Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Top Five Snowboarding Destinations

Even though it’s January and half the winter sports season is over you still have time to explore new territories. Since it’s a new year, we here at Colorado Ski Shop have culled our knowledge and experience and we want to share this year’s top five snowboarding destinations with you!
Check out the list below, did your favorite spots make it?

SNOWBIRD

Utah is one of those states with so many potential snowboarding and skiing venues that it’s an absolute dream to any winter sport enthusiast. We picked Snowbird for its unique attributes and extensive network of runs and lifts. The tram will get you to the top of its 11,000 feet (Hidden Peak) in a mere 8 minutes so you can begin exploring one of its 85 runs. With the highest altitude of any Utah resort and about 500 inches of annual snowfall, Snowbird offers a longer season of use than many other resorts – in 2005, skiers were in full swing until July 4th! In addition, Snowbird is only 29 miles from Salt Lake City, allowing visitors the opportunity to explore nightlife, culture and cuisine with a short drive. Snowbird is great for both skiing and snowboarding, so grab your gear and go!

MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN

Sunny California has its own winter sport havens, many of which are causing quite a stir on the international snowboarding scene. Mammoth Mountain is one of those resorts whose reputation is known far and wide – even Shaun White, Olympic snowboarder, has a season pass! From October to June, this place is a snowboarder’s dream. The summit rises 11,000 feet and includes a 3,000 foot vertical drop. For the experienced rider, we recommend Hangman’s Hollow – a narrow chute bordered by rocks and positioned at a steep incline. Beginners need not apply (just stick to the Panoramic Gondola – enjoy scenic vistas on your way up to the top of the mountain!). No gear? No problem – Mammoth Mountain rents out everything you need, from ski equipment to snowboards!

PARK CITY

This resort often tops the list of most family-friendly resorts in North America and offers up a variety of entertainment besides the slopes. From little cafes, to high end restaurants, families will find endless ways to enjoy this destination. Boarders will also have their share of the fun with four parks to ride, including King’s Crown and Jonesy’s. Great for beginner’s and experts alike, with more forgiving rolling hills all the way up to the O-zone which drops 1,000 feet off the lip of Pinyon Ridge down a 30-40 degree face. Not one for extreme winter sports? Enjoy some hot tub or heated pool time beneath the stars. Park City also offers a range of brand-name snowboarding gear and ski supplies for those who do not have their own, and includes complimentary overnight storage!

JACKSON HOLE

Jackson Hole is not for the faint of heart! This Wyoming attraction has an international reputation for its intense peaks and potentially volatile weather. With two mountains, Apres Vous and Rendezvous, and over 100 runs, Jackson Hole is a favorite amongst skiers and boarders alike. Snowboarding enthusiasts will be happy to know that 100% of the mountain is open to them and the resort includes 2 terrain parks and a superpipe. For those looking for a less active getaway, Jackson Hole offers world-class dining featuring highly lauded chefs at Couloir Restaurant and Bar, and luxurious lodging both on the resort and in town. Watch out for Corbet's Couloir, a double black diamond run, featuring a 20 foot jump inside a steep 10 foot wide chute – not recommended for newbies!

BRECKENRIDGE

Breckenridge’s Freeway Terrain Park is the envy of all other snowboard destinations and has been consistently named one of the best in North America by Snowboarder, Transworld, and Snowbording magazines. This mountain quickly becomes a favorite for any skier or snowboarder who tries out their runs – 2 halfpipes, 155 trails, 25 acres of terrain parks, and several lifts including the Imperial Express Chair, the highest chairlift in North America. In addition to intense and varied terrain to explore, the city of Breckenridge is an amazing getaway in itself. This Victorian town offers beautiful historic buildings, gourmet dining and fantastic shopping (perfect for those who do not ski or snowboard!). Don’t forget to explore the theater, cinemas, historic tours and plentiful bars and cafes. Oh, and did we mention that you can even mine for gold?

Colorado Ski Shop is the online destination for ski and snowboard gear. Find supplies and apparel from LibTech, Salomon, K2 and many more for all your skiing or snowboarding needs. Browse our selection of ski binding, snowboard boots and other accessories to find the right gear for you!

Sunglasses versus Ski Goggles

When it comes to eye protection on the slopes you have two primary options – ski goggles or sunglasses. Besides simply looking cool, ski goggles and sunglasses can help protect your eyes from ultra-violet rays, snow, wind and other harmful elements you may encounter while on the mountain. However, when shopping for goggles or sunglasses, it’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages associated with each.

Ski Goggles

Many seasoned slope veterans opt for ski goggles, because of the numerous advantages they provide over sunglasses. One of the primary reasons skiers and snowboarders alike choose goggles is due to the fact that ski goggles cover a large portion of the face. This not only keeps your face warm, but also helps protect your eyes from wind, ice or any unforeseen objects such as a tree branch. Ski goggles also tend to have larger lenses which provide a greater field of vision over traditional sunglasses.

On the other hand, ski goggles also have some inherent disadvantages as well. Many ski goggles are cumbersome which can make them uncomfortable to wear. Larger ski goggles may also be incompatible with certain ski helmets too. Another common complaint about ski goggles is their tendency to fog up. However, you can avoid fogging problems by purchasing anti-fogging ski goggles with a preventative coating or ventilation system.

Sunglasses

Ski sunglasses are generally lighter and more comfortable to wear than goggles which can be beneficial when navigating down a mountain. It’s also much easier and often more affordable to find prescription lenses for sunglasses in comparison to ski goggles as well. In addition, sunglasses do not fog up as frequently as your basic goggles.

Unfortunately, there are also several disadvantages associated with sunglasses too. For example, sunglasses do not secure as tightly to your face as ski goggles do, leaving your eyes more exposed to wind, ice and any other hazards you may come across on the mountain. Sunglasses also tend to be more fragile than ski goggles due to their glass lenses. However, you can purchase glasses with polycarbonate lenses to negate this risk. Additionally, we recommend polarized sunglasses as they prevent sun glare which can impair vision on the slopes!

Whether you have decided to go with sport sunglasses or goggles, they will most likely not be the most expensive gear you buy, but they may turn out to be one of the most important. Before your next trip, stop by your local ski shop and pick up a pair of high quality sunglasses or ski goggles, your eyes will thank you for it.

Colorado Ski Shop is the online destination for ski and snowboard gear. Find supplies and apparel from LibTech, Salomon, K2 and many more for all your skiing or snowboarding needs. Browse our selection of ski binding, snowboard boots and other accessories to find the right gear for you!