The 12 Best Places to Go Snowboarding

Snowboarder overlooking Mont Blanc in the Chamonix Valley

Getty / Mike Harrington

If you've got a few days free to head for the hills, it's bound to be a good getaway—especially if your snowboard break coincides with heavy snow at night and bluebird skies during the day.

But if you want to plan the snowboard trip of a lifetime, you'll need to plan your trip for one of the world's best snowboard destinations. Whether you like park or powder, ski lifts or skinning (or helicopters rides), luxurious hotels, or catered backcountry huts, there's somewhere in the world perfect for your next snowboarding trip.

Fortunately, it's probably one of the places on the list below.

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Hakuba Valley, Japan

Japan's central mountainous region, known as the Japanese Alps, is where you'll find the town of Hakuba, surrounded by fantastic ski resorts world-renowned for their amazingly light, deep powder. Just search Instagram for the hashtag "Japow" to get a sense of what snowboarding is like in the region. 

Hakuba Happo-One Snow Resort is the largest Hakuba-area resort with four base areas and a massive village with fantastic restaurants. It's one of the most expensive resorts in Japan to visit for the day—but at under $50 for a lift ticket, it's a fraction of the cost of snowboarding in the U.S.

The Hakuba Valley is also one of the world's best destinations for backcountry and side-country snowboarding. And as if getting first tracks in backcountry powder all day long wasn't enough, you can even ski-in to onsens—natural hot springs tucked into the mountain landscapes. Most towns have onsens you can visit after the lifts stop spinning, too.

Stay in the village of Habuka for the best lodging and dining options. Hakuba is also a hub for the bus system that connects to Nagano and other resorts. 

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Jackson Hole, Wyoming

USA, Wyoming, Jackson Hole, Snow covered landscape, mountains in background
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Jackson Hole is an amazing winter getaway even if you never strap on a snowboard—there's so much to do for snowboarders and non-snowboarders alike that it's a top pick if you have a mixed group of travelers. 

Those who ride can test their mettle against Jackson's famous Corbet's Couloir, a double-black chute that hosts Red Bull's "Kings and Queens of Corbet's" annual competition. It also has four "Stash" terrain parks, built by the snowboard pros at Burton using entirely natural materials like logs, stumps, and cabins.

Once you've kicked off your snowboard boots, you can head to famous bars like The Mangy Moose or Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, take a sleigh ride through the National Elk Refuge, or fat bike out to a soak at Granite Hot Spring Pool. You'll have your pick of home rentals in the area, but book a room at the Alpine Lodge if you want to stay in the heart of downtown.

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Vorarlberg, Austria

People on a deck overlooking the slopes in Vorarlberg, Austria

Vorarlberg Tourism / Dietmar Denger

In all honesty, there aren't too many bad places to base yourself in Austria for a ski vacation—even Vienna, the country's largest city, has several resorts reachable for a day trip. But to maximize your time on the snow, plan your ski trip to Vorarlberg, the country's westernmost state. The mountainous region has 42 ski resorts offering more than 300 ski lifts between them. 

You've probably heard of famous resorts like St. Anton, but you can explore several of the area's resorts if you buy a multi-resort lift ticket; the Ländle Card includes access to 30 resorts as well a few across the border in Germany. Ski-in, ski-out hotels abound, ranging from the five-star Raffl's St. Antoner Hof (complete with a Finnish Spa) to the more wallet-friendly Brauereigasthof Reiner, which has a free hot chocolate bar for guests.

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Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

Snowboarders in slope on top of beautiful mountain with lake view on Tahoe's west shore

Getty / BX Photography

If Lake Tahoe brings to mind images of paddleboarding on turquoise-hued clear water and stunning hiking trails along mountain ridgelines, that's entirely correct. But come winter, the alpine paradise transforms into a winter paradise, and the lake has 15 resorts around its shoreline. Stay on the north shore at hotels like Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe or the Cedar House Sport hotel to take advantage of world-class resorts like Palisades Tahoe, Northstar California, or Diamond Peak. Stay on the south shore if you plan to ride at Ski HeavenlyKirkwood Mountain Resort, and Sierra-at-Tahoe.

The resorts tend to cater to different audiences, though most are big enough to have enough terrain for every type of skier. Explore Ski Homewood or Diamond Peak for family-friendly terrain and fantastic lake views, or head to Alpine Meadows on a spring day to alternate between snowboarding and having a beer in the sun at the Ice Bar and D.J. stage. Several resorts offer gondola rides for non-skiers, and things to do range from gambling and cross-country skiing to brewery tours and winter festivals.

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South Island, New Zealand

Snow Boarder, Heli-skiing in fresh powder snow, New Zealand

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For an epic snowboard road trip, head to New Zealand's South Island (Te Waipounamu). There are 34 ski resorts across the south island, and with a season that runs from around June to October, it's a good choice if you're looking for somewhere to ski on the 4th of July. 

If you want to ski one or two ski resorts, you'll probably stay in a town like Christchurch or Otago. But New Zealand is a top-rated snowboard destination for touring. Companies like Haka Tours and Ski New Zealand offer multi-day packages, including lift tickets, lodging, and rental cars or transportation between resorts.

Oh, and if you're genuinely an expert skier, you'll want to save your pennies and spring for a heli-snowboard tour to access some of the world's most remote backcountry lines.

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Quebec, Canada

Petit Champlain, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Getty / Patrick Donovan

While East Coast resorts in the U.S. aren't known for having the consistent powder you might find at western U.S. ski resorts, that changes if you head far enough north: Quebec is one of the world's best snowboard destinations. There are many resorts in the area, but it's best-known for the three simply massive ones: Mont Sainte-Anne, Le Massif, and Ski Bromont, though Mont Tremblant isn't too far, either. Together, they cover 1,575 acres, much of which is available for night skiing and riding. 

What makes Quebec one of the world's best snowboard destinations isn't just the resorts (though snowboarders will appreciate the après-ski vibes of lively Mont Tremblant). What makes it really special is the gorgeous and incredibly unique city of Quebec. Winter in the "old city" means ice bars, downhill luges, and cobblestone streets decorated with white lights and bright green wreaths. It feels like something out of a European fairy tale. If you're able, visit in early February during the city's Winter Carnival. It's the largest of its kind in the world.

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Puerto Montt, Chile

Rear View Of Male Hiker Sitting On Mountain Against Cloudy Sky
Benjamin Wu / EyeEm / Getty Images

Trying to snowboard all 12 months of the year? Then you're likely headed to South America—most likely to southern Chile, around Puerto Montt. The mountainous region is covered in volcanoes, and backcountry snowboarders can summit and carve monster lines down options like Llaima Volcano (at 10,250 feet above sea level) or Lonquimay Volcano (roughly 9,400 feet above sea level). You'll need to be an expert snowboarder, competent on skins and a split board, and have a backcountry guide.

While the main draw in the region is the backcountry terrain, beginner and intermediate snowboarders can head to resorts like Corralco Mountain Resort, Nevados de Chillan Ski Resort, or Antillanca, just across the border in Argentina. You'll probably have to fly in and out of Santiago, which is well worth a long layover to explore the city's art, parks, and museums.

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Salt Lake City, Utah

Female snowboarder on a rail at Woodward Park City

Woodward Park City / Chip Proulx

If you only have a long weekend to spare, you're not cutting any corners if you head to Salt Lake City, which has nine resorts within a one-hour drive. If jibbing, jumping, and nose pressing are your thing, head to Park City Resort, which has six terrain parks for beginners and advanced snowboarders plus a 22-foot halfpipe. Brighton has four terrain parks, including the beginners-only PeeWee park. Woodward Park City's on-snow terrain is just for park riders, with multiple zones for beginners and experts alike (including a large freestyle terrain park).

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09 of 12

Dolomites, Italy

Winter scenics with wooden shed and Langkofel mountain (Dolomites, Italy)

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One of the world's best snowboarding destinations for hut-to-hut trips is in the Italian Dolomites. You can visit world-class resorts like Cortina or Val Gardena, but if you're an intermediate snowboarder or better, book at least a one-night hut-to-hut trip. You'll stay in rifugios (huts) in the mountains or have lodge-style accommodations in the towns. But these aren't your standard "huts." Most have private rooms, heat, comfortable furniture, and on-site restaurants. As you pass through towns, you'll stop for coffees and cocktails before disappearing back into the mountains. Because hut-to-hut touring is so popular, you'll find trips ranging from pricey getaways in luxurious rifugios to more budget-friendly options with bunk-style accommodations. You'll need to be an experienced splitboarder, though all you'll need to carry is a daypack—your tour company will take your luggage from hotel to hotel. 

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Aspen, Colorado

Aerial view overlooking the slopes at Aspen-Snowmass

Aspen-Snowmass / Harrison Buck

Don't overthink it: there's a reason Colorado is the go-to destination for skiers and snowboarders in the U.S. While snowboarders can't make a bad choice—Breckenridge alone has enough terrain that you'll never have to hit the same trails twice—but for a one-stop-snowboarding-shop, head to Aspen. It's where you'll find Aspen-Snowmass, which includes four resorts: Aspen, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk. Combined, they cover more than 5,500 acres, and one lift ticket works at every resort.

Take a right off the F.I.S. lift at Aspen to ski some of Colorado's best tree runs, and if you have beginners in your group, go to Buttermilk as the majority of trails are beginner or beginner-intermediate. The downside? The towns get crowded, so avoid the weekends if you can.

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Chamonix Valley, France

Male Ski and Snowboarder looking over Mont Blanc mountains in the Chamonix region, holding snowboards after taking part in winter sports.

Getty / Mike Harrington

On the French side of the Alps is the Chamonix Valley, which houses nine ski resorts. And these aren't tiny resorts relying on machine-made snow. The tallest mountain (Aiguille du Midi-Chamonix) is more than 12,600 feet above ski level. Between the resorts, you should expect dry and powdery snow and very little grooming at upper elevations, making it one of the best snowboard destinations in the world for freeride and powder days. And it doesn't hurt that the Chamonix Valley also has historic hotels, fantastic wine, and cuisine that mixes French, German, and Italian influences to ensure your apres-ski is as haute as can be.

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Whistler, Canada

Backcountry snowboarder descends snowy mountain ridge in the Canadian rockies

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It's no secret that British Columbia has some of the best snowboarding in the world, but Whistler may take the cake when it comes to the best mix of big-mountain terrain and high-energy après-ski. Some of the world's best professional snowboarders were born and raised in British Columbia, and Whistler-Blackcomb has 200 trails across more than 8,000 skiable acres. Its base village, which is one of the largest in the world, is well-known for its lively and sometimes rowdy après-ski and late-night scenes.

If that's not the vibe you're going for, no problem. You don't have to stick to Whistler, so long as you can have some extra time to spare. From Vancouver, drive east to hit Fernie (which averages about 30 feet of snow per year and has five huge bowls), Kicking Horse (which bills itself as the "Champagne powder capital of Canada"), and Revelstoke, a resort well-suited to advanced skiers with the largest vertical drop in all of North America.

Advanced snowboarders may want to stay at a hotel specializing in backcountry tours and packages like Island Lake Lodge in Fernie, but consider springing for a luxurious hotel for the full Whistler experience. The mix of ski-in, ski-out access, and high-end amenities at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler is hard to beat.