Winter can get quite gloomy sometimes… At least, that’s what I’m told. For us snowboarders it’s the best time of year!
The tricky part?
Choosing where to go for your next snowboarding adventure!
Luckily I researched the very best snowboard resorts, so you don’t have to.
Here are the 13 best snowboard resorts in the world:
- Whistler Blackcomb (Canada)
- Niseko, Hokkaido (Japan)
- Breckenridge, Colorado (USA)
- Mammoth Mountain, California (USA)
- Zermatt (Switzerland)
- Cortina d’Ampezzo (Italy)
- Treble Cone (New Zealand)
- Ruka (Finland)
- St. Anton (Austria)
- Avoriaz (France)
- Mt. Hood Meadows (USA)
- Verbier (Switzerland)
- Mt. Baker (USA)
This article will discuss each of these snowboard resorts in detail.
By the end you should be ready to book this years trip… Or at least to argue the case for why your favorite resort didn’t make the list!
Let’s take a look.
The Best Snowboard Resorts In The World
1. Whistler Blackcomb (Canada)
- Badass backcountry for advanced riders
- Largest resort in Canada!
- Slopes for all abilities
- Modern lift infrastructure minimises queuing
- Amazing choice of snow-parks and terrain
- Great village with lots to do and amazing facilities
- Family friendly with excellent snowboard schools
✖️ On the pricey side
Whistler is of course one of the best snowboard resorts in the world.
If this Canadian gem isn’t on your bucket list, you need to have a serious rethink!
The terrain on offer at Whistler Blackcomb is simply insane.
No matter your ability level, you’re gonna have a good time!
The Whistler snowboard resort itself is also incredible, with great nightlife and plenty of activities. They even hosted the 2020 winter Olympic games. (In fact, the Olympic rings are still there)
Fun Fact: The Peak To Peak Gondola connecting Whistler Mountain to Blackcomb Mountain holds the world record for the highest Gondola point above ground – 436 metres (1,430 feet!)
More details about Whistler Blackcomb Snowboard Resort:
- Elevation: 675m – 2284m
- Trails: 200km of slopes (!) & 50km of additional ski touring
- Off-Piste: Epic. Side-country & serious backcountry.
- Snow Parks: 5!
- Lifts: 27
- Additional: Cat-skiing and heli-skiing readily available!
How to get to Whistler:
Book flights to Vancouver.
The resort is a 2-5 hour drive from Vancouver, depending on the mode of transport:
- Private transport: as short as 2 hours.
- Public transport: be prepared for up to 5 hours.
2. Niseko, Hokkaido (Japan)
- Unrivalled powder quality
- Over 15 metres snowfall per season!
- Varied terrain includes bowls and tree runs
- Beginner friendly groomed runs
- Great nightlife (for a Japanese Resort)
- One of the best snow parks in Japan
- Night-skiing (night snowboarding!)
- Ever-expanding accommodation options
✖️ Can be busier than other Japanese resorts.
Japan offers some of the best snowboard resorts in the world for perfect powder.
Perhaps the most famous (and rightfully so) is Niseko, Hokkaido.
Niseko is a true powder paradise, fast becoming a thriving snowboarding community.
I talked all about Niseko (and other Japanese snowboard resorts) in 15 Best Places To Snowboard In Japan.
But the short version is…
Snowboarding powder in Japan is unreal!
Niseko is the best snowboarding resort in Japan, offering incredible terrain, onsens, culture, food, nightlife and over 15 metres of snowfall per season!
It’s definitely one of the places you should not miss when you travel to Japan.
The area combines four resorts, providing a larger and more diverse riding terrain than the majority of Japanese resorts.
Fun Fact: Niseko looks out over Mount Yōtei, an active stratovolcano. On the right day, you can hike the peak and ride into the crater of the volcano!
More details about snowboarding in Niseko:
- Elevation: 255m – 1188m
- Trails: 50.8km of snowboard piste
- Off-Piste: Hell yeah! Powder paradise baby!
- Snow Parks: 2
- Lifts: 32
- Additional: A Niseko United pass grants access to all 4 local resorts! Read more in my Japanese resorts review.
How to get to Niseko:
Not the easiest journey for most of us, but oh so worth it.
3. Breckenridge, Colorado (USA)
- Incredible choice of terrain parks
- Boasts the highest lift in America - accessing perfect powder
- Great range of beginner to intermediate runs
- Amazing bowls above the treeline
- Loads of ski-in ski-out accomodation
- Bustling town with loads to do
✖️ Avoid the holidays - the queues are infamous!
In Colorado is a small historic town that offers more than just history…
It happens to be one of the best places to snowboard in the world!
Breckenridge provides terrain for all ability levels, an incredible selection of terrain parks and plenty to do off the mountain, what’s not to love?
Well… maybe the crowds.
But if you avoid peak periods, you should be fine!
Here are the details of the Breckenridge snowboard resort:
- Elevation: 2926m – 3914m
- Trails: 153km
- Off-Piste: Yes! Beeeautiful bowls.
- Snow Parks: 4
- Lifts: 35
- Additional: Get up early for fresh tracks during the holidays!
4. Mammoth Mountain, California (USA)
- High elevation means great snow quality!
- Excellent choice for large groups and families
- Ski-in ski-out option with Mammoth Mountain Inn
- Longer season than the average USA resort
- Great choice of terrain parks and pipes
✖️ Notoriously windy
California hosts some of the most beautiful places in the USA.
And Mammoth mountains is one of them!
The high elevation can make for Japan-esque snow quality, combined with steeper and gnarlier terrain.
Not to mention, a groundbreaking nine terrain parks!
This is a recipe for some incredible riding for advanced snowboarders!
Don’t worry though, Mammoth also provides some awesome runs for beginner-intermediate riders and great facilities for families.
This cements Mammoth Mountain as one of the best snowboard resorts in the world.
Details about snowboarding in Mammoth Mountain:
- Elevation: 2424m – 3369m
- Trails: 89.8km-100km
- Off-Piste: Yes! Often with amazing snow quality (when not wind whipped).
- Snow Parks: 9!
- Lifts: 25
- Additional: Amazing choice and quality of snow parks
How to get to Mammoth Mountain:
For the lucky ones – driving! However Mammoth Lakes Airport is only 16km away (20-30 minutes drive) if you do need to fly in. It’s also “only” around 5-hours from LAX.
5. Zermatt (Switzerland)
- Huge terrain map with links to Italian resorts!
- Incredible off-piste and and backcountry touring
- Can snowboard in Zermatt year-round!
- Immaculate, modern lift infrastructure
- The scenery is out of this world beautiful.
- Incredible après scene and vibrant nightlife
✖️ Lift passes are expensive by European standards
Switzerland is renowned for its scenic beauty and vast mountainous landscapes. The country has a beautiful, welcoming environment and is a great place to spend your holiday.
But you’re not here for views alone…
You’re here to discover the best snowboard resorts in the world!
Boasting incredible links across the Swiss and Italian Alps, the amount of terrain on offer at Zermatt is simply ridiculous.
This alone is enough to earn Zermatt a place on the list, not to mention the incredible lift infrastructure, year-round snowboarding and super-fun town.
Zermatt should definitely be on the must-visit list of every snowboarder.
- Elevation: 1652m – 3899m
- Trails: 322km!!
- Off-Piste: You better believe it.
- Snow Parks: 1 (pretty big, includes a pipe).
- Lifts: 52
- Additional: Accessibility to other resorts gives Zermatt one of the largest ski terrains in the world!
How to get to Zermatt:
From there, it’s a simple taxi, bus or shuttle to Zermatt.
Fancy a unique experience?
Travelling to Zurich by train can make for an unforgetable experience and is accessible from most of Europe. Expect breathtaking views, fresh mountain air, and some respite from life’s hustle and bustle.
6. Cortina d’Ampezzo (Italy)
- World-leading food choices.
- Some of the best couloirs in the world
- Excellent choice of groomed runs
- Some of the most advanced piste runs in Italy
- Breathtaking views of the Italian Alps
✖️ Known to be sunny, which can mean less snow.
Italy is a beautiful country with lively people and a rich history.
If you’re looking for a snowboarding experience like no other, think about visiting Cortina d’ Ampezzo resort.
It’s safe to say that snowboarding in the Dolomites, is pretty magical.
It holds some of the finest couloirs in the world, with incredible snow (if you get the right day/season).
Fun Fact: These mountains held the 1956 Winter Olympic Games.
- Elevation: 1217m – 2,828m
- Trails: 120km
- Off-Piste: Best in Italy!
- Snow Parks: 1 (split into lines of varied difficulties)
- Lifts: 36
- Additional: Test yourself on the steepest black run in the Dolomites!
How to get to Cortina d’Ampezzo:
It’s a reasonable drive to the resort from all three airports, so we’d probably recommend just hopping on a bus (unless you have a big enough group for a private taxi to make sense).
7. Treble Cone (New Zealand)
- Great off-piste opportunities including lift-access backcountry
- Loads on offer for intermediate and advanced riders
- Close-by to the lovely town of Wanaka (where you'll want to stay)
- Several excellent heli skiing operators nearby
- Remarkable view from the peaks
✖️ No on-mountain lodging
If you missed the snowboarding season in the US and Europe, you’re in for a treat at Treble Cone, New Zealand.
Offering optimum snow during our summer, Treble Cone allows you to snowboard all-year round.
Plus, whilst New Zealand’s snowboard resorts don’t have the scale or snow quantity of the rest of the world, they do have a unique charm.
With excellent off piste opportunities and some tasty piste runs, Treble Cone is well worth a visit!
Kiwi’s are also one of the friendliest people in the world!
I simply couldn’t resist sneaking Treble Cone onto the list of best snowboard resorts in the world.
Here are some of the features that make the Treble Cone snowboarding experience special:
- Elevation: 1,260m – 1,960m
- Trails: 22km
- Off-Piste: Yep – including nearby heli-skiing.
- Snow Parks: 1 (though not extensive, better freestyle options elsewhere).
- Lifts: 3
- Additional: Cat-skiing and heli-skiing available
How to get to Treble Cone:
Grab the shuttle from Wanaka or Queenstown. Wanaka is the closest accommodation and only about 30-minutes drive.
8. Ruka (Finland)
- One of the most snow-safe resorts in Europe!
- Huge range of activities available - snowmobiling, iceskating...
- A true winter wonderland - snowboard past reindeer!
- Some great tree runs with deep fluffy powder.
- A chance to see the northern lights
✖️ Reduced hours of sunlight in peak winter
If you prefer a low-altitude snowboarding experience, then the Ruka resort in Finland is ideal!
It’s also cheaper than most snowboard resorts globally and much more peaceful.
Fair enough, Finland is not the most popular snowboarding destination but this is because it’s relatively undiscovered (and under-rated).
The views are outrageous.
Having the opportunity to see the northern lights is also super special.
Here are some of the reasons you should consider the Ruka experience:
- Elevation: 291m – 492m
- Trails: 19.1km of slopes.
- Off-Piste: Some tasty tree runs but more limited than other options.
- Snow Parks: Great park (Ruka Park). Includes airbag and superpipe
- Lifts: 22
- Additional: Snow is ridable around 200 days per year!
How to get to Ruka:
Fly to Kuusamo, Finland.
Ruka resort is easily accessible from Kuusamo Airport. You can rent a car or use the airport shuttles.
An alternative option is the train from Helsinki – long but very scenic!
9. St. Anton (Austria)
- Amazing variety of on and off-piste terrain
- Excellent snow quality (and quantity!)
- Food is amazing - plenty of choice
- Great nightlife and lovely traditional Austrian village
- Super convenient transport links
✖️ On a sunny day, can feel quite busy
St Anton is freaking awesome.
…Perhaps that wasn’t the most professional review, but it’s true!
The terrain on offer is insane and the park, nightlife, food and village are equally as awesome.
St. Anton is part of the Alberg region, which is known as the cradle of alpine skiing. The area is consequently one of the best places for expert snowboarding.
There are a huge variety of trails and pretty much something for everyone.
The drawback is that it’s so good, it’s popular. Avoid major holidays unless you love a good queue.
Here are the outstanding features of the St. Anton resort in Austria:
- Elevation: 1,300m – 2,811m
- Trails: 302km!
- Off-Piste: Incredible.
- Snow Parks: 1 – really nice setup.
- Lifts: 88
- Additional: Unreal amount of terrain on offer.
How to get to St. Anton:
Take a flight to:
The nearest is Innsbruck Airport, which is about 75 minutes away. You can take a rental car or public bus.
You can also take the train. The village is only a five-minute walk from the station!
10. Avoriaz (France)
- Incredible terrain park selection
- Great links with other resorts for day trips
- Excellent snow quality and volume
- Great beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain
- Relatively cheap (compared to it's neighbours)
- Most accommodation is right there on the mountain
✖️ Quite competitive to get fresh tracks on a powder day!
How did we get this far without heading to the french alps?
Avoriaz resort is of course, one of the best snowboard resorts in the world!
Not only is Avoriaz great value for money, it also offers a huge variety of terrain and some incredible terrain parks.
Avoriaz is also part of the wider Portes du Soleil area…
This grants access to a multitude of local resorts, hence the enormous 580km of accessible slopes!
Here are some of the outstanding features of the Avoriaz resort:
- Elevation: 1,100m – 2,466m
- Trails: 580km in the Portes du Soleil!!
- Off-Piste: Yep! But get out early on a powder day!
- Snow Parks: 4
- Lifts: 34 (165 across Portes du Soleil)
- Additional: Interlinking with 12 other resorts provides a huge terrain field!
How to get to Avoriaz:
The trip from there is very straightforward at only about 1 hour and 40 minutes on a bus or a rented car.
11. Mt. Hood Meadows, Oregon (USA)
- Amazing variety of terrain!
- Much fairer ticket prices (mid-week) than most American resorts
- Great lift network, with super modern, speedy lifts.
- Often gets huge powder dumps
✖️ No on-mountain accommodation
Mt. Hood is a dormant volcano, and a great place for snowboarding.
It offers wide open slopes with clear terrain and excellent side-country access.
Unlike many resorts these days, Mt Hood remains relatively undeveloped and does not have an on-mountain resort.
This make’s it more natural than it’s garish counterparts, making for some breathtaking hikes (and descents).
Certainly a contender for best snowboard resort in the world.
- Elevation: 1,378m – 2,225m
- Trails: 90km
- Off-Piste: Yes! With some great hikes.
- Snow Parks: 1 (sometimes 2)
- Lifts: 13
- Additional: Great off-piste selection with some nice steep faces.
How to get to Mt Hood Meadows:
Mt. Hood is only 90 minutes away from Portland Airport. The Mt. Hood park and ride service ferries people to and from the airport. It’s also a pretty easy drive if you have your own car.
12. Verbier (Switzerland)
- Outstanding lift-accessed backcountry.
- Accessible via train from Geneva airport
- Some of the best views in Europe (and the world!)
- Linked to the 4 Vallees, meaning a massive ski terrain!
- Amazing choice of accommodation (link below) including high end
- Busy events calendar and great nightlife.
✖️ Notoriously expensive in peak season
Verbier might be one of the more expensive choices for snowboarders… but with good reason.
Verbier is interlinked with the 4 Vallées, which believe it or not, spans across four valleys!
This incorporates the resorts of Verbier, La Tzoumaz, Nendaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon.
Consequently, the ski field is absolutely massive!
The resort also has some of the best freeride in Europe. It’s an excellent choice for the powder-hounds among us!
For many, Verbier tops the bucket-list of snowboard destinations.
If you’ve been, you’ll know it’s one of the best snowboard resorts in the world.
Here are some of the points you need to know before going to Verbier:
Essential Information About Verbier (4 Vallées):
- Elevation: 821m – 3,330m
- Trails: 412km across the 4 Vallées area!
- Off-Piste: Simply outstanding.
- Snow Parks: 1 – with loads of features (see video)
- Lifts: 67
- Additional: Accessibility to such a huge terrain map is pretty epic!
How to get to Verbier:
The closest airport to Verbier resort is Geneva or Sion. If you prefer to go by rail, you can use Swiss railways. You can then take an airport shuttle or rent a car to get to the resort.
13. Mt. Baker, Washington (USA)
- Unreal selection of expert terrain (in and out of bounds)
- Best bang for your buck resort on the list
- Huge snowfall and plenty of powder days!
- Great local snowboard scene with lots of talent
- Get up early on a weekday and the resort can be empty
✖️ No on-mountain accommodation or resort
Mt. Baker is deservedly one of the best snowboard resorts in the world.
Holding near god-like status in the hearts of many an American snowboarder, it has become increasingly exclusive.
The number of expert and pro riders coming out of Mt Baker is insane!
With epic snowfall and infamous terrain options, Mt. Baker is worth a mid-week pilgrimage.
Avoid visiting on a powdery weekend – the battle for fresh powder is pretty intense!
Fun Fact: The yearly Legendary Mount Baker Banked Slalom attracts audiences and competitors worldwide. In fact, it’s part of the reason the slopes are so famous!
- Elevation: 1,070m – 1,525m
- Trails: 100km of slopes.
- Off-Piste: Legendary
- Snow Parks: 0 – not really the place for park riding.
- Lifts: 10
- Additional: Mt. Baker is a snowboarding cult classic. Get there on the right day and it is simply unreal.
How to get to Mt. Baker:
Book flights to Vancouver or Seattle airport. Either will work great, depending on where you’re coming from.
You can then take a bus from the airports, or rent a car to get you to the slopes.
You’ve officially completed my list of the best snowboard resorts in the world!
Which other resorts do you think deserve a place on the list?
Convince me below and I might even consider adding them in.
If you’re still undecided, check out the 15 Best Places To Snowboard In Japan