As more and more airlines have started to jump on the bandwagon of baggage fees, people have become hesitant to go on holidays that involve taking more than your toothbrush and a change of clothes. Snowboarding is by nature a bulky holiday – even if you don't have your own board and equipment, your suit and thermals can take up a lot of room. That's why Eurotunnel have looked at resorts that are all within a 12 hour drive radius of Calais – meaning you can avoid the high costs of airlines' excess baggage fees and just cruise there in the car, snowboarding gear and all.
Whilst we can't guarantee the best snow of your life, Eurotunnel wants to point you in the right direction to make sure you have a fantastic snowboarding holiday.
Snowboarding has become more popular every year and resorts are acknowledging this shift away from ski-only resorts by welcoming snowboarders with open arms. Snowboarding has given snow sports a new lease of life and the majority of resorts are determined not to fall by the wayside. There are now hundreds of destinations for your snowboarding holiday and we want to give you a helping hand in deciding where you should go and why. The top 3 snowboarding resorts featured here were chosen as prime destinations for 2014 based on the facilities, terrain and vibe of the resort.
One of the first resorts to open its arms to snowboarding, Tignes has been the snowboarding trendsetter in Europe and it's easy to see why. Conditions and the landscape seem to have been made especially for snowboarders, with loads of long off-piste runs that are a dream for freeriding. The pistes themselves have a good balance of blue, red and black runs meaning there is something for all abilities.
This is one of the few places where it is possible to board all year round, as it is 2,100m above sea level; when the lifts close from May to September the Grande Motte Glacier takes over and is open from June to September.
Tignes also has the awesome freestyle park, full of jumps for all levels, complete with music and a crazy atmosphere as people show off their freestyling moves. The partying often goes on late into the night as the après-ski life is buzzing all year round.
Tignes is approximately a 9-and-a-half hour drive from Calais and has 5 large designated parking areas dotted around the resort which have free shuttle buses running to and from the slopes.
A world renowned resort, Verbier breezed its way into our list of must visit destinations. It's not for nothing that the O'Neil Xtreme competition is held here every year. However, for the beginners out there don't fear; with over 56 pistes there is something for everyone. There is a balanced mix of blue and red runs, with a couple of blacks thrown in for good measure.
For all you freestylers and riders the terrain is fantastic; there is a huge amount of off-pistes with drops and tracks that you can try your hand at. Also, there's a freestyle park that's worth taking a look at, but it is pretty minimal with only a few kickers and rails.
Don't panic if you are not quite up to scratch with the local lingo, plenty of boarders come from all over the world to Verbier and English is the most commonly spoken language. With clubs and bars in the double figures you'll quickly see that après-ski breaks down all linguistic barriers.
Verbier is approximately a 9 hour drive from Calais and parking is available in lots around the resort. If you are staying in a hotel it is common for them to provide parking for guests, so be sure to ask.
Welcome the one place where you are likely to see more boarders than skiers. Laax is considered one of the most snowboarding friendly resorts in Europe. Competitions are regularly held here, the Burton European Open just took place this January. They must have been attracted by the fantastic combination of slopes, off-pistes and parks that make Laax a haven for boarders.
The main park hosts a colossal 140m pipe which is kept in mint condition, an experience not to be missed by any budding freestylers, as well as plenty of kickers and rail lines that you can try your hand at. For the true beginners, who need something slightly smaller than a gigantic pipe to start off with, there is a beginner's freestyle area next door where you can build up your confidence.
You can take your pick of off-piste sites, varying from the tree filled to any amount of drops. Be careful to learn the area before you go completely off-piste as snow slides can be triggered easily in some parts.
If you are keen to hit the slopes, there are beautiful open stretches for you to run free on; these are great for beginners and pros alike.
Whenever a big competition is town it's not only the pro riders that show up, but DJs and singers. For example, the current line up for the Brits Music & Winter Festival in March includes Pendulum and The Correspondents. For regular après-ski nights you are still spoilt for choice with plenty of clubs and bars scattered around the centre of town.
Laax is approximately a 10hr drive from Calais, the hotels and guest houses tend to provide free parking but check before you arrive – there are also large parking lots dotted around the resort that are available for use.