For most people, summer is the ideal season for exotic getaways and exciting vacations, but for snowboarders, there’s no time quite like winter to see the world. Winter, of course, is prime time for resorts and other destinations that offer snow sports, and thousands of thrill seekers travel to these snow-capped oases each year and from every corner of the globe. Take a look at some of the world’s best snowboarding destinations, and get ready to explore them on your next snowy adventure!
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada
It’s not hard to see why Whistler Blackcomb, a site of the 2010 Winter Olympics, has been rated as the top resort in North America again and again: The pair of mountains that give the resort its name provide a combined skiable area of more than 8,000 acres, including vertical drops of up to 5,000 feet and 200 runs. Whistler Blackcomb offers something for snowboarders who are just learning how to maneuver as well as veterans of countless slopes.
An iconic resort that has helped to fuel the popularity of snowboarding in the US, Breckenridge is a favorite of pro and amateur snowboarders alike. There are five massive peaks to explore, as well as one of the best snowboard parks in the nation, so Breckenridge easily earns its place as one of the best areas of snowboarding in the world.
Snowy and mountainous, Hokkaido—Japan’s northernmost island—provides a truly unique experience for snowboarders who visit. Storms that blow in from nearby Siberia blanket the island with incredibly light, dry snow that is ideal for snowboarding. And once you step off the slopes, you can explore Japanese culture in one of Hokkaido’s rustic villages and major cities, like Sapporo.
Lake Tahoe, California
Spanning thousands of acres against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains and home to nine resorts, Lake Tahoe has all the right ingredients to make it any snowboarder’s paradise. Visit Squaw Valley or Kirkwood if you’re in the mood for intense adventures around tight turns, steep slopes, and cliffs, and for a more leisurely day on the powder, check out Heavenly or Northstar.
Wanaka, New Zealand
The only contender from the southern hemisphere, this community on the edge of Lake Wanaka with access to “the Matterhorn of the South,” Mt. Aspiring. Most of the area’s best snowboarding takes place at three main resorts: Cardrona, Treble Cone, and Snow Park NZ. Enormous, open snowfields make up much of the slopes here, so you can take your board and fly without the need to worry about following trails or steering clear of trees.