Snowboarding in Colorado may have been a life long dream of yours, so you may want a guide to get the most out of your Rocky Mountain Adventure. Winter sport enthusiasts travel from all over the world to ski and snowboard down Colorado's varied and exciting peaks. Whether you are a beginner and you're looking for a few bunny slopes where you can take lessons or you are a seasoned pro looking for the most outrageous drops and diverse terrain out there, Colorado has what you need. Colorado's ski resorts cater to snowboarders of every skill level as well as every budget. Some mountains boast five star accommodations and gourmet dining, whereas others cater to those snowboarders living on a shoestring. If you want to spend this season or even just a long weekend shredding Colorado's slopes, you're going to have to plan ahead. Pick a mountain that matches your skill level and lifestyle, and start making some reservations so you don't get left out in the cold.
Colorado's mountains may have a little bit of snow year round, but the ski resorts are only open in the winter. Before you go, you'll need to check the season dates for the resort you want to visit. Expect the earliest mountains, like Wolf Creek, to open to the public around mid October. You can expect most resorts to open in late November or early December, depending upon the weather. Seasons will end any time between late March and early June, with most mountains shutting down operations in early to mid April. If you are traveling from out of town, plan your snowboarding trip in January or February if you want to be safe.
Not every mountain resort in Colorado caters to the same type of snowboarder. Before you go, decide whether you are looking for a mountain that is beginner friendly, one that has lots of half pipes and terrain parks, or one famous for its sharp drops. You'll also have to determine whether you'd feel more comfortable in a luxury setting or with a bunch of college kids on vacation. High end skiers and snowboarders tend to flock to Aspen, while younger snowboarders looking for exciting terrain parks are drawn to Breckenridge.
Don't just show up in Colorado expecting to find affordable lodging. Most mountain resorts are packed, especially in January and February. Determine what sort of accommodations you'll need in advance. If you are looking for a lodge or hotel to stay in with your significant other for a romantic getaway, try the Ski Tip Lodge in Keystone. If you want to share a house with ten other snowboarders for the entire season, check out what's available on Craigslist and AirBnB.
Every resort sells lift tickets on site, but you might be able to save some cash if you buy them ahead online. Before you head to Colorado, check the website of the resort where you plan to stay. The mountains have special promo deals, two adult five day lift tickets for the price of one, for example, throughout the entire season. Buying ahead can be cheaper, plus every once in a while lift tickets sell out.
If you're a seasoned snowboarder who owns all his own stuff, then you have nothing to worry about. If you're brand new to snowboarding, though, you may find yourself having to rent gear. Most of the resorts will rent equipment, but you may find newer gear at lower prices if you rent from a local snowboard and ski shop rather than directly from the resort.
Like your gear, you can choose to book beginner snowboarding lessons with a professional teacher at the resort you visit or you can book snowboarding lessons from an independent teacher. You can choose private or group lessons, and some mountains even have special classes that are all female or all seniors. You need to make a reservation in advance if you want to join most lessons.
If you are looking for a truly unique snowboarding experience out in the wild and you are an expert snowboarder, you may be interested in back country snowboarding. Back country snowboarding involves hiking, driving, or even riding in a helicopter out to a slope that is not operated by a resort or reachable via a ski lift. Obviously, this is much more risky than snowboarding on a regular resort mountain. If you want to try this, you need to sign up on a tour with a licensed back country snowboarding outfit.