The feeling of freedom that snowboarding provides is unique in the world of sport. The way you navigate the mountain on a board is really only equaled in sensation by surfing or skateboarding. While there is a romantic idea attached to the act of riding and it's associated lifestyle, learning to snowboard, and ultimately progressing to a higher level is a daunting thought for some.
Getting to a point where you feel comfortable riding anywhere can take a few years, even decades if you go it alone. Fortunately, our state has some of the best learn-to-snowboard programs in the country. From single-day lessons to private schools and teams, Utah is home to every type of on-hill education that you could think of.
With the global acceptance of snowboarding as a sport for everyone over the past decade, learn-to-ride programs are no longer reserved just for kids and debutants alike. With collaborations between resorts, industry leading gear manufacturers and professional instructors there are myriad options of camps, classes and events for even the most seasoned riders who want to polish their skills. Whether you are in Utah for a weekend or living here on a full-time basis, there is a program that will hep you excel on your board. Here, I have compiled a list of some of the most progressive and diverse snowboard education programs in the state.
And as a bonus, right now, its January Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month.
Burton LTR Centers:
As the biggest snowboard company in the game, Burton snowboards has been committed to introducing new riders to the sport for decades with their award-winning Learn-to-Ride (LTR) programs. Strategically partnering with certain resorts around the country and setting up a formulaic system of teaching, coupled with beginner specific gear, the Burton LTR program is a stamp of quality in the world of snowboard education.
The multi-step system that has been created as a part of this program will help you progress from green circles to black diamonds in no time. With the LTR specific boards that prevent heel and toe-edge catch, your confidence will soar, and fear of falling will be a non-factor.
This program is designed to teach and empower people of all ages to pursue a snowboarding life. If you are interested in taking advantage of these amazing resources, join the certified snowboard instructors at these Utah-based Burton LTR resort partners:
Park City Mountain, Snowbasin Resort, Powder Mountain, Brighton and Brian Head Ski Resort.
Started in 1995 by Jake and Donna Carpenter, CHILL is dedicated to introducing minority, inner-city, handicapped and at-risk kids to the sport of snowboarding at no cost. Salt Lake City serves as one of the program cities and the SLC chapter has been in operation since 2003. Brighton resort serves as CHILL SLC's base of operation during the winter months, meeting every Monday and Thursday beginning in February. Throughout the spring and summer, Crossroads skatepark in Ogden is their home, where these kids are pushed to excel in skateboarding.
If you know a child that could benefit from this program or you are interested in becoming a volunteer, visit the CHILL SLC website.
If you are an aspiring winter athlete or your child is looking to dedicate themselves to their sport in a serious manner, the Park City Winter Sports School could be something that may interest you. This world-renowned school is operated as a non-profit charter school that has tailored their educational programs to maximize your time on snow, so you can train to become an elite snowboarder. The academic program runs from April-November and focuses on grades 9-12. This accredited school is meant for the truly serious athlete and is a feeder program for the US Ski and Snowboard Association. Many alumni have gone onto compete in World Cups, X games and the Olympics.
If this style of snowboard education is something that you are looking for, visit their website.
For the local riders that want to take their snowboarding further within the realm of competition and organized events, but want to remain in a traditional school setting, there are two great options for you. Both Team Park City United and Team Utah are the premier snowboard teams that focus on multiple snowboard disciplines including Alpine racing, Boardercross and Freestyle. Each team offers tailor-made programs that fit your schedule, ranging from one day sessions to six day-a-week programs that will guarantee progression.
For more information visit:
Solitude: Youth Snowsports Academy
Solitude's Explorer program offers a fun and exciting learning experience for all riders. The Moonbeam Ski and Snowboard Academy features skilled instructors who utilize small group sizes, games and fun to help children develop more confidence on the snow and improve their techniques. This year they have also added a Junior Explorer program specific to snowboarding. With a multitude of age levels available, there is something for everyone.
Snowbird Mountain School
As Utah's premier resort for the "Big Mountain Experience", Snowbird has tailored their snowboard school program to facilitate an education from beginner level to backcountry clinics and instructor training. Beginning with children as young as three years-of-age, and going all the way to adulthood, Snowbird's team of professional instructors are ready to show you and your family what this amazing mountain is all about. There are options for both group and private lessons on the main slopes and if you are looking to build your backcountry experience, the Snowbird Mountain School offers backcountry guiding and education for the more advanced riders out there.
Multi-day winter camps for youth and adults are also a regular occurrence at Snowbird. From Women's specific camps from SheRide big mountain kids camps, the Bird has you covered.
Wasatch Adaptive Sports:
I can't mention Utah's premier on-snow education without mentioning Wasatch Adaptive Sports. This unique program is based at both Snowbird and Sundance Mountain Resort and since 1977 has been dedicated to getting people with adaptive needs on the snow and teaching them to ride. All of their staff is certified by the Professional Ski and Snowboard Instructors of America and they are seen as being one of the leading snow schools in the country for people with adaptive needs.
If you or anyone you know has a thirst for pushing their riding abilities to the next level, Utah has the best programs (and of course the best snow) to make that happen. Please contact any of these programs and set up your next great snowboarding experience.