5 top spots for snowboarding in Europe
If you are an experienced snowboarder or are tapping into your adventurous side for the first time this winter, it can be overwhelming to choose a resort. Some places are best suited for beginners or families, while others are only for the pros. Pick a place suited to your skills for a grand getaway.
Many snowboarders love Zermatt because it is one of the few places open year round and always guarantees snow. Yes, you can snowboard in the summer! Zermatt is near the giant Matterhorn, which brings tourists who want spectacular views of the mountain. There are multiple paths for beginner, intermediate and advanced snowboarders.
In summer, the Matterhorn has 22 kilometers of paths available. In winter, the Matterhorn provides the starting point for a 2,263-meterlong descent from the peak to the heart of the village. Zermatt has a good number of off-piste and freeride paths perfect for experienced snowboarders. There are plenty of restaurants on the mountains and in the village area. If you want to check out the nightlife, Zermatt also has one of the liveliest scenes in Switzerland with various bars and clubs that stay open past 2 a.m.
St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria
If you’re a seasoned snowboarder, head to the tree-lined slopes of St. Anton. The Arlberg ski pass gives you access to the combined areas of St. Christoph, Stuben, Lech and Zürs. All of these resorts have great snowboarding terrain.
St. Anton offers 161 kilometers of pistes, with the longest one stretching 10 kilometers. For those who love to freeride, St. Anton tests your skills with wide, long and steep slopes. If you are a beginner and decide to tag along, Stuben and St. Christoph are your best bets. The village of St. Anton offers hotels, restaurants, bars and much more for time away from the slopes.
Saas-Fee was one of the first resorts in Europe to offer obstacles on the slopes. The challenges are arranged by level of difficulty and include various lines of boxes, rails, kickers, corners and much more! Saas-Fee has a total of 40 paths, with the longest one at 9 kilometers long. There is also a kids’ park filled with easy pistes and snow toys, perfect for young children.
In the winter season, only the half-pipe remains open for experienced snowboarders, so this park is better suited for beginners and those with young children. If you’re a thrill seeker, visit in summer when the glacier area with three half-pipes, a boarder cross course and other obstacles is open.
Garmisch is located in southern Germany, close to Austria. With nearly 60 kilometers of pistes, the region is ideal for anyone looking for wideopen, snowy spaces. There are three areas that make up the region: the Classic, Zugspitze and Wank. The Classic area consists of the Kreuzeck, Alpspitze and Hausberg mountains and has the most pistes, making it a popular location.
Zugspitze, also known as the “top of Germany,” has both the highest peak in the country and the most snow. Snowboarders can ride down 20 kilometers of easy and moderately rated pistes.
Wank is freeride only for intermediate and advanced snowboarders. Although Wank is known for taking four to five hours to complete, it offers the best panoramic views of Garmisch. If you need a break from the slopes, Garmisch offers beautiful art galleries, health spas, a theater and a scenic hike to King Ludwig II’s famous Neuschwanstein Palace (45 minutes away). Quaint guest houses and restaurants are also plentiful.
Les Arcs, France
Family-friendly Les Arcs resort has it all, from easy-to-ride beginner slopes to some of the most challenging slopes in France. With 121 total pistes, multiple freestyle areas and a halfpipe, there truly is something for everyone.
Les Arcs is divided into different villages that are at 1,600, 1,800, 1,950 and 2,000 meters. Each of these villages has a different atmosphere, so ensure you pick the one you will enjoy the most! 1600 is where most of the chalets can be found and has a relaxed atmosphere. 1800 is a lively party resort for young adults. 2000 is more isolated, but it provides access to great slopes. 1950 is near a lovely 60-meter-high waterfall that many visitors enjoy seeing. No matter which resort you choose, getting to and from all of the villages is easy, so you can experience them all.
Whether you’re planning your first snowboarding trip or adding another to your list, these spots will not disappoint! The only thing that will go downhill is you on your snowboard.