By: Brad McNally
If you’ve never tried it, night snowboarding might either seem like a great idea or a really silly one. While flying down a mountain on a board while you can see clearly is one thing, the darkness limits your visibility and depending on the location this could be (even more) dangerous. Have no fear, though, because if you are prepared and stick within your abilities it can be a very enjoyable experience. Here are a few tips to keep you headed down the slopes after dark.
1. Know your Surroundings
If you are on a resort, be sure to study the trail map before heading out. This is not quite so serious, but it is helpful to know where you are in relation to the lift and the lodge, and night time can make things look different. If you are not at a resort, be sure that you absolutely know your way around. You don’t want to get lost after dark.
2. Prepare for the Weather
You may normally throw your jacket in the car and put your board in the roof rack and head out. It might not seem like a big difference at first, but the temperature drops pretty quickly after dark. Make sure you bring extra layers and maybe even some hand warmers and other comforts. If you want to make sure you enjoy your night runs, plan ahead about this and be ready for it. You don’t want to be shivering too hard to ride a decent line.3. Light is your Friend
Night boarding seems like a great idea, but utilize light when you can. At the resort, they will likely open a select number of runs and they will be well-lit. There is still a novelty, but it is a different experience than snowboarding outside of a resort in the dark. Plan for going on a night that will be advantageous: moonlight and clear skies will help your eyes adjust and raise your visibility. Attach a few lights to your board or yourself if you want to. Think a helmet light instead of a helmet cam.. This can help you see what is going on but also makes you visible to others.
4. Be Safe
There are multiple concerns with night boarding so you need to make sure you are safe in your adventures. The slopes will turn slick and icy quickly after dark in most places, so be ready for less big powder and more hard packed snow and ice. This may cause you to adjust your riding style, so be ready. Also, night ski/snowboard at the resort generally accompanies a party in the lodge. If you are drinking at the party, it is likely a bad idea to head out with your board. Don’t drink and drive, but don’t drink and snowboard either.
Many resorts hold regular night ski/snowboard hours during the season. These can be fun events and can really bring a new perspective to the same mountain you’ve ridden down previously. By keeping these four things in mind you can make sure that your trip will still be enjoyable and that you will stay safe.