Top 5 for Destinations for Snowboarders ([email protected])
It's a debate the divides nations, families and friends. Skiing versus snowboarding. It's not one I intend on tackling head on here, instead I'm going to stay neutral and go down the route of tackling the debate of best snowboarding holiday destinations in Andorra, Austria and France. An education in the epic world of snowboarding if you will.
I'm going to run through some of the basics of choosing the best resorts for beginner boarders to those looking to explore off piste territory or hit up a park or two on their snowboarding holiday.
Whether it's a cheap deal you're after or a more 4* experience there is a snowboarding holiday out there for everyone. With flights out of Ireland and the UK, Andorra, Austria and France are all catered for, with companies like Direct Ski running amazing offers every season.
First off, the beginner snowboarder can be a death trap unto themselves, a rouge beginner can cause themselves a mischief along with everyone around them if not instructed correctly. So not only are you looking for the best terrain for your trip, but also the best instructors to help you with the basics. Then from there you can get to terms with more complex runs, off piste and the huge amount of parks across Europe. That why I've also chosen resorts noted for their excellent schools and qualified instructors.
So, in no particular order, the Top 5 Destinations for Snowboarders.
1. Pas de la Casa and Soldeu, Andorra are part of Grandvalira snowboarding area, which is the only resort in the Pyrenees with an impressive 4 snowparks, plus a Freestyle Academy. Grandvalira also offers longer opening hours, so you can literally board until 9pm. Not for the light hearted. The area also boast amazing tuition, it's where I spent my first two snowboarding holidays, and progressed quickly and confidently thanks to small class sizes and excellent instructors.
2. Les Arc, France is another great boarding destination for those seeking great freeriding, with a ton of off piste options for the more adventurous, and that;s all before you get to their park and half pipe. The Apocalypse Park is located at Arc 1600 next to the Snowpark ski lift, it caters for every level.
3. Kitzbuhel, Austria provides amazing off piste terrain for boarders, one of the best resorts when it comes to free riding. It is a little more costly than your average resort, but well worth. The park is rather small, but plenty of natural occurring jumps to play around with.
4. Another amazing snowboarder friendly resort is Chamonix in France. It has a huge amount of free runs, off piste, and more than the odd tree to dodge. It's definitely more for the more intermediate to advance boarder, beginners might be a bit lost in the vast expanse of Chamonix, with 10 black pistes, 20 red, 28 blue slopes.
5. Avoriaz, France have a huge amount of parks. Chapelle Snowpark has ample kickers, rails and boxes. They also have a discovery pass which allows you to scan your skipass, do your jump and and get video feedback. They also have Super Pipe, a 120m long half pipe. Not to mention The Arare Snowpark for riders of a high level, with red and black kickers and more engaging rails and boxes. They also have the popular Big Air Bag to throw your tricks in safety. As it that wasn't enough The Stash another area for throwing tricks.
So if you can handle the odd dirty look from a skier then, grab your board, bindings and grab a cheap deal for your holidays 2014.