Ski and snowboard vacations are currently one of the most popular travel trends in the world. While skiing has been around for decades, snowboarding is still a relatively new sport. It was developed in the United States in 1960s before eventually becoming a Winter Olympic Sport in 1998. Skiers attach fixed-heel bindings from the heel of the boot and to the toe, while snowboarders use special boots to lock both feet onto the board. Both skiing and snowboarding are two of the most popular forms of adventure tourism.
Pros and Cons
The biggest disadvantage to skiing and snowboarding tourism is the price.
After paying for travel, accommodation, food, equipment, and lift tickets, the cost can add up extremely quickly.
There is also always the chance of injury. Still, ski and snowboard vacations are a great way to bring a family together. There are pros and cons of both skiing and snowboarding. Skiing tends to be easier to learn than snowboarding, and it is easier to get around the mountain and manoeuvre the chair lifts on skis. Snowboarding may be more popular at the moment, however, and has an advantage when it comes to rail parks and half pipes. Injury wise, skiers tend to injure the knees, where as snowboarders are more prone to broken wrists or other upper body injuries.
One of the most popular resorts in the entire world is Whistler Blackcomb in British Columba, Canada. Not only did it host the 2010 Winter Olympics, its towering mountains and charming village offers everything skiers and snowboarders need, earning it the title of “World’s Greatest Ski Resort”. Another popular destination is Kitzbuhel in Austria. Considered the “Pearl of the Alps”, it is the most famous holiday resort in the Austrian Tyrol, ranking higher than St. Anton and Innsbruck. Zermatt, Switzerland is another top resort. It holds the world’s second biggest lift-served vertical drop, and thanks to its altitude it receives huge snowfall every year.
The Road Less Travelled
While B.C., Austria, and Switzerland are some of the top ski resort destinations, there are thousands around the globe that offer similar services for cheaper with smaller crowds. Stratton Mountain in Vermont is one of these locations. Although it was the host of the U.S. Open Snowboarding Championship in 1985 (and the event was held there for the 26 years after), it has fallen out of favor in recent years. Stratton still boasts a convivial after-hours scene and superior grooming, however, and allows you to ski the same hills as the pros. Mt. Evak in Alaska is another underrated location. It features the oldest operating chairlift in the United States (not Vermont’s Mad River Glen contrary to popular belief). It boasts 30 exceptional runs, and while it lacks some amenities (such as night skiing and terrain parks), it offers terrific heli-skiing opportunities.
Costs and Savings
Skiing and snowboarding is by no means cheap. Snowboards and skis can cost anywhere between $300 and $2000 dollars depending on the brand, and that’s just the beginning. Skiers need boots, poles, pants, gloves, goggles, and a helmet, while snowboarders need the same to go along with bindings for the snowboard. This can add up to nearly $1000, and this is before you have even gotten on the slopes! Lift tickets generally cost around $100 for one day, and accommodation at the best resorts can be expensive. Still, there are great deals and packages available at travel websites online, and exploring some of the cheaper resorts that still offer great ski runs may be ideal.