There are a few factors that affect snowboard seasons. Ski resorts around the world have different characteristics that determine the type of experience you have. Also, you can enjoy ski resorts differently depending on when you visit during the snowboard season.
In this post, we'll closely examine the snowboard seasons in various parts of the world. We'll also give you some top tips for the best times to visit these places, depending on what kind of trip you and your group want.
Table of contentSnowboard Seasons Around The World [Table] Snowboard Seasons In North America Snowboard Seasons In Europe Snowboard Seasons In Australia And New Zealand Snowboard Seasons In South America Snowboard Seasons In Japan What Affects The Length Of Snowboard Seasons? When Is The Best Time Of The Winter To Snowboard? Final Thoughts
What Are The Snowboard Seasons In Different Parts Of The World?
How much snow a ski resort gets largely depends on its location and local climate, determining when it can open for business. This isn't the only thing that impacts a ski resort's opening and closing dates, but we'll look at these later to give you the whole picture.
Snowboard Seasons Around The World [Table]
End of April
Australia and New Zealand
Snowboard Seasons In North America
There are many ski resorts in North America. In fact, you can snowboard in 37 states, and each resort has its own personality and characteristics. You can ride from small characterful resorts reminiscent of the wild west to mega resorts with lots of amenities and other activities to enjoy.
Most ski resorts in North America switch on their lifts in late November and keep them turning until the end of April. Some U.S ski resorts open longer, allowing you to ride into June.
How much snow you get depends on what time of the season you go and which resort you go to. But the snow cover varies from winter to winter, as do the temperatures. Some ski resorts keep you riding later in the season with excellent snow-making facilities, but it needs to be cold for them to work.
Snowboard Seasons In Europe
If you've never been snowboarding in Europe, I recommend you try it. It has some of the most exciting and diverse terrains in the world. Part of its diversity comes from the Alps span several countries, and you can often snowboard or catch a ski lift from one country to the other. Nothing is stopping you from heading to France for lunch after a morning of shredding Swiss slopes.
The ski resorts in Europe are as diverse as the terrain. You can expect quaint mountain villages that look like they should be on a chocolate box to purpose-built high-altitude resorts. Many high-altitude resorts offer everything you need for a great time, but the buildings can be hideous.
Generally, European ski resorts are usually open from late November to May. Higher-altitude resorts often stay open longer as the colder temperatures preserve their snow cover. Some of these high-altitude ski resorts have glaciers, which allow you to snowboard in the summer. They even build snowparks for slushy freestyle practice.
Snowboard Seasons In Australia And New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand are excellent places to snowboard. But their resorts offer very different experiences to those in Europe and North America.
Most snowboarding in Australia is done in New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory. New Zealand has ski resorts on both islands, and Cardrona and Treble Cone are among the best for snowboarding.
As Australia and New Zealand are in the Southern hemisphere, their snowboard seasons start in early June and finish early October. Many snowboarders travel from European ski resorts at the end of May or the start of June, looking for a perpetual winter.
Snowboard Seasons In South America
South America has some incredible snowboarding terrain. This is because the Andes, the mountain range that splits Chile and Argentina, is full of imposing and spectacular peaks. However, hiking into the backcountry of Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru can also find some epic terrain.
Like Australia and New Zealand, South America lies below the equator. Therefore, the snowboard season starts in mid-June and runs to October. However, you can experience the best conditions for snowboarding between July and September.
Snowboard Seasons In Japan
Japan should be on every snowboarder's bucket list. Most ski resorts get 32 to 60 feet of snow cover every winter. No wonder why Japan has earned the nickname "Japow!"
One of the most popular and famous Japanese ski resorts is Niseko. Many skiers and snowboarders regard Niseko as the powder capital of the world. If you visit Japan, you must take or rent a powder board with an extra float.
The winter season in Japan starts in December and ends in May. However, many 500 resorts stay open if the snow keeps falling.
What Affects The Length Of Snowboard Seasons?
A few factors determine when a ski resort can open and how long its season runs for. Obviously, the weather conditions significantly impact opening and closing dates, but what are the other factors?
The Local Climate And Geography
A ski resort's location significantly impacts how long its winter season is. The more snow it gets, and the longer it can keep it, the longer the snowboard season. The local climate and geography make a difference in how much snow a ski resort gets and the type of snow.
This is due to local weather systems being affected by the mountains, altitudes, large bodies of water, etc.
A resort's altitude is one of the most significant contributors to how much snow it gets and how long it keeps it before it melts. High altitude resorts are colder; therefore, most of the time, any precipitation falls as snow during the winter.
Low altitude ski resorts have shorter seasons, as their warmer temperature means they get less snow, and it melts more quickly. Also, there's a good chance that precipitation falls as rain.
The change in temperature as you change altitude is known as a lapse rate. Every 1,000 feet, the temperature drops 3.5°F. This may not seem very much, but when the temperatures are hovering around freezing, the slight temperature change can mean the difference between snow and rain.
But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a snowboard season in a lower-altitude ski resort. There is often more than enough snow cover, and the milder temperatures make the experience more pleasant. They are usually much nicer than ski resorts higher up, too.
How The Aspect Of A Ski Resort's Slopes Affects Season Length
Ski resorts have slopes all over their ski areas, but often the main ones or the majority face a particular direction. Ski slopes that face north are mainly in the shade, without much sun. This makes them colder, so the snow on the slopes is preserved and doesn't melt as quickly as on south-facing slopes.
Therefore, ski resorts with many north-facing slopes have great quality snow that can be ridden for longer, allowing them to stay open later.
Ski Resorts Need To Make Money
When you think of the cost associated with ski resorts, you can see why money is a significant factor in determining their opening and closing dates. The energy, staffing, and maintenance costs of the lifts are astronomical. It would help if you also remembered that the ski patrols, avalanche control, in-resort services, and many other things need paying for.
Ski resorts will often close on their scheduled end-of-season date, even if there is plenty of snow. The reason for this isn't laziness, but that the number of visitors to ski resorts begins to decrease after Easter.
There becomes a point in the winter when there are not enough people bringing money in to make it financially viable to stay open. This is also something that other businesses in the resort experience, including bars, restaurants, hotels, hire shops, and anyone who provides activities and experiences.
Do Ski Resorts Open Early If They Have Enough Snow?
Occasionally ski resorts get a good layer of snow before the season starts, but it's rare for them to open early. Sometimes ski resorts open for weekends a couple of weeks leading up to the opening dates.
This is great for promoting the resort, as everyone there to enjoy it will post their day of riding on social media. They will only open early if they have enough staff to get everything ready and safe. Also, they may only open a limited number of lifts and slopes.
Do Ski Resorts Close Later If They Have Enough Snow?
Similarly to the opening dates, closing dates largely depend on staffing levels. But there must be enough visitors paying for lift tickets to make it worthwhile. If the resort can stay open, it will only be for an extra weekend.
You can still head up the mountain even if the resort is closed. However, you will have to do it under your own steam by hiking, snowshoeing, or split boarding. There will be personnel closing down the mountain, and the ski patrol will ensure it's safe for workers by controlling avalanches.
Therefore, you need to be aware of snowplows, snowmobiles, etc., so you're not getting in the way or putting yourself and others in danger.
When Is The Best Time Of The Winter To Snowboard?
Snowboarding Early Season
As we've already highlighted, the snowboard season starts in December in ski resorts in the northern hemisphere. Therefore, you can celebrate the festive season while shredding the mountains. You can also enjoy all the other things that ski resorts organize for visitors.
Snowboarding in the Christmas and New Year week is great fun and a different way to say goodbye to last year and celebrate the new. Also, if you don't go mad on New Year's eve, you can get up early and enjoy quiet slopes while everyone else is recovering from the night before.
Things To Consider:
If you plan to head to the mountains in December, you risk not having excellent snow conditions, especially in low-altitude resorts. Also, the slopes and resorts can get pretty busy. You can be sure of a great atmosphere, but expect longer lift lines, and make sure you book equipment hire, restaurants, and other activities well in advance.
Due to the extra demand, Christmas and New Year tend to be more expensive. In addition to this, the people working in hotels, restaurants, etc. will often be new to their jobs, so they may not be as efficient as they should be, as they will still be finding their feet.
Going Snowboarding In January
Once the Christmas and New Year rush has subsided, ski resorts become quieter as the kids have returned to school, making it a great time to go snowboarding. Other than quieter slopes, the additional advantage of snowboarding in January is lower prices.
If you have snowboarded in December, you'll appreciate the better snow you'll experience in January. The temperatures are colder, and there has been more time for the snow to fall. You're on to a winner when you combine this with quiet slopes!
January is a great time for beginners to start snowboarding. This is because the snow conditions are pretty good, and the quieter slopes make learning less stressful.
However, more advanced snowboarders stand a good chance of finding untouched powder. This is because there's already a good snowpack that gets regular top-ups, making backcountry riding a joy. As there are fewer people in the resort, you should be able to book a guide at the last minute to take you to the best spots.
Things To Consider:
As we've just mentioned, January is a cold period; therefore, you need to wear enough layers to stay warm. Besides that, January is a great time to go snowboarding, and it's perfect for couples, groups, experts, and beginner snowboarders.
Going Snowboarding In February
February has milder temperatures than January, but you still get regular snowfalls. This makes predicting the weather and snow conditions tricky. Still, if you get lucky, you can have the best time riding in February.
Ski resorts are buzzing during February, creating a lively atmosphere. It is a popular time for families to head to the mountains, as the kids are not at school. Ski resorts put on many events and activities to keep everyone entertained when they are not on the slopes.
Things To Consider:
Due to the popularity of skiing and snowboarding in February, you can expect prices to be higher. However, the après scene is lively, the vibe is friendly, and everyone is loving life.
As February is a busy time, you love the atmosphere, but you must book anything in advance to avoid disappointment.
Going Snowboarding In March
Ski resorts in March experience milder temperatures and longer daylight hours. Also, you can ride for longer, as this is when ski resorts change their lift opening hours to stay open later in the day.
Another great thing about snowboarding in March is that the weather is more predictable and settled. So you can choose the appropriate clothing to stay comfortable all day.
Ski resorts are quieter in March than in February. However, there are still plenty of people to maintain a lively atmosphere. On top of this, the kids are back at school, so you don't have to worry about dodging them, giving you more freedom to play on the slopes.
As the temperatures are a little warmer, you can expect ski resorts, bars, and restaurants to put on more outdoor events. This is a great time to enjoy live music with a beer in your hand after a day on the mountain.
If you have beginners in your group, they will love snowboarding in March. The snow is softer due to milder temperatures. This makes learning more manageable, and falls are not as severe. In addition, you don't have to go over the top with your layering, so you can move more freely.
March is an excellent time to head to a ski resort if you are on a budget. If you shop around, you should be able to find deals on flights, lift tickets, and accommodation.
Things To Consider:
The problem with warmer temperatures is that they can negatively affect the snow conditions. You should expect the slopes to become slushy, rutted, and full of moguls in the afternoon. Slush can be lots of fun for a snowboarder, but not everyone likes it. Therefore, you should get up early and make the most of the best snow conditions before it starts to melt.
March is best suited to groups of snowboarders, couples, and corporate trips. It is mainly enjoyed by those who like to ride in great weather without worrying too much about lousy visibility.
Going Snowboarding At The End Of Winter
Not everyone can go snowboarding when the powder is deep, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun in the mountains as the season draws to a close. April has a more relaxed atmosphere than other times of the snowboard season.
You can often ride in a hoodie, as the temperatures are much warmer, and work on your goggle tan. The relaxed atmosphere also comes from fewer people on the mountain and in the resort. You can benefit from this when booking your trip, as companies drop their prices to entice the last few people to the resort before they close.
The end of the snowboard season is a great time to pick up a bargain, as snowboard shops dramatically reduce the prices of their equipment and clothing. Therefore, you can get a new setup for a fraction of the cost, ready for the next snowboard season.
Things To Consider:
The snow cover will be thinning out by April, especially in low-altitude resorts. If you choose a high-altitude resort, you'll have better snow conditions, but don't expect a powder day.
Snowboarding this late in the season requires a different approach. First thing in the morning, the slopes are incredibly icy, which is not great for snowboarding. Therefore, it's best to take your time in the morning and head up the mountain a bit later. Don't leave it too late, though, as the snow becomes very slushy and slow later in the day.
Eat a late breakfast and have lunch later than usual, so you have time to enjoy the best snow conditions of the day. You may want to continue riding in the afternoon, chill out in the sun, or find an après bar with a terrace.
Alternatively, you can use this time to experience other things the ski resort offers. Ski resorts are incredible playgrounds with many things to do, such as fat biking, dog sledding, and snowshoeing. You can even get a unique view of the landscape from a tandem paragliding flight or helicopter tour.
There are many things that affect snowboard seasons around the world. You can also have different experiences depending on where you go and the time of winter. Generally, higher altitude resorts have the best snow, but lower resorts offer different things.
Weather in the mountains is variable and often unpredictable, especially with the effects of global warming. So, you may not experience the typical conditions, especially if you only manage one trip per season.F