Board to Death!

The Tops in Snowboarding Ski Resorts
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No longer an underground sport banished to sledding hills and snow-covered golf courses, snowboarding has found acceptance at 98 percent of U.S. ski resorts. In fact, almost 500 resorts in the United States and Canada now rent boards and boots—and grant equal access to all downhill slopes. Snowboarders make up about one-third of visitors to Alpine resorts, and their numbers climb each year.

Although snowboarding has its fair share of hot dogs—a function of heavy crossover from skateboarding, a similar sport—today's snowboarders range in age from 6 to 65, and they come in all shapes and flavors. It's easy to see why so many people gravitate to the sport. Besides the sheer fun of speeding over snow, it's possible to become reasonably proficient after four or five trips to the slopes—an achievement made possible by breakthroughs in technology that have made the boards easier to control.
In contrast to skiing, crappy snow conditions are a snowboarder's dream. When the snow is heavy, wet, or deep—preferably all three—riders have more fun. Advanced boarders can handle even icy conditions.

According to expert ratings of conditions and accessibility for all levels, these are the very best ski resorts for snowboarding.

Eaglecrest Ski Area
Just 12 miles from downtown Juneau on Douglas Island you'll find the city's municipally owned ski area, a big mountain resort with small lift lines. Eaglecrest is known for its deep powder bowls and steep terrain, as well as its gentle beginner runs and exciting intermediate trails.

Mammoth Mountain
Committed to snowboard-specific terrain, Mammoth Mountain Unbound Terrain Park's half-pipes draw riders of all ages and abilities with its mind-blowing jumps, hips, quarter-pipes, snake runs, and rollers.

Voted one of the Top 50 Places to Ride by Transworld Snowboarding in 1999, Sierra-at-Tahoe boasts some legendary terrain parks. Challenges include the Gauntlet on the back side, an amazing half-pipe on Upper Main, and a big-time powder run through Avalanche Bowl. Overall, a little bit of something for both skiers and riders.

Bear Mountain Ski Resort
Located northeast of Los Angeles (approx 97 miles, depending on route), Bear Mountain Resort has allowed snowboarding since 1988 on 100 percent of its runs—and prides itself on its freestyle terrain. These include 31 snowboarding trails, two terrain parks, and four half-pipes. Music is played in the terrain park, and there are 25 snowboard shops with 10 miles. Snowboard clinics are offered twice a day, seven days a week. The terrain park—a state-of-the-art facility that flows top to bottom in boarder-cross style—opened in 2000 with everything from berms, banks, jumps, and spines to quarter-pipes, kickers, and a 300-foot half-pipe.

Paul McMenamin is the author, editor, and photo director of the original Ultimate Adventure Sourcebook.

Published: 24 Oct 2001 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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