Over recent years, skiing and snowboarding has become a popular winter activity for people of all ages and abilities. From cruising down gentle slopes to picking up speed and seeking air from snow ramps, both sports have a whole range of options for beginners and experienced boarders alike. Not only are more and more people organising their vacations around the best ski and snowboard destinations worldwide, more and more people are also organising vacations around some of the biggest and best winter sport competitions known to man.
There are a fair few competitions across the world that offer spectators the chance to witness some of the planet’s best and most extreme snowboarders and skiers battle it out for a place in history. These are the times that many skiers and snowboarders attempt to break records, pushing boundaries further and further each year. Not only this, but once these events are over, it gives you, your family or your friends the opportunity to jump on the slopes and give them a ride for yourself. The competitions also allow the perfect socialising environment and often have a nice festival vibe to them, with music and social events held throughout the days and late into the nights.
From races to jumping competitions, freestyle and freeski to events like the slalom, there is no doubt that just watching these will raise your heartrate and get the adrenaline pumping. Read on to find out which five events are worth considering for your next ski or snowboard vacation.
FIS World Championships
Quite simply the mother of all competitions, the FIS World Championships is the World Championships in snowboard, freestyle and freeski and are held at different locations each year. For ten days in February 2019, the mountains of the Wasatch region of Utah will be transformed into one of the biggest skiing and snowboarding competitions on the planet. Various resorts act as hosts for the series, each focusing on what they can offer to the different types of the sport including Snowboardcross, Skicross, Snowboard Halfpipe, Ski Halfpipe, Freeskiing Big Air, Snowboarding Big Air, Snowboard Slopestyle, Ski Slopestyle and Aerials Freestyle. As you can tell, this event offers something for everyone no matter where their interest lies.
Audi quattro Winter Games
This is one of New Zealand’s first major championships of the season and is often the most popular one with spectators, starting off the season witnessing world famous, impressive sports men and women. It is the only winter sports competition in the Southern Hemisphere and is New Zealand’s largest recurring sports event. Be prepared to be in awe of the talent that is shown here with freestyle skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing and curling as well as the amazing laid-back atmosphere of the event which is proud to show its festival vibes. The location could not be more perfect, a winter wonderland within the Southern Alps of New Zealand provide a stunning white washed and pristine environment that attracts thousands of powder seekers.
Each year the Laax- Swizerland’s Best Ski Resort and the Worlds Best Freestyle Resort of 2017 proudly hosts a competition like no other, one that opens its arms to all contestants, amateur and professional. Located within Canton of Graubunden hidden away in the Swiss Alps, it is a competition worth watching which guarantees wows all around. LAAX has made a name for itself over the past 30 years and stands at the forefront of snowboarding competitions providing high quality events and welcomes Olympic gold medallists, world champions and new commers. With a focus on freestyle events, the festival atmosphere brings spectators from all over the world seeking to witness spectacular and death defying moves whilst enjoying the music, sport and fun all in one place. If attending the LAAX Open, be sure to witness the main highlight, the part that everyone anticipates; the halfpipe finals where you can see some of the worlds best freestyle boarders compete it out to shine at the awards ceremony followed by a full night of live music and entertainment.
Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships
Just as the FIS World Championships is described the Mother of them all, this must make the Burton US Open the Daddy of them all. First emerging 36 years ago, the event moved from Vermont to Colorado, the competition continues to grow and attract pro boarders the world over. Next years contest will be held at Vail Mountain and will offer spectators the chance to see some of the best snowboarders in the world battle it out to achieve the most highly sought-after Halfpipe and Slopestyle titles in the sport. The event runs for five days and provides entertainment for all including a free music festival and activities for the younger audience, including learn to snowboard opportunities.
Winter X Games Aspen
A name that is world renowned for its extreme sports and record-breaking contestants, the Winter X Games is an event like no other. Three days of action snow sports that are open to the public to join alongside an impressive musical performance line up from top quality artists. The lifestyle festival provides the perfect platform to host over 200 of the worlds top athletes in winter sports and because the event is organised by ESPN, it is bound to not disappoint. Not only do they have some of the best snowboarders and skiers competing, there is also snowmobile and snow bike events which make an interesting change to winter sports. The Winter X Games certainly is the epitome of competitions within the winter sports industry. Held at the bottom of Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen Snowmass, the location provides a beautiful location which ensures visitors have easy access and excellent views of each event.