Big air competitions, après ski parties, concerts and fun activities for all almost sounds too good to be true. But what may sound like a dream situation for mountain riders is actually becoming a regular reality.
With more and more skiers and boarders being raised on the X-Games and the adventurous undertakings of companies like Teton Gravity Research, the popularity of big air, freestyle skiing and riding has grown exponentially over the past two decades. And not to be forgotten in is the connection music has with mountain culture and its influence on how sk’riders sk’ride.
Seeking to capitalize on the growing popularity of both, your favorite mountain towns across the contitent are hosting a slew of epic big air competitions along with concerts that more than just compliment the overall experience. Here are just a few of the ski and snowboard festivals you should consider dropping into (see what I did there) this spring.
Sam Adams Air and Après (Mount Snow, Vermont, March 3)
By combining the technical skill of big air riding with state-of-the-art 3D projection mapping, Air and Après presents a show for the ages. Get psyched during the day by watching the on-mountain demo and wandering around the Sam Adams Festival Village. Then, when the lights go out, grab a Sam’s and take in the spectacle that is Air and Après. Olympic and X-Game athletes fly high amidst a display of light projected onto the jumps, turning the snow into a full-on interactive experience. Once the spectacle ends, keep the stoke going all night long at the official post party with DJ Logic at one of Vermont’s best music venues, the Snow Barn.
Air & Style (Los Angeles, March 3-4)
Air & Style draws riders away from the mountains and into the streets of Los Angeles for a festival that combines music, food, art and, most importantly, snowboarding. Drawing from the famous skateboard culture of LA, Air & Style will be adding a street-style snowboard session to this year’s event. Top snowboarders will compete in a skateboard-inspired jam using urban features while musical guests such as Phoenix, Zedd and Gucci Mane lay down the beats.
Burton U.S. Open (Vail, Colorado, March 5-10)
Now in its 36th year, the longest-running snowboard competition returns to Vail Mountain, where the best snowboarders in the world compete in the final event of the season. Fresh off the Olympics, boarders will vie for the chance to take home the championship purse of $343,000. But that’s not all. The village will be bumping with the free Burton concert series rocking the Solaris stage, bars and restaurants taking the phrase après all day to new heights and the sponsor village at Golden Peak hooking up swag for all.
The Vermont Open (Stratton, Vermont, March 9-11)
Hosted by Stratton Mountain, the resort where snowboarding cut its teeth, the Vermont Open is now in its sixth year and continues to evolve into one of the premier freestyle events on the east coast. And it’s more than your average snowboard competition complete with slopestyle hits and a halfpipe. It’s a celebration of the sport and its evolution that includes après parties and a music festival headlined this year by the highly popular Vermont-based jam band, Phish Twiddle.
Jamboree Snowboard & Ski (Québec City, Québec, March 22-25)
Quebec is taking the FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Cup Finals to another level with this year’s Jamboree. Milder temps in late March should draw large crowds—and with a massive big air structure connecting the upper and lower towns you can bet that crowds won’t be the only thing going huge that weekend. Not a minute will go by without any action as The Planet Smashers, Valaire and The Hangovers will headline the musical lineup and videos from sponsor Videotron’s contest featuring some of the best footage from Quebec’s backcountry terrain will play on the big screen.
World Ski & Snowboard Festival (Whistler, BC, April 10-15)
This is a ski and snowboard festival on steroids and why shouldn’t it be? It is, after all, hosted by Whistler, the largest ski resort in North America. Featuring events such as the Monster Energy Boarderstyle World Championships, a Big Air competition, and the Saudan Couloir Ski Race Extreme presented by Kokanee and more, there will be no shortage of athletes throwing down throughout the weekend. Add in après ski parties complemented by international DJs spinning tunes and artistic showdowns taking filmmaking to the next level, and you’ve got an unforgettable showcase of all that is great about mountain culture.