And anyone that’s spent any time strapped in to a pair of bindings will tell you that one essential component of the snowboarding lifestyle is to take that spirit of adventure on the road. Whether it’s skipping the airport hell on the way out to your holiday or spending a season chasing powder from the comfort of a van, incorporating a road trip into your snowboarding experience is definitely one for your bucket list.
As such, here are some essential tips to make your road tripping times as rad as possible:
Only the most dedicated soul surfer would agree with the phrase ‘no friends on a pow day.’ The same goes for park days, pistes days and definitely days on the road. Nothing kills the excitement for shredding (at least for this author) than hour after hour of lonely road stretching out in front. Plus, when you inevitably take that wrong turning or get caught in traffic there’s no one to stop you undergoing an Incredible Hulk-style transformation, beating the steering wheel and foaming at the mouth.
Travelling with friends only improves the experience
Instead, take a leaf out of the Route One boys’ book: travelling with friends only improves the experience. Plus you can always blame someone else when you get the motorway junctions mixed up…
SORT THE TUNES
Take it from me: you don’t want to find out ten minutes into a 35-hour solo drive that your CD player doesn’t actually work, leaving you with days of random Euro radio stations fading in and out of signal. Not only are you going to have to keep your eyes open with matchsticks but you’ll spend half the trip fiddling with your knob. Radio knob that is.
you don’t want to find out ten minutes into a 35-hour solo drive that your CD player doesn’t actually work
Forget shit DJ Clarkson driving mixes, and instead put together a compilation of your favourite shred film tracks. By the time you reach the snowline you’ll be foaming at the mouth with excitement.
Your chances of shitting yourself in the driver’s seat shoot up sharply after about the third petrol station espresso
Think high energy, low mess. Haribo – every snowboarder’s trusty friend – makes a great road trip companion. Not only can you shovel handful after handful into your face as you drive, but they won’t produce any offensive smells to lower in-car morale.
Sugar is also a far superior energy source than caffeine – your chances of shitting yourself in the driver’s seat shoot up sharply after about the third petrol station espresso. Just make sure you’ve got enough to last out the whole drive, or else you’ll have to deal with a car full of snowboarders all crashing out from withdrawal.
Freed from airport baggage restrictions, the temptation is to max out on gear and pack your vehicle to the rafters. Still, if you’re only away for a week you probably don’t need four snowboards and an XBox. Nothing says ‘pack light’ better than a pair of damp boots knocking you in the back of the head every time you touch the brakes.
If you’re really only ever going to be either on the hill, in a bar or passed out on whatever closest resembles a bed, pack accordingly.
Nothing says ‘pack light’ better than a pair of damp boots knocking you in the back of the head every time you touch the brakes
PLAN A ROUTE
Whilst taking the toll-free route to France might seem like a good idea at the time, getting lost in Belgium and having to sleep in a Brussels lay-by filled with dodgy looking trucks rocking suspiciously is a less-than-glamorous reality.
Use a paper map whenever possible, and always follow road signs. Except in France.
Not only is paying motorway tolls more than worth it, it also pays to have a good idea of where you’re going – along with alternative routes. Use a paper map whenever possible, and always follow road signs. Except in France, where they’re seemingly just there to aggravate tourists.
GET SNOW CHAINS
Modern snow chains are so easy to put on if you’ve had a bit of practice with them beforehand
It’s the inevitable, classic British punter move: a narrow mountain pass road rammed full of GB license plates all pulled over with the drivers out either scratching their heads over soggy instructions or trying to unwrap their necks from the cruel tentacles of a never-before-opened set of snow chains. “ah just put your foot down, we’ll probably be alright” they said…
Modern snow chains are so easy to put on if you’ve had a bit of practice with them before your hands are numb from rooting around in the snow, in the dark with drunken French motorists honking their horns and emasculating you in front of your girlfriend. Even the old guy in the video above can manage it with complete with a thumping techno sound track. Practice. And maybe wear some gloves.
There is plenty of bad shit that can happen on a snowboarding road trip, but if you let go of your inhibitions and embrace the whole experience the worst that’ll happen is you have a great story to tell later on. Nothing says adventure like your caravan’s toilet erupting and spilling piss down to the driver’s cabin for the third time in a week.
Nothing is as fun as piling into a car with a group of good people and heading out for what could be the time of your lives…
Snowboarding is about more than just being on the mountain, sometimes getting there is just as fun and almost nothing is as fun as piling into a car with a group of good people and heading out for what could be the time of your lives…