Why You Should Snowboard On A Glacier During The Summer
Have you ever thought about going snowboarding in the summer? Or is the concept of snowboarding on a glacier during summer totally new? It can be great fun, so read on to see if it could be suited to you…
What to expect
A mountain glacier will hold snow all year-round. Not all resorts have a glacier, and not all glaciers are conviniently accessible by the regular ski lifts. That said, there are plenty of suitable resorts to choose from.
For resorts that do have access to a glacier, it’s typically a “small” area compared to the full, winter resort, perhaps serviced by one or two lifts. Often, there’ll be a run or two, and then the park. You’ll still use the bottom lifts to get you “up” the mountain, high enough to get to the glacier where the snow is, but on the journey up you’ll be passing over grass and dirt.
The number of hours available during the day is limited compared to winter snowboarding. You’re probably looking at around 4 hours, perhaps from 8:30 – 12:30. Early on the snow tends to be hard, bullet-proof, as the top snow has hardened over night. Being summer, the conditions are usually warm and sunny, so as the morning progresses the snow softens and gradually becomes slushy around 12 – 1pm. Consequently there’s a sweet spot when summer snowboarding is the perfect arena for freestyle progression: good to ride on, a little softer and so good for confidence, and the sun is out!
Why snowboard during the summer?
Personally, if I could only do one, I wouldn’t ever trade a summer trip for a full on winter trip. However, I have made three trips to summer/autumn camps, and each time was excellent. If you’ve got some spare time and spare money, here are some reasons to give it a try:
- Get your snowboarding fix, during the summer. Short of going to New Zealand, this is a good option to get your shred on, mid-way between winter seasons. A year is a long time to wait!
- Mix snowboarding with the summer! Snowboard in the morning then come down into the resort for the afternoon and enjoy the summer: skate, outdoor swimming pools, BBQs, sit on the balcony in the sun and drink beer… The perfect mix?
- Freestyle focus. Apart from the ski race teams, summer snowboarding is all about freestyle. Consequently you’ll find the park teams put a lot of effort in and produce good parks.
- Freestyle progress. The soft, summer conditions can give you the confidence to try new stuff and progress. And with a limited snow area, you’ll be investing all of your time in the park.
- A bevy of freestyle camps to choose from. Most glaciers will have a handful of camps operating in the area, ready to take you in and teach you new stuff. And you’ll be in a group of like-minded people.
The freestyle focus is key, and I think the the option to join a good camp, sessioning a good park is a plus. As such, I asked the people at Snowboard Addiction to add their views on why it’s a good idea to join a summer camp.
Snowboard Addiction run summer camps in Whistler. For more information you can check out their camps website.
Why join a summer camp, by Snowboard Addiction
- Amazing weather, bluebirds most days.
- The chance to really progress your park skills. Because it’s on a glacier it’s mainly park riding as opposed to free-ride.
- In Whistler, you need to be a part of the camp to access the killer park. For example, on the Blackcomb glacier there is a public area with
some park features and stuff. Then there is the massive Camp of Champions park with heaps of sick lines as well as a giant airbag.
- The opportunity to get some quality freestyle-specific coaching. If you sign up for a lesson during the winter it’s hit or miss whether you’ll get a good coach. If you sign up for a summer freestyle camp, you know you’ll be getting quality coaching.
- You get a fun, camp experience, meet heaps of new people and have people to ride with every day. Because it’s summer there’re lots of other activities you can do after snowboarding: skateboarding, going to the lake, golf, paintball, etc.
- Goggle tan
- Nice soft snow so you can throw down without worrying about hard, icy landings.
- Lots of features that you may not see in the winter at your local park.
Is it for you?
It’s not a like-for-like experience with winter snowboarding, in fact, it’s quite different. Reduced ski-area, reduced time on the hill, but a great focus on freestyle. Mix that with fun, summer activities, and it might be an experience that’s perfect for you?