Planning a trip to the slopes? Whether for the first or the fifteenth time, preparing your perfect snowboarding holiday can be quite the mountainous task – simply because there’s so much involved.
You’ll want to choose a ski resort that can best serve your snow holiday interests and snowboarding ability. You’ll want accommodation that caters to both your ideal and budget, and you’ll want to be properly covered with the best travel insurance for snowboarding, as well as with layers of adequate snow gear – but what else?
To avoid getting snowed under piles of research preparing for your next snowboarding holiday, check out our handy tips below!
Check yourself first
From America and Canada to Japan, New Zealand and, of course, Europe – figuring out the ‘where’ when planning your snowboarding holiday can be tricky.
First and foremost, it helps to consider if, residing in Australia, you’re up for the cost and stamina involved in making the lengthy trek to America or Europe.
It helps not to forget that resorts a little closer to home in New Zealand and even Japan are just as adventure packed, jaw-droppingly gorgeous and all-round spectacular as those you’ll find in faraway places.
Primarily, however, you should consider your group’s snowboarding ability when choosing a resort. Most resorts will have terrain that’s suitable for beginners, though some have significantly more than others, which means you’ll find more runs to enjoy if it’s your first time on a snowboard.
You can figure out pretty quickly how much of a resort’s terrain is suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced snowboarders from their website.
And while you’re there, check that the resort offers snowboarding lessons for all age groups and abilities; if it’s your first time snowboarding, a quick lesson on your first day can go a long way in making your entire holiday the best that it can be. Even if it’s not your first time, a quick brush-up on your skills can help you get to the more advanced runs faster.
Ski resorts that generally appear on the ‘best of’ snowboarding lists, particularly for beginners, include:
- Cervinia, Italy
- Telluride, Colorado, USA
- Saas Fee, Switzerland
- Chamonix, France
- Whistler Blackcomb, Canada
- Mont-Treblant, Quebec, Canada
- Treble Cone, Wanaka, New Zealand
Lift passes are also very important to consider when choosing a resort, as they can be pricey – how much so varies from country to country. Generally, you’ll pay more for resorts in North America than you would in Europe or New Zealand.
You’ll then want to think about how easily accessible the resort is from the airport. Will you hire a car, or take a train, shuttle bus or taxi? Don’t forget to consider how you’re going to get to and from the mountain and your accommodation, if it’s not located directly on the mountain as is the case for many resorts in New Zealand. This leads you into deciding…
Choose your accommodation wisely
Choosing where to stay will depend a lot on your budget as well as how many fellow snowboarders or even skiers – because they can be friends – you’re bringing with you.
From 5-star luxury and boutique hotels to apartments, chalets, townhouses and backpackers hostels, you’ll never be short on options of where to stay (unless, of course, you’re not in early enough and everything is booked out…).
Other important aspects to consider when booking your snowboarding holiday accommodation include:
- Location – How close are the ski lifts? Is ski-in/ski-out capability important to you?
- Amenities – Is a private, outdoor spa on your wishlist? (If so, you’ll probably be looking for a luxury chalet. Whistler has plenty of these.)
- Privacy – Do you want self-contained accommodation with a fully-equipped kitchen to cook your own meals? Or do you want accommodation with meals included?
- Scenery – Do you expect to wake up to stunning mountain views?
Book early and nab a package deal
As we touched briefly on before, if you don’t get in early to book your snowboarding holiday, you’ll miss out on having a wide variety of accommodation to choose from as well as nabbing those early-bird discounts.
If you’re a beginner, it helps to look to a tour operator to package everything up for you; that’s flights, transfers, accommodation, lift passes, lessons, and equipment hire. That way, you’ll cover off everything at once and with a good discount, too. Though, you’ll likely not enjoy as much flexibility with a package as you would if you booked these things separately. But with so many packages out there, you’re bound to find one that suits.
If you do decide to book aspects of your holiday individually, you should have the option to purchase ‘add ons’ when you book your accommodation; things like lift passes, equipment hire and tuition, which can help you avoid paying full price.
Did we mention you’ll want to book all of these things early?
Get properly covered
Before we talk snow gear, we have to mention the most important thing you can’t forget to have on your snowboarding holiday – and that’s travel insurance.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your run-of-the-mill travel insurance will have you covered should you have an accident while snowboarding. Sure, some basic travel insurance policies will cover you for amateur participation in snow sports like recreational ice skating, but they won’t cover activities like snowboarding and skiing unless you purchase additional snow sports cover.
Ensure you read the snowboarding travel insurance Product Disclosure Statement very carefully to find out what you’ll be covered for, especially as some won’t cover ‘off piste’ snow activities unless you opt for this cover (and pay extra).
It’s easy and affordable to add snowboarding insurance to insure4less travel insurance policies, and we can provide cover for off-piste activities, even, unlike most other insurers, in countries other than North America and Canada.
So, what else can’t you afford to go without?
- Wind- and-waterproof outerwear – a decent snowboard jacket, pants and gloves
- ‘Moisture wicking’ snowboard socks (i.e., not cotton). Very important as frozen toes will ruin the fun!
- Beanie and a neckwarmer
- Layers – so you can shed if need be, though ensure base and mid layers are breathable and again ‘moisture wicking’
- Snowboard and bindings
- Snowboard boots
If it’s your first time snowboarding, we highly recommend that you rent most of the above equipment, particularly your snowboard and bindings, boots, helmet and goggles. This gear can be expensive, so before you splash the cash it’s worth knowing you’re going to use them more than this one time.
Plus, resort employees can give you a much-needed hand in choosing the gear that’s right for you; snowboards come in different types, and it helps having someone help you find boots that fit properly.
Expect the slopes to surprise you
Firstly, don’t expect to be cold the entire time, so don’t go overboard on the layering. Especially when the sun is out, temperatures can actually be quite mild!
Plus, snowboarding is a sport. Expect to get sweaty! Expect those thighs to burn!
Sidenote: it helps to be prepared physically beforehand, or you might see more of the spa than you do the slopes – not necessarily a bad thing, though…
Expect that the weather can play an important role in your ability to snowboard. If it’s overcast and cloudy, you’ll often not be able to tell the snow from the sky even with the greatest goggles, so we recommend waiting it out, again, if possible, from the spa…
Expect that the resort’s pistes will be clearly colour-coded to indicate their terrain as beginner, intermediate or advanced. Stick to runs that suit your ability and work your way up as you improve; don’t push yourself to do anything you’re not comfortable with.
Don’t expect you’ll be a pro snowboarder right away. But, as we mentioned earlier, taking a quick lesson will help you get the hang of it faster.
Of course, when you’ve properly prepared for your epic snowboarding holiday, do expect to have fun!
For more information on snowboarding holidays and affordable travel insurance for snowboarding, get in touch with the team from insure4less today!