Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Superpipes and Sweet Slopes: Top Spots for Snowboarding

Wouldn’t it be nice if some benefactor built you a private half-pipe in the Rocky Mountains? Unfortunately, unlike Shaun White, you don’t have a Red Bull sponsorship or a 550-foot-long superpipe. But if you’re able to travel, you can find some pretty choice snowboarding spots.

Check out these destinations if you’re trying to decide where to go:

Colorado hotspots
Keystone, Colo., is home to the Keystone Resort, which kicks off the snowboard and skiing season Nov. 1. Feel like a rock star here when you snowboard brightly lit slopes at night, You’ll find plenty of other fun activities here, too, like tubing, sleigh rides and Snowcat tours.

Vail, Colo., is known for its impressive downhill ski runs, but its latest claim to fame is a new superpipe, built for the 2013 Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships. The Golden Peak Superpipe is 22 feet high and 600 feet long — not exactly beginner terrain.  Check out Vail’s Back Bowls for a less intimidating introduction to snowboarding.

You won’t have any trouble finding spots for snowboarding in Colorado. Check out the Colorado Ski website for deals and special offers.

Perfect parks in Utah
If you’re not quite ready for the X Games but want to witness some world-class snowboarding, visit the Park City Mountain Resort in Utah. You may catch a glimpse of some of the world’s best snowboarders in this area, which hosts the World Superpipe Championships every year. Park City offers three parks for amateur snowboarders — Jonesy’s, PayDay Park and Pick ‘N Shovel Park — where you can work on your flips and not feel out of your league.

Wyoming snowboarder paradise
You know Jackson Hole, Wyo., is snowboarder-friendly the moment you spy an issue of the locally produced Snowboarder Magazine on newsstands. Published monthly since mid-2010, the magazine is one of the best repositories of snowboarding knowledge you’ll find, so check it out if you’re planning a trip to Wyoming.

The Tetons offer pristine powder, and some areas are so remote, you have to exert considerable effort to get there. On that note, if you should take a gnarly spill out there, first responders will have to fly you to a hospital, so you’ll need health insurance. If you don’t have it, you can get short-term medical insurance from HCC Medical.

Closer to home
Snowboarding has grown a lot in popularity in recent years, so you may be able to find some good half-pipes or freestyle spots in your own state. Even in the Midwest — where flat farmland is the norm — you’ll find places to snowboard. Ohio, Indiana and Michigan all have good areas for beginning snowboarders.

Regardless of your ability, don’t make the mistake of finding your own hill and snowboarding on your own. Always use the buddy system, so someone is nearby to get help, if needed. Accidents can and do happen in snowboarding — and some people would argue that’s one reason snowboarding is such a thrill!

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