From the skate park to the beach, snowboarding was born out of the thrill seekers who wanted more than sand, sea, and concrete. Today’s snowboarding has grown out of dashing past the skiers on the downhill into freeriding, free-styling, pipes, and terrain parks. With the greats like Shaun White inspiring new leaders in the sport every day, you have to check out these amazing parks in Europe on your next adventure.
Mayrhofen – Tyrolean, Austria
Probably the best group of parks in Austria, Mayrhofen is part of a large area that snowboarders rank at the top of places to visit with freeriding, freestyling, the Snowbombing Festival, Burton Park and Vans Penken Park. Just 43 miles from Innsbruck the quaint bucolic town of Tyrolean welcomes you with magnificent mountains the call for your board. There are miles and miles or pistes and many options for the snowboarder especially now that there is a park sponsored by Burton.
In the Swiss Alps, you will find LAAX, Europe’s premiere snowboarding resort with its 4 snow parks, largest half pipe, freestyle slope and academy. Made for everyone from the first time boarders, to the budget group ski holidays, to the Olympic champions, LAAX does not lack for excitement for any visitor. LAAX has 7 cable cars, 4 gondolas, 7 chairlifts, 8 drag lifts, and 3 lifts designed for children. The pistes are evenly distributed between easy, intermediate, and advanced with a total 0f 60 slopes. LAAX boasts a reputation for boarders with one of the best set of all round terrain parks in Europe.
One of the coolest place to practice snowboarding even in the summertime is located in Laax and here’s a video of the indoor centre:
Les Deux Alpes – Venosc & Mont-de-Lans, France
Tucked away in western France is the picturesque Les Deux Alpes, an all-year, all-style resort with it’s famous terrain parks, a variety of off-piste choices and a breathtaking glacier. This is one of the biggest and friendliest resorts in France. There are a large array of jumps and rails with 2 half pipes and snow permitting a huge 80ft table top jump know to the locals as the Showtime Booter. During the summer there are camp programs aimed at freestylers on the glacier.
Avoriaz Snowzone – Avoriaz, France
Avoriaz was the first park to open its arms and slopes to snowboarders. Since the first boarder dropped his board on the slopes, Avoriaz has had a place for him to play. The resort is in western France and shares a border with Switzerland, miles of free styling piste to carve up at your leisure and pleasure. There are levels and terrains parks to suit any snowboarder from the easy bunny slopes and play area to the expert levels with trees, big cliffs, powder bowls, and easy wide flats. There are several zones for excitement including Ski Adventure, Chapelle snowpark, and the Freestyle Park. At the Freestyle you will find the Superpipe, Arere Snowpark, the Stash, the Lil’Stash, the Burton Kids Parkway, and the Boarder-Cross. There is so much to do, you will need a month of Sundays for all this fun.
Vars/Risoul – Hautes-Alpes, France
Vars/Risoul resort was an early adopter of snowboarding. The Surfland snowpark has existed for over a decade and is through many renovations over the years it is now completed to include rails for beginners and experienced users. The snowpark was chosen as a training zone for the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics for its versatility and challenging areas. The resort believes that the concept of black, red and blue run grading is outdated and is moving the system to a series of more themed areas such as the free ride zone. This area includes a larger area for skiers and all around fun in the snow.
Valpark – Val d’Isere, France
Valpark in Val d’lsere France is known as a haven to snowboarders. The town itself let alone the park fully encourage snowboarding and boarders. There are no pistes on the mountain that are restricted or closed off to snowboarding; where many parks have areas no boarders are allowed. The park hosts a large area of hips, jumps, a snowboarder crossing and a half pipe. This wide range allows for snowboarders of all skill levels and abilities to have fun and enjoy the park. Valpark has the very highest of ratings from the French Snowboarding Federation, and is well regarded as one of the top snowboarding parks around the world.
Hemsedal Parken – Hemesedal, Norway
Due to its open mindset and long ski season Hemsedal Park is one of the best places for snowboarders. The mountain is able to support twin half pipes, big jump, quarter pipe, fun boxes and other snowboarding features most parks tend to overlook. The mountain itself is well suited to snowboarding, more so than most in the Scandinavian region due to it having smaller and fewer flats than most. This allows for snowboards to enjoy free riding on the mountain as well as the specific areas designed for snowboarders. This makes Hemsedal one of the best parks to be found for snowboarding.
Les Crosets – Val-d’Illiez, Switzerland
You’ll find Les Crosets to be a sweet little ski village that offers some of the best boarding in the Swiss. Les Crosets has freeriding within easy reach that makes some extremely interesting options for the boarder of all skill levels. Perhaps the best can be found under the Mossette-Suisse chair. From the top of the lift you turn back on yourself, to the left, and you have direct access to the face under the chair. It’s wide, steep enough at the top to be fast with one or two rocks to drop if you’re looking for air. The run out is straight forward, leading directly onto slopes.
Vans Penken Park – Mayrhofen, Austria
On the sunny side of the Action Mountain Penken, Vans Penken Park stretches over the whole slope. The park has several areas from pro to kids, and a large area just for fun. The park has shapers and engineers that keep the slopes in running order and reshape it all season so it’s always changing. The slopes are regularly shaped with progressive snowboarding and free skiing in mind and have a few more jumps than a regular park would have. Vans Penken Park won European Park of the Year in 2010 and is the site for infamous snowboarding and music festival of Snowbombing, which is an event not to be missed by anyone.
Hintertux – Zillertal, Austrra
Surrounded by mountains and glaciers Hintertux lies furthest up the valley positioned at the foot of the Hintertux Glacier. Hintertux has a number of advantages: it’s a glacial resort, and apart from being one of the best summer snowboard resorts in Europe with an amazing all year round park, it also has an enviable snow record in winter. The open expanse of freeride terrain provides some excellent powder fields that are seldom marred by the morning ski masses. In summer the extent of snow cover over the length of the runs is often more than many resorts get during the winter season. Slopes are always free from busy crowds and riding in a t-shirt is the norm.