Yes, cold-weather surfing has come a long way from its early days as a ragtag sport struggling to gain acceptance in ski areas, where it was largely prohibited in the mid-1980s. In 2006, 5.2 million people over the age of 7 went snowboarding more than once, and some experts expect the number of boarders on the slopes to soon eclipse that of skiers. Although there are a handful of ski areas that still prohibit snowboarding (Alta, Taos, Aspen), most have embraced the sport and have even built terrain parks with jumps, rails, and other board-friendly obstacles. Some of the most heralded places to snowboard include Whistler/Blackcomb (host to the 2010 Winter Olympics), Wyoming’s Jackson Hole, Breckenridge, Colorado and Park City, Utah. However, resorts like Tignes in France and Davos in nearby Switzerland are also very snowboard-oriented and are good reasons to hunt down some foreign snow.

Generally, snowboarders wear soft boots and use a wide board with rounded edges. This type of set-up is used for freestyle snowboarding, involving tricks on ramps and rails, and freeride snowboarding, which is the most general style and involves all kinds of terrain. However, alpine snowboarding, geared toward racing and speed, utilizes hard boots (like ski boots) and a relatively narrow, long, and stiff board.

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