[Summertime, and the living is easy. Mt Hood, Mecca for warm weather snowboarders the world over, in all her glory. Photo: Sami Tuoriniemi]
Be it Folgefonna, or Hood, or Dachstein or one of the many other northern hemi glaciers, it will shortly be time to lather up your base with the good wax and go summer stunt sliding. Wait, summer snowboarding? Shouldn't you be getting pummelled by whitewater or rolling your ankles working on tre flips?
No way, homies. You should be going snowboarding in summer. Because summer snowboarding is very often the best kind of snowboarding you can do.
Scroll on through to find out why...
Let's just gloss over that bit when you get up a little early to find everything is harder than a 14-year-old who's just discovered youporn, with everything frozen so solid even a diamond would struggle to leave a mark, and instead focus more on those magic hours when the summer sun does its Masterchef thing and cooks the snow to perfection.
Slush is just awesome to butter, slash and minishred around in, and when it comes to learning new tricks having a bit more cushion for the pushin' is always preferable.
We'd go as far as to say that if you can't have powder, slush is the next best thing in snowboarding, beating even fresh groomers off. Slush is also perfect for spraying skiers with. Just saying.
[Below: Filippo Kratter slush surfing like a badman. Photo: Matt Georges]
2. Not Snowboarding
One of the more awesome aspects of riding in the summer has nothing to do with the simple act of snowboarding at all. In winter, when you get off the hill your options are effectively limited to after ski, eating, hitting the bar, or combining all three if you don't mind morphing into that wizard in the club at 2am, still in your boots and base layers, minging drunk and with a sliver of saliva coursing down you chin. If so, god bless you, you beautiful freak.
Summer's different. In summer you roll off the hill to have the opportunity of getting balls deep in the host of activities on hand in mountain towns at this time of year. Jumping off dams, chilling by the lake, skateboarding, mountain biking, bbq... the list is a long one and is as important a part of the summer shred experience as the actual bread and butter of snowboarding.
Nothing, nothing, can come close to the pure unadulterated stoke of an unexpected summer powder day, and they happen more regularly than you might think. Storms often roll through the alpine regions in summer, unleashing deluges of water on the towns which, up on the glacier, often means snow. And lots of it.
Of course, many times the storm is so severe that the mountain is closed, or enveloped in a shroud of dense fog (and while you should only go off piste on glacier when you know where you're going, you really want to be able to see where you're going or you run the very real risk of disappearing into a crevasse) but when the stars align you can roll out the gondola to be greeted with an orgy of untracked lines to dive into. And then head down to swap powder tales over a beer and a barbie in flip flops. Epic.
[Below: The Drink Water Rat Race, held each summer on Mt Hood, has pretty much every snowboarder worth a damn lining up to hit its berms. Nico Müller gets set to win it. Photo: Thomas Copsey]
With the exception of the swarms of ski racers (fear not, they mostly peace out before the snow softens up), you can be sure that most everyone else riding in summer will be down for snowboarding proper. We all know that the snowboarding masses can be neatly cleaved into two different subdivisions: 'people who snowboard' and snowboarders, and the latter outnumber the former immeasurably at this time of year.
In winter you might find yourself accidentally being bored to tears by Tarquin Huckenfuck from the city who saw snowboarding on the telly, decided it was extreme and a good way to have mad bantz with the boys and to wear colourful hats. Mercifully, such gong farmers are absent from lift lines in summer, and instead you'll tend to be surrounded by like-minded homies who're so hyped on snowboarding that winter is not enough. That vibe is rad.
[Below: Okokok... Gigi's snowboarding royalty so he was far from slumming it in Hood the other summer, but mere mortals can certainly save swag by camping, and shred all the longer. Photo: Sami Tuoriniemi]
5. Slumming It
The warm months of summer means it's much easier to go snowboarding on the cheap. Pile a hoard of homies into a Cinquecento, split the petrol, pitch up at a campsite (or go feral if the bust level is low) and you immediately have a much more cost-effective way of living to ride.
Existing on a diet of grilled meat, pasta and Spar-brand beer might not be the wisest long term, but for a few months here and there you'll live well enough. Lift ticket prices are also cheaper in summer.
6. Glacier Trippin'
With your rig consisting of riding gear and a tent you're much more mobile, so consider road tripping your way past several of Euroboarding's summer hotspots. Give yourself a month or so, get the camp vibes going and hop from 2 Alpes to Tignes, Zermat and Saas-Fee over to the Austrian oases of Kaunertal, Kaprun, Stubai, Hintertux and Dachstein.
Or even the other way around if that floats your boat.
If you spend a summer in this fashion we guarantee you'll have stories to tell the grandkids, and then some...
7. Shorts and Shades
Yep, it's summer, so there's a damn good chance shit's gonna be toasty. Leave your layers at home and shred free and easy, or even naked if you want to make an edit that breaks the internet (apply sunscreen).
Naturally, there's a chance that conditions can be nipple-hardening (we've already mentioned the possibility of powder days), but when the sun's out, getting your guns out and shredding in minimal attire is a most liberating experience. Just beware the peerless pain of salty slush rash...
8. Is That A Dead Body, Mate?
Though you will encounter such pond life traveling with a board bag in winter, summer is when hauling your coffin around brings the confusion of the general public to mindboggling proportions.
There's nothing quite like telling a lardy tourist that, no, it's not a dead body, that you're in fact going snowboarding, and then watching their face contort in confusion in response to information that simply does not compute.
9. Summer Camps
Though fewer and farther between in Europe these days, the experience of having a whole hunk of humanity all in one spot for the shred is a beautiful thing, man and woman.
The North American versions, like Mt Hood's High Cascade and Windells or Camp of Champions in Canada, are much more geared to provide a kid-friendly atmosphere, whereas this side of the pond it's more setup to provide adults a chance to get loose and progress in the spank-reducing slush.
For groms, the Hood camps could possibly be the best place on the planet to snowboard ever, so long as you play by the rules, whereas if you want to be able to drink booze, smoke Gauloises and attempt to mate with a mountain girl you are better off sticking with the old continent.
There's still a swarm of summer camps that go down in Les 2 Alpes each year, and outside of the Savoie region Zermatt, Folgefonna and Hintertux offer the Camp vibe with coaching options to help you up your game.
[Below: We were looking for a shot of someone all lobstered and blistering, but then we found this of Cheryl Mass fogsliding on Dachstein and thought you'd rather see a snowboard shot. Call it 180 degrees from tanning. Photo: Thomas Copsey]
Or if you're British, like me, getting full-on lobstered. Yes, you can get a more effective tan on the beach but then you have to deal with sand in your crack and people for whom tanning is a reason for being.
Going full panda or full farmer is something one should never do, so make sure you even her up or you'll run the risk of returning to your hometown looking like an escaped animal, a hick, or a combination of both.
11. Glaciers Are Awesome
Glaciers are rad and you're riding on one, often in the shadow of some staggering ceracs. Lying catatonic on Saas Fee's glacier trying to deal with a right bastard behind the eyes as a result of one flaming Sambuca too many, and watching a chunk cleave off is a fond memory of this old hack.
Careful of them crevasses though – I remember once one opened up in the Les 2 Alpes pipe back in the day – and for god's sake stay on the marked runs unless you really know where you're going. If you tootle off into the unknown some future culture will find you spat out the bottom of the glacier in 5000 years, and laugh at the fact you're dressed like a wizard.
[Below: Glaciers = Awesome. Antti Autti cranks a tail bone in front of Saas-Fee's ceracs. Photo: Matt Georges]