Free Riding & Freestyling
As with skiing, there are different styles of riding: Free riding is all-mountain riding on the slopes, in the trees, down the steeps and through the moguls. Freestyle is snowboarding in a pipe or terrain park filled with jumps, rails, fun boxes and other features. Parallel giant slalom and snowboard cross are primarily competition events (picture the riding at the Winter Olympics).
In Colorado, new and expanded terrain parks open every year and are designed for specific skill levels, from beginner parks with tiny rails hugging the ground to parks with roller-coaster rails tabletops. Within huge parks, such as Keystone Resort's A51 Terrain Park, you'll find all different ages playing — from a skilled rider taking on the Main Street jump line to a 50-year-old experimenting on a wider, lower-to-the-ground fun box. In the Railyard, one of Winter Park Resort's six terrain parks, there are duplicates of the rails on the steps of Colorado's State Capitol building as well as the rails on the steps at Colorado's famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Learning to Ride
Whether you're a first-timer or already comfortable going lip-to-lip in a pipe, there are classes and special clinics for you at Colorado's ski and snowboard resorts. Every resort offers basic half- and full-day snowboarding classes, but the most popular clinics show riders how to play in the parks and pipes. Beaver Creek Resort's Parkology program, for example, features progressive learning terrain in a park designed for beginners, another designed for intermediates and a third for intermediates and experts. Many of the resorts, including Breckenridge, Vail and Aspen/Snowmass offer multiday clinics, so if you're headed to ski country this winter, consider planning your vacation dates around a clinic. (Check events calendars or in the ski-school section of the resorts' websites.)
Learn more about skiing and riding lessons at Colorado's ski resorts.
Prime Events for Riders & Spectators
Colorado's reputation as a home for snowboarding is nationwide, as the state has been selected to host events such as ESPN's Winter X Games at Aspen/Snowmass and Snowboard World Cup in Copper Mountain. Most of the major resorts and many of the smaller ones have amateur competitions, ranging from the Copper Mountain U.S. Snowboarding and Free Skiing Grand Prix to Breckenridge's Winter Dew Tour.