If you’ve got money burning through your pocket or your wanderlust is getting the best of you, maybe you and your board should take a vacation. There are amazing places to ride all across the world, but if you’re looking to make a vacation out of it, why not go somewhere new and exciting where your nights on the town will be just as fulfilling as the days on the slopes.
Here is a wide array of snowboarding destinations where you will be anything but bored. Pack your suitcase and your board and get ready for an adventure chock full of plenty of ride time on some amazing slopes and parks.
- Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia. This resort is less of a trek, but offers unbeatable riding. With breathtaking backcountry riding and amazing parks and pipes, this place has it all. From bowls and powder to the largest vertical drop of any resort worldwide, you will be planning to make a yearly pilgrimage to this spot when it’s time for you to leave.
- Hokkaido, Japan. Japan may not be the first destination that comes to mind when you think of the perfect boarding weather, but this northernmost island has constantly falling powder. If Japanese riders like Ayumu Hirano – who is blowing the world away in Olympic qualifiers – are any indication of the quality of riders the slopes produce, it’s surprising that more riders aren’t flocking there.
- Verbier, Switzerland. The mountains of Verbier are definitely black diamond. After a fresh snow, there are plenty of gullies and natural features that will keep your ride interesting. The steep mountains are thrilling to ride and in such a small country, there are plenty of opportunities to check out other parks. Nendaz is nearby for easier riding for beginners or for practicing switch riding.
- Wanaka, New Zealand. As with all these destinations, the backdrop for your ride is half the allure. The resorts in New Zealand are impeccable and treeless for a stunning view. There are a mix of resorts and private club fields across the country, so try them both out while you are there.
- Valle Nevado, Chile. If you want to hit up South America, try riding the Chilean mountains. As one of the three largest ski areas in the Southern Hemisphere, this resort is famous for its powder and heliskiing. Tres Puntas Summit stands at 12,045 feet, so you can really savor the ride down.
Last month, Olympic champion Shaun White injured his right ankle during Olympic training in New Zealand. He was there for the FIS World Cup slopestyle competition at the Winter Games in Cardrona, and shared a picture of his injury on Instagram.
The entire men’s slopestyle event was canceled due to weather, so White decided to rest his ankle and not compete in the halfpipe World Cup that took place later in the week. With the 2014 games slowly creeping up, White thought it would be more important to ensure that his ankle completely heals than push himself at a qualifying event. White has so far only met the qualification requirements to be considered for the halfpipe team, and still needs to be a top-30 finisher of a World Cup event for the slopestyle event. White is confident that he will be able to qualify at other International Ski Federation (FIS) competitions.
As he rests his ankle, White will plan his method of attack at Sochi. He has not stated how long he plans to spend recuperating, but he has a few opportunities to qualify before it’s too late. He is always ready to surprise fans with a bold and daring ride, so many people are eagerly awaiting his qualification.
Shaun is sponsored by Burton Snowboards.
Longboarding is a great way to cruise around town and take in all the colors of the season. With winter around the corner, riders want to maximize their time on the board and get as much ride time in as possible. Fall also means it’s time to head back to school for some, and longboarding is also a great way to get around campus. But before you hop on your board and cruise off into the sunset, check out some of the seasons must have gear.
- Don’t forget your helmet – especially if your campus has a lot of hills. You never know what’s going to snag a wheel, so it’s better to be safe than end up with a head injury. You don’t want to waste that tuition money when you could easily prevent a blow to the head with a helmet like the Bern Macon.
- You’ll definitely need a hat for the colder days and nights. While a snap back may be your style, check out some beanies that will keep you warm on your board. You’ll want a decent sweatshirt too, or a windbreaker to cut the breeze.
- Although the sun may not be hot, it’s still shining so don’t forget your shades. No matter how seasoned of a longboarder you are, if you can’t see where you’re going, you’re bound to have a bumpy ride.
- If you’re in the market for a new board, check out the fall inspired longboards at Eternal. Getting it at the end of the season will give you time to break it in so you can hit the ground running when spring comes around.
So before you head out this fall, grab some of the newest gear and enjoy the ride.
If you think strapping into the same board as Shaun White or Kelly Clark will get you to their level, think again. Unless you put in the years of hard work and dedication that they have, you probably won’t be taking home a gold medal from the Sochi Winter Games. But just because you won’t become an Olympic rider overnight doesn’t mean you can’t try to get their look and use their riding tips.
Shaun white has his own Burton line, The White Collection. Complete with boards and outerwear, The White Collection outfits men and women. Olympians boarder Torah Bright and Gretchen Bleiler teamed up respectively with Roxy and Oakley to create their own lines of functional outerwear. But not all Olympians have their own line.
Many boarders, like Louie Vito, prefer custom boards. Vito tops his custom made board with his “LV” logo and Burton’s Malavita bindings. Chas Guldemond rides a Sentury made custom Rockstar board with a light South African wood core for better responsiveness. Although the Olympians need to know their board like it is an extension of their bodies, some don’t mind buying the many quality boards on the market. Scotty Lago rides a Flow Maverick with NXT-AT bindings.
Burton outfitted the snowboarding team in the 2006 Turin and 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. Will Burton, one of America’s most well known snowboarding brands, rise to the opportunity again in 2014 for the Sochi Olympic Games?
Don’t grab a board just because the pros ride it so well. Each board has its individual pros and cons and can change with each rider’s abilities. Invest in a board based on your riding style, experience and personal feel for the board. Everybody is different, and your board should respond to yours.
In 2014, The US Olympic team will represent the nation’s best boarders in Sochi, Russia, for the Winter Games. The teams will be named in January after a long selection process. The men’s and women’s teams will compete in halfpipe, slopestyle, snowboard cross, parallel giant slalom and parallel slalom. All athletes must meet the International Ski Federation standards and the International Olympic Committee standards.
Keep your eyes on these guys (and girls):
- Chas Guldemond. Guldemond has been riding for 16 years and has U.S. Open, Global Open Tour, and X-Games placements under his belt and is ready to keep moving up. At the beginning of the year, he took second at the Breckenridge Dew Tour and first at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain in January. Sponsors include Neff Headwear and of course Eternal.
- Shaun White. Surprise, surprise. This guy is an Olympic team staple with two gold medals already under his belt.
- Kelly Clark. Clark is a veteran rider who knows her way around the halfpipe. She brought home a gold from the 2002 Olympics and a bronze from the 2010 games.
- JJ Thomas. He took the podium for a bronze medal at the 2002 Olympic Games then took some time off riding to get behind the camera. But he’s back now and ready to make up for lost time.
- Benji Farrow. Farrow made a name for himself after having an impressive first year on the U.S. Snowboarding Pro Team. He has placed at the Burton U.S. Open and the European X-Games.
- Arielle Gold. Gold is only a sophomore in high school and she is already placing in nearly every competition she enters. She is a part of the U.S. Snowboarding Pro Team.
Preparing for the Olympic Games is no easy task. The qualifying process consists of five grand prix events and the results will determine who makes up the U.S. team. The qualifying process is tough for these riders since there is such a great field of talent. Riders won’t find out if they are going to Sochi until two weeks ahead of the Winter Games, making for a tense time before the Olympics.