If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been assigned the role of Chief Holiday Planner. Pretty awesome, but remember with great power comes great responsibility.
From the time of year you go, to your pre-holiday training plan, there’s a lot you need to consider when planning a group snowboarding trip. And with such a fine line between gnarly and g-nasty, it’s important you give yourself plenty of time to prepare.
So as we slide into snowboarding season, we thought we’d give you a little helping hand to plan your next trip.
Location is everything
With so much choice, don’t be surprised when your shortlist ends up, well, not so short. But that’s the trick when it comes to finding the right location for your group trip: keeping your options limited. Asking your friends to review and vote on 10+ resorts will get tiresome, so try and keep it to 2-4 destinations.
Before you pick your gold standard resorts, make sure you know what the group are looking for…
- What’s the average budget?
- What’s the experience level?
- How many hours do they want to spend on the slopes?
- How far do they want to travel?
- What alternative activities are they looking for?
Epic, unpredictable mountainsides such as St Anton, Austria, are perfect for freeriders looking for their next adrenaline high. However beginners might find resorts like this a bit rough around the edges.
Before you go any further, make sure you have an answer to each of those questions.
‘Tis the right season to snowboard
With so many location hotspots at your fingertips, it doesn’t really matter what time of year you want to hit the slopes – just as long as you’re willing to travel to enjoy your next thrill.
Here we quickly run through where to go and when…
Europe boasts some of the world’s most incredible snowboarding centres to suit every boarder’s needs, so we’ve made an effort to focus on the perfect time of year. But don’t worry, you can still read more about North America, South America, and Japan.
From the charm of the Austrian slopes to the adrenaline fuelled altitudes of France, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Europe. But when’s the best time to visit?
Anytime between early December and April…
- Early December offers up good prices, but at a risk. As the winter season is just beginning, there’s no guarantee how much snow will fall, or the quality of it.
- Bag yourself a new year bargain with a trip in January. Whilst the days are often shorter and weather a little chillier, the queues won’t be quite as intimidating!
- If you can avoid the chaos that the month of February brings to the slopes, then do. Crowded with families taking advantage of the half-term break, it’s donned peak season for a reason!
- Looking for a trip that will allow you to balance shredding the snow with relaxed lunches and evenings by the fire? Then Europe in March could be perfect for you. As the weather starts to change, you’ll enjoy brighter days made for more activities. But be warned, you might end up ripping through slushy slopes.
- And then we have April, also known as spring boarding season. Long days, slushy conditions and late evening drinks in the sunshine – ideal if you want make a real holiday out of your snowboarding trip.
If your heart is set on Europe in summer, try Finland. With some areas of Finland still experiencing arctic temperatures until June, you’ll easily get away with a snowboarding holiday in the middle of the year.
Although North America is bursting at the seams with winter resorts, the USA’s history of unpredictable weather makes choosing the right time of year more of a challenge. That is if you’re looking for real snow; many of the large resorts have a backup of artificial snow just in case winter’s a little dry one year.
Unpredictable weather aside, consider the winter season falling between the end of November and the end of April.
While snowboarders tend to flock here between June and October, which is South America’s official season, we recommend going right down the middle for peak conditions. Heading over between July and September will ensure you get to enjoy some of the world’s snowboarding hot spots in all their glory.
If you’re in pursuit of pure powder snowboarding, you can’t dismiss Japan. With absolutely no artificial snow in sight, you can enjoy these idyllic slopes from December.
The season usually ends around May, but keep an eye out for the forecast because you’re good to go until the snow fall comes to an end.
All work and no play
For you diehard snowboarders out there, we know nothing gets your heart racing like the thought of spending your days on the slopes. Getting to know every twist, every steep, every drop off.
But some boarders crave the atmosphere of the après just as much as the glacial runs. If this sounds like your group, make sure you consider the extra activities available when booking your trip.
From the sophisticated soirées of Switzerland to the spirited shindigs in Austria, there’s lots of variety on offer when it comes to après.
If you’re after a snowboarding trip with some edge, you could check out one of these legendary winter sports festivals.
Last minute checks
Your role as Chief Holiday Planner doesn’t end when the trip is booked and paid for. For the best trip experience possible, it’s important you and your fellow riders are on track for some epic riding…
Putting in the effort
You wouldn’t take on a mountain biking marathon without preparing your body and your mind, and snowboarding is no different. It requires conditioning and training to avoid injury.
Next time you find yourself with a few spare minutes, try these at-home exercises to prepare you for a season of snowboarding. Or even better, get all of your group together for a session!
Arm yourself with the right kit
From the safety essentials and maintenance kits to insulated clothing and protective wear, a boarder needs a lot of equipment. But where should you start?
For the perfect balance of style, comfort and functionality, look for brands spearheading the latest technological advances. This is the ticket to a connected ride.
When prioritising what you and your friends need, start from the bottom up. We’re talking your board and your shoes…
Without reliable support and traction, you’re going to feel pain a lot quicker than your compadres. For some more practical advice choosing the perfect snowboarding boot, check out 3 key features you need to look out for.
And finally, the golden rule
Have fun with it!
Snowboarding is a unique sport that promises excitement, adrenaline highs and all-round good times. So don’t let the planning get you down.
Make sure it’s an inclusive process so that all your group are happy with the trip you organise, and then sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
Looking for a little boarding inspiration? Check out these 10 must-follow snowboarders on Instagram.