Which country is the best for snowboarding and skiing?

Which country is the best for snowboarding and skiing?

Some of my most purifying experiences have been while surfing powder and carving groomers. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of wild backcountry skiing and snowboarding spots to glide through knee or waist-deep powder.

Like cutting cornices? Hammer chutes? Flexin’ over rails and pipes? Or simply cruisin’ downhill on a longboard? After schlepping through all sorts of terrains – from untouched powder fields, tracked snow, to groomed slopes – I can confidently say that the US and Europe offer a goldmine of snowboarding conditions.

Here are my top picks for the best snowboarding and skiing countries around the world, in no particular order.

1. Tignes, France

Other Major LocationsVal Thorens, Chamonix
Number of Pistes335
Top Lift11,318ft
Bottom Lift5085ft
Vertical Drop6235ft
Best Time of the YearMarch and April
Other ActivitiesParkour, Surfing, Whitewater rafting, Flyboarding, Paragliding

France has a wide range of snow conditions and epic slope styles. But the Tignes commune takes it to another level. Tignes has enough snowboarding ranges to keep you cutting through fresh snow for days with no end in sight.

Top 8 Countries in the World for Snowboarding & Skiing
Tignes, France

The slope is at the perfect inclination with the sun, along with 180 miles of powder fields, accessible at any time of the year. Tignes has hosted the European X-games and 1992 Winter Olympics as far as credibility goes.

You also get access to Val d’Isere, which links up with the Tignes snowboarding range itself. And if you’re still unsatisfied, France is home to quite a few world-renowned snowboarding locations such as Val Thorens and Chamonix.

Cost Breakdown: 

Flight from the US$247 – $592
Hotel Cost$6 – $227

2. Mammoth Mountains, California, USA

Other Major LocationsMt. Baker (Washington), Squaw Valley (California), Breckenridge (Colorado), Jackson Hole (Wyoming)
Number of Pistes150
Top Lift11,053ft
Bottom Lift7,953ft
Vertical Drop3,100
Best Time of the YearEarly December to Late April
Other ActivitiesRock climbing, skydiving, paragliding, whitewater rafting, deep water soloing

Mammoth Mountain in California is arguably the best snowboarding location in the United States, immediately followed by Mt. Baker in Washington. What makes them unique among 206 snowboarding locations in the US? Well, everything.

Top 9 Countries in the World for Snowboarding & Skiing
Mammoth Mountain, California

Thanks to the dormant volcano that this mountain range sits on, Mammoth Mountain has dozens of feet of snow falling every season. But aside from the abundance of powder, Mammoth Mountain is humongous. Its 3500 acres of land has nine world-renowned snowboarding parks and one superpipe.

You also get access to an extended snowboarding time period – November to June. Saying it’s the “snowboarder’s heaven” is an understatement.

Ps…if you do end up planning your next snowboarding adventure in California, you can’t miss Squaw Valley.

Cost Breakdown: 

Hotel Cost$29 – $4,683

If you’re planning a U.S. snowboarding trip, check out my list of best snowboarding and skiing locations (states) in the US.

3. St. Anton, Austria

Other Major LocationsIschgl, Mayrhofen, Solden, Zillertal Arena
Number of Pistes134
Top Lift9,222ft
Bottom Lift4,279ft
Vertical Drop4,945ft
Best Time of the YearEarly December to Late February
Other ActivitiesParagliding, Kite surfing, Wakeboarding, Bungy Jumping

St. Anton and Ischgl are the best snowboarding locations in all of Austria. The views of Valluga are incredible and the slopes are next level.

Top 8 Countries in the World for Snowboarding & Skiing
St. Anton, Austria

The beauty of snowboarding in Austria is that it has something called an “Austrian Season Pass” that gives you access to multiple snowboarding ranges for a marginal cost.

The Laendle Card costs a maximum of €700 (~ $792) to €820 (~ $928) and gives you access to almost 30 resorts. And the Snow Card Tirol costs a maximum of €876 (~ $992) and provides access to 91 ski areas.

Cost Breakdown: 

Flight from the US$537 – $734
Hotel Cost$31 – $2,195

4. Niseko United, Japan

Other Major LocationsNozawa Onsen, Ishiuchi Maruyama, Aomori Spring
Number of Pistes57
Top Lift3,937ft
Bottom Lift2,953ft
Vertical Drop985ft
Best Time of the YearMid-January to Late February
Other ActivitiesWhitewater rafting, Biking, Paragliding

Japan isn’t called the powder capital of the world for nothing. It has 47 different snowboarding and skiing resorts, many of which are some of the best in the world.

Top 9 Countries in the World for Snowboarding & Skiing
Hokkaido, japan

But the Niseko United resort in the Hokkaido Prefecture of Japan takes it one step further. It’s the perfect combination of beautiful views, boarding-friendly terrain, and ridiculous amounts of snow!

Don’t believe me?  Soko Yamaoka (Japanese Olympic snowboarder) likes Hokkaido the most since it has fresh snow falling constantly. He even calls it a “true snowboarding playground.”

Cost Breakdown: 

Flight from the US$860 – $1,483
Hotel Cost$43 – $517

5. Davos, Switzerland

Other Major LocationsVerbier, Saas Fee
Number of Pistes110
Top Lift9,330ft
Bottom Lift2,657ft
Vertical Drop6,673ft
Best Time of the YearLate November to Late February
Other ActivitiesMountain Roller Coaster, Bungee Jumping, Paragliding, Cliff Walking

Do you really need a reason to visit Switzerland? If for some reason your answer was yes, then I’ve got two big reasons for you – Davos Klosters and Verbier.

Top 8 Countries in the World for Snowboarding & Skiing
Davos, Switzerland

Davos Klosters is the best mountain range for snowboarding in Switzerland. Not just for its sheer beauty. Davos also gives you access to five mountain ranges and 200 miles of adrenaline-fueled snowboarding and skiing.

The snow falls almost the entire year, making it a go-to for professionals and yahoo freestylers alike. Davos is also a small town in the region with literally everything you’ll ever need. This makes for a one-of-a-kind, indulging experience for foreign (and local) tourists.

Cost Breakdown: 

Flight from the US$307 – $490
Hotel Cost$33 – $319

6. Whistler Blackcomb, Canada

Other Major LocationsBig White, Lake Louise, Sunshine Village
Number of Pistes200
Top Lift7,493ft
Bottom Lift2,214ft
Vertical Drop5,278ft
Best Time of the YearDecember and March
Other ActivitiesATV-ing, Whitewater Rafting, Rock Climbing, Deep Water Soloing

How can I not talk about the Great White North when mentioning the ultimate snowboarding spots around the globe?

Top 8 Countries in the World for Snowboarding & Skiing
Whistler Blackcomb, Canada

Whistler Blackcomb in the British Columbia region of Canada is arguably one of the best snowboarding locations globally, and in Canada, it’s definitely the top.

With 8,171 skiable acres, Whistler Blackcomb is more than double the size of Mammoth Mountain (US). It also has 200 trails, three glaciers, and a breathtaking 5,278ft drop. While we’re talking about numbers, you should know that Whistler gets 450 INCHES of snow every year.

It’s honestly an obvious choice if you’re ever snowboarding in the North American region.

Cost Breakdown: 

Flight from the US$142 – $392
Hotel Cost$10 – $8,564

7. Cervinia, Italy

Other Major LocationsLivigno, Val Gardena, Passo Tonale
Number of Pistes129
Top Lift11,443ft
Bottom Lift6,725ft
Vertical Drop4,718ft
Best Time of the YearLate November to Late April
Other ActivitiesHiking, Kayaking, Canyoning, Paragliding, Scuba Diving

Italy is sure to come up when you talk about the best of something in Europe. If you’re planning a trip there, I highly recommend Cervinia.

Top 8 Countries in the World for Snowboarding & Skiing
Cervinia, Italy

Cervinia is the ultimate snowboarding and skiing resort in all of Italy, and frankly, one of the best in Europe. It’s located at the top of Aosta Valley near the Switzerland-Italy border, making it easier to scope the Swiss resorts.

Beyond that, Cervinia is one of the few resorts on this list that offer something for all difficulty levels – from beginners to advanced snowboarders. Plus, it’s relatively cheaper as well?

Cost Breakdown: 

Flight from the US$307 – $458
Hotel Cost$12 – $2,490

8. Treble Cone, New Zealand

Other Major LocationsPorter Heights, Cardrona, Roundhill
Number of Pistes60
Top Lift6,430ft
Bottom Lift4,118ft
Vertical Drop2,312ft
Best Time of the YearMid-August – Mid-September
Other ActivitiesSkydiving, Black Water Rafting, Bungy-jumping, Scuba diving

If you think New Zealand was only known for winin’ and dinin’, and rugby of course, then you haven’t visited Treble Cone yet. The Treble Cone resort in the Wanaka region is essentially just an open snowfield rather than a traditional resort. 

Top 8 Countries in the World for Snowboarding & Skiing
Snowboarding in New Zealand

You can also visit Porter Heights or Cardona since the Oceanic country is smaller, so you can visit multiple resorts on the same day.

Cost Breakdown: 

Flight from the US$1,273 – $1,937
Hotel Cost$12 – $3,723

So, that sums up the ultimate snowboarding spots. You can pretty much pick any of these gems, but take a quick peep at my other guides on the best places to visit for extreme sports for a wider scope.

Enjoy – I’m dippin’ back to the powder now.

Jonathan Spaeth

I got into extreme sports about 20 years ago and am a die-hard adrenaline junkie. Just like in business, I choose my outdoor adventures based on how much they scare me. My goal is to share the lessons I've learned over the past couple of decades braving the unknown to encourage you to do the same.