With skiing and snowboarding season in full swing, it’s not just about finding the smoothest slopes. Many seek out one thing when hitting the mountains of the USA – powder. There are several places around the US which boast deep and steep slopes with a good amount of snowfall, creating the perfect environment for off-piste skiing and snowboarding. But why stop there? Check out some of the other exciting snow sports to enjoy during the winter season.
Crested Butte – Colorado
If you’re seeking the best off-piste snowboarding experience, Crested Butte is a must-visit destination. The majority of the powdered slopes in this part of Colorado can be tamed only by confident snowboarders, with many parts of the mountain boasting an “Extreme Limits” grade. Steep, ungroomed runs provide a challenging and thrilling experience, while closer to the base of the mountain you can find easier and more family-friendly spots. The space at Crested Butte is enormous, so when you’re boarding through the wild mountain forest, you’ll feel a whole world away from the groomed slopes below.
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Alta – Utah
Known for having deep powder snow and steep mountain slopes, the Alta resort in Utah is a place for skiers. With no snowboarding permitted, skiers alone benefit from the 10+ metres of quality snowfall each year which blankets the mountain. If you’re a beginner at Alta, be sure to hire a guide for your trip, as many of the natural hazards are unmarked on the resort’s map. If you want a truly immersive experience, try one of the Off-Trail Workshops, and be guided through the depths of the mountain, which will reward you with stunning scenery and intimate, off-piste skiing.
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Fraser Tubing Hill – Colorado
Colorado is a leader in the world of alternative snow sports, and the tubing opportunities at Fraser Hill are legendary. For a fee, you can travel down the hill solo, or speed down as a group (which is often the choice for adrenaline junkies). It’s an incredibly fun experience, especially if you love the snow but aren’t adept at skiing or snowboarding. The area around the city of Denver in Colorado is famous for having a great selection of sledding and tubing spots, but the scenery at Fraser Hill is breath taking. Kids, unsurprisingly, love taking a tube down the snowy slopes, making it the perfect day out for families who enjoy the great outdoors.
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Big Hole Valley – Montana
For a more high-energy winter sport, many use the strong winds of the northern US to go snowkiting (also known as kiteboarding). Using either skis or a snowboard, along with a foil or inflatable kite, snowkiting is an exhilarating sport requiring a large open space. Using a kite allows you to travel both up and downhill, so it’s a really diverse sport and great if you’re looking to perform tricks. Big Hole Valley, in Montana, is a huge valley found in the middle of three small villages, so it’s pretty remote. The valley floor provides the perfect opportunity for snowkiting in winter, with the season going from February until May (although you can find snow here as early as October).
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Brainerd Lakes – Minnesota
Thousands of miles of groomed trails can be found across the parks and forests of Minnesota, and many use these for one thing – snowmobiling. Travelling by snowmobile is fast and fun, and is great if you want to explore a large area without relying on your snowshoes! They’re also useful for families and groups, who can get loads of sightseeing done by day, before chilling out in a winter cabin. The Brainerd Lakes area in the state’s centre is packed with snowmobile trails, amounting to almost 1,200 miles. During the peak winter season, it can get a little busy, but the crowds reduce significantly during the week. Check out any of the 11 snowmobile clubs, like the Gull Lake Drifters, all of which offer plenty of other winter activities, such as ice fishing.
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Snow can be found in the chilly regions of the USA as late as May and as early as October, so start planning your next winter break.