resort is just 35 minutes southeast of Salt Lake City airport and sees around 500 inches of average annual snowfall.
Park City Mountain, Utah
Part of what makes boarding Park City Mountain so fun is knowing the neighboring Deer Valley Resort has banned snowboarders. The ban only makes the stoke that much higher at Park City Mountain; Mel Hampton, a lifelong snowboarder and the field marketing manager for the mountain, says, “Many of the runs at Park City’s Mountain Village don’t require a lot of traversing from the top of the lift to the runs, which makes it really easy for snowboarders to get around the mountain. Snowboarders also enjoy areas with a great variety of steeper runs, as it’s often easier to ride down steeper runs on a snowboard. Park City Mountain’s six terrain parks and half-pipe offer a lot of great options for snowboarders as well.”
Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort, Colorado
One of my husband’s favorite resorts to board is Snowmass, which is one of the four separate mountains that make up Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort. He says Snowmass has “great parks and half pipes along with fun groomer terrain.”
Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort, Oregon
If shredding on a stratovolcano sounds exciting, make your way to Mt. Bachelor, a beloved Oregon ski area known for its good snow and stellar snowboarding scene. And unlike some of the more well-known ski areas around the country, Mt. Bachelor remains rustic, a vibe Niernberg (and my husband) appreciate.
“I really like the smaller ski areas (not big resorts) and have found myself spending more and more time supporting the smaller, more rustic, and less polished areas,” Niernberg said. “I have come to realize (after growing up riding Vail/Summit County) that the smaller ski areas always seem to have more to offer in terms of varied terrain than some of the larger resorts do.” Mt. Bachelor is just that.
Powderhorn Mountain Resort, Colorado
Powderhorn is a bit of an outlier on this list, but both my husband and Niernberg agree that this tiny, low-key mountain has something special. Niernberg says, “I arrive at the base of a ski area with virtually no snow on the road until the last few miles, park for free, walk 30 yards to the high-speed quad, know all of the staff by name, ride the six-minute chair, strap in, and go directly down the front through wide pine and aspen glades.”
Best International Resorts for Snowboarders
Laax, which is part of the Flims Laax Falera family, is famous for having the world’s biggest halfpipe, at 22.6 feet high, 656 feet long, and 72 feet wide. It’s a favorite of my husband’s buddy, Lucas Foster, who competed in the 2022 Winter Olympics for the U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team.
Kitzsteinhorn Glacier, Austria
One of the biggest perks about visiting Kitzsteinhorn is the fact that the snow on the glacier is reliably good from October to May (most U.S. ski areas open in November and close in April). They have their own 19-foot superpipe along with plenty of kickers, rails, and boxes, making this another of Foster’s European favorites.
Niseko United, Japan
Niseko United is made up of four neighboring resorts — Annupuri, Niseko Village, Niseko Tokyo Grand Hirafu, and Hanazono — which can all be accessed with a single “All Mountain Pass.” Niernberg says boarding Niseko is special because it “remains both affordable and accessible” with “famously light ‘Japow’ snow that falls nonstop from early January to March without fail.”
This isn’t your typical resort, but it’s a true snowboarder haven. Baldface is a snow-cat operation that takes boarders out into the Valhalla Mountain Range for untracked pow and camaraderie with fellow one-plankers. If you have the cash, book a multi-day trip out of the company’s lodge in Nelson, British Columbia.
Sandor calls it “A bucket-list trip” and Niernberg calls it “the best snowboard terrain and best snow on the planet.”
Les Arcs, France
In addition to a park and night skiing, Les Arcs has 123 named ski runs — mostly intermediate-level. Besides enough terrain to keep any snowboarder happy, the resort has lots of off-mountain activities, including an avalanche park, two luges, and a stunning walkway.
Chamonix-Mont Blanc, France
The Chamonix Valley has some of the best skiing in the world, with a setting along the base of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps. Chamonix is a great place for boarders who like natural freestyle terrain — and plenty of it.
Davos Klosters, Switzerland
Davos doesn’t have the notoriety of Chamonix, but snowboarders will love its wide runs and huge halfpipes. Like many of the European mountains, there are six ski areas under Davos Klosters, including Jakobshorn, a favorite.
St. Anton Ski Arlberg, Austria
This resort is the largest interconnected ski area in Austria, and as such, has plenty of terrain options — including an impressive snow park that snowboarders love. During the peak winter season, St. Anton has almost 200 miles of on-piste and 120 miles of off-piste trails for snowboarders to explore.
Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Canada
Revelstoke is still somewhat undiscovered, but it’s made a name for itself for having the longest vertical descent of any ski resort in North America (at over 5,600 feet). The terrain, which Niernberg called “visually unique,” adds to the experience, as does the “fantastic park” and the “50/50 ski/snowboard head count.”
Verbier is the main resort of the 4 Vallées ski area, the largest ski resort in Switzerland. Along with Verbier, 4 Vallées skiers have access to Thyon, Nendaz, and Veysonnaz.
Verbier is famous for the Attelas piste, which boasts a descent of over 3,000 feet (or 1,000 meters). Snowboarders tend to enjoy the wide, well-groomed slopes, which provide plenty of room for carving.
Related: T+L's Guide to Visiting Verbier
Rusutsu Resort, Japan
Rusutsu is the largest all-season resort in Hokkaido, with things like golf, a petting zoo, and an amusement park — in addition to great snowboard terrain and Japan’s cool snow-surf culture.
Niernberg says, “One of the three peaks at Rusutsu remains mostly untouched/ungroomed for the entire season. Coupled with the famous ‘Japow’ snowfall, the pairing of accessible pow turns through loosely gladed lines with rocks and cliffs aplenty make Rusutsu pretty magical.”
Tignes is known for its high-altitude glaciers that provide snow reliability and overall good conditions. The sprawling French resort has two impressive parks and a welcoming feel — after all, ski areas in France were some of the first to welcome snowboarders.
Whistler Blackcomb, Canada
Thanks to its giant mountains — Whistler and Blackcomb — this ski area has something for everyone. There are 200 marked runs, three terrain parks, and three glaciers. In addition to holding the title of “North America's largest ski resort,” Whistler Blackcomb has a long winter season and an average of 448 inches of snow annually.
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