Best Place to Learn Snowboarding: Friendliest place to do faceplants ten times in an hour
Badger Pass Ski Area
If you want to learn the fine art of surfing snow but don't want to contend with crowded slopes and chintzy motels, Badger Pass in Yosemite National Park will prove an unforgettable experience. Opened in 1935, with old-timey photos dotting the walls of the splendid lodge and a huge sundeck for lounging and checking out other people's technique, this place is stress-free and low-key with some of the finest scenery in the Sierra Nevada range. There are only five lifts and ten ski runs, which means the lightning-fast shredders stay away, leaving the slopes free for first-timers or those brushing up on tricky moves. Ponytailed snowboarding teachers come back year after year, snubbing gigs in some of the best-known resorts in the States, drawn by the homey family feel. Ranger-led snowshoe walks, 350 miles of cross-country ski trails, and snow tubing are also available. There is free shuttle service to the valley where visitors can enjoy a warmer climate, a host of lodging options, and ice skating beneath the moonlit expanse of Half Dome.