By: Brad McNally
Our modern world often leads us to think that bigger is always better. It can be enticing to plan your snowboarding trip for multiple days at a time and at a large resort/mountain, but there are some very good reasons why you may want to check out smaller snowboard areas. From price considerations to distance from home, there are also some very nice smaller places that are worth the day trip. Here are some reasons why you may want to avoid the larger resorts this year.
Depending on where you stay, a trip to a large resort could set you back a small fortune. If you are able to drive to a smaller ski area for a day pass and get back home a few times during the season this may be enough to influence your decision. Often, a smaller ski area has less overhead and therefore can charge less for everything. From food to a lift ticket, expect it to cost a little less.
For a large number of people, the convenience factor is pretty important. If a smaller ski area is close enough that you can head over after work and pick up a pass for the evening, it might be a better option than saving up your vacation days to hit the slopes somewhere further away. Being smaller, these areas often are overlooked by serious snowboarders, but they can be a convenient option for a quick getaway.
(3) The Crowd
With many people heading to larger resorts, there is a good chance you can get to a smaller area when there are less people there and have more of the slopes to yourself. An argument against this may be that at a ridiculously large location there is a larger area to accommodate all the people, but generally the crowds (and staff) at smaller places are pretty accommodating as it is. A lot of people use these spots to try out snowboarding for the first time. Others are weekend warriors or stopping by after work to get a few runs in.
(4) The People
In my own thoughts, visiting a smaller ski/snowboard area is much like visiting a small town. Nothing against the city, but there is a difference in how people treat each other when they are in little towns. Staff, locals, and generally everyone else at a smaller ski area can embody that idea. From impromptu lessons in the terrain park to conversations in the lodge, these interactions can make your trip out seem entirely different. This seems to be an opinion shared elsewhere as well.
Before you pack all your gear into an airline-approved Sportube snowboard case and head cross country for a week on the slopes, see if there is a local joint you can hit within a few hours drive. If you are dead set on travelling further for your snow fun, take an afternoon when you get there and head to something a bit smaller. You just might find that it has the best run, or least crowded views, after all.