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There's some places you can only dream of shredding - Alaska, Antarctica, Japan - but what if that dream became a reality? Say you were stinking rich or won the lottery or robbed a bank. Apart from paying off student loan/mortgage/other debts, we'd absolutely put a chunk aside for the most awesome shred trip on the planet. Wouldn't you?
That's what this guide is - a dreamer's guide to the wildest, nuttiest, most extreme, ultimate shred trips the world has to offer. Yes, most of them cost an absolute bomb (you pretty much have to sell your own grandma to afford it) but it's always fun to dream, right?
From scaling spines in Alaska to shredding the untouched face of Antarctica's highest mountain, it's time to put the kettle on and get dreaming. Or at least, get saving...
[part title="Shred the Himalayas in Nepal"]
Heliski Nepal were the first heli company to set up shop in the Nepalese Himalayas. Now they run weekly excursions via helicopter to the Annapurna and Everest region from mid-February to mid-April.
You won't be getting a lie-in on this trip. Each day starts at 5am with a helicopter pick-up from the town of Pokhara at 6.30am. You'll be dropped off at the top, getting in a good five or six runs before the clouds roll in at around lunchtime. But don't worry - there will be fresh powder and blue skies again the next morning. Afternoons are free for you to explore the town, go paragliding, rent motorbikes, swim - and generally relish in that fact that you're in Nepal!
You can add three days on to the tour and explore the Chitwan National Park's tropical jungle by elephant.
From €7,400 per person
[part title="Slay pow pillows in Niseko, Japan"]
Oh Japan, Japan. It goes without saying that this is one place you have to visit before you pop your clogs. Unlike Antarctica and Alaska, Japan is a little more achievable. Well, only just. Flights are pretty damn pricey, but you've never heard any shredder come back from Japan saying they've had a crap time, have you?
70 per cent of Japan is mountainous, there's over 500 resorts to explore and it pretty much snows constantly from December to May. Off-piste potential is vast, but it's best to go with a specialist company if it's your first time there. Japan Ski Experience run a sweet two-week Hokkaido Powder Tour with Powder Detours for those already comfortable riding pow and tree runs. It's 80 per cent guiding and 20 per cent coaching, which sounds pretty ideal to us.
From £2,053 approx. per person (including accommodation, transfers, guiding, coaching)
[part title="Track an active volcano in Kamchatka, Russia"]
This beautiful, volcanic corner of Russia offers some of the most desolate shredding terrain in the world. Kamchatka the size of Germany, Austria and Switzerland combined with only a few hundred thousand inhabitants. And yes, you'll actually be riding one of the regions 200 volcanos, 29 of which are still active! Elemental Adventures take you up the volcano Kljutschevskayay (try saying that backwards) to track the craters of smoking active volcanos, swim in the Pacific Ocean and rest your aching limbs in one of nature's jacuzzi (hot springs) with a bottle of Russian bubbly. Could it get any better than this
From €7,600 per person
[part title="Go private heli boarding in British Columbia, Canada"]
Adventurous riders are likely to have the Selkirks, British Columbia on their bucket lists. Grab four willing friends (likely to be keen, if you're paying), hop in one of Canadian Mountain Holidays' private helicopters and be lifted up high into the remote BC backcountry. Once there, you're free to roam around the huge Monashee and Adamant terrain as you please before heading back down to a five-star luxury lodge with a spa, hot tub and a big warm bed. I'm pretty sure if there's a snowboarder heaven, it would look something like this.
From CA $16,280 per person
[part title="Carve fresh lines down Antarctica's highest mountain"]
If you caught last month's issue of Whitelines, then you'll know exactly what gnarly terrain Antarctica offers. A decade ago, riding this desolate continent would have been unthinkable. Now it's not just the likes of Xavier de le Rue that can journey there, you can too.
New Zealand based company Adventure Consultants run extreme snowboarding expeditions to Antarctica (among other far-flung destinations). One of the most spectacular is the 16-day climbing and shredding trip up Vinson Massif, Antarctica's highest mountain. You'll fly from Punta Arenas in Chile to Antarctica before boarding another plane to the base camp at Vinson Massif. Five to six days will be spent hiking, camping and riding to top camp. From there, it's up to the summit. As you can imagine, they only take very experienced riders with alpine touring experience - so probably worth getting off the baby runs before attempting this.
From US $40,000 per person
[part title="Explore Greenland's untouched terrain by yacht"]
Forget chair lifts and bubble cars. How about finding your next shred spot by boat in Greenland? LUEX will take you from Copenhagen to Greenland on their 34 person yacht, where a personally-appointed guide will show you around the icy spines of the world's largest island. Highlights include the stunning view from the highest peak overlooking the Evighedsfjorden (Eternity Fjord), plus you'll have the chance to leave your mark on some spectacular untouched faces.
From €4,350 per person
[part title="Ride under the Midnight Sun in Norway"]
For late season riding, you can't really do better than Lyngen Lodge in Norway. Come May, this place is home to the midnight sun where you can experience a four to six hour long sunset merged with sunrise. The result is possibly the coolest tour you'll ever experience. Spend all afternoon and evening trackin crisp, untouched pow runs with seriously amazing photo opps over the Lyngen fjord.
From approximately £2,340 per person
[part title="Make the pilgrimage to Valdez, Alaska"]
Finally, we couldn't write up an ultimate shred trip list without including the birthplace of heli boarding, Valdez in Alaska. It's a mecca when it comes to insane backcountry riding. After all, legendary shred flicks such as Endless Winter and Teton Gravity's Harvest were filmed in Valdez. It is possible to shred the spines of Alaska without blowing crazy amounts of money. However if you do happen to be sitting on a bazillion pounds, this is the place to spend it.
Alaska Backcountry Adventures offer flexible rates from US $500 for three runs up to US $4,800 for hour's rental of a private helicopter. One of the best places to stay locally is the plush Mountain Sky Hotel. Some rooms even have a hot tub in the bedroom (only in America). The weather can be a bit of a gamble - some days you won't even be able to leave your hotel, let alone get in a heli - but it really is worth the risk.
From US $500 for heli boarding and US $109 per night at Mountain Sky Hotel