Do you love adventure but hate the cold? Or are you sick of crowds at your favorite ski resort? Either way, there's an alternative for adrenaline junkies in a surprising setting – just remember to bring your wax!
Here are a few quick tips for successfully sandboarding (or skiing) at Great Sand Dunes National Park:
- Bring a sandboard or sand sled. These are specifically designed for sand and will slide more quickly down the dunes.
- If you insist on attempting to ski or snowboard with gear made for snow, be sure to wax up ahead of time or you'll drag in the sand. No fun. And use old gear you don't plan on using for snow in the future.
- Start your descents from the first high ridge of dunes, where you'll have soft sand and a gentle runout to slow you down.
- Great Sand Dunes National Park does not rent gear for the dunes. Bring your own, or rent from Kristi Mountain Sports in Alamosa or from the Great Sand Dunes Oasis Store just outside the park entrance.
- Don't attempt to board or ski when the sand is frozen during the coldest times of year, as frozen sand can damage equipment.
- Pack light and bring plenty of water, as you'll have to hike at least a quarter mile through sand to get to the base of the dunes from the parking lot.
- Wear long pants to prevent sandburn should you take a tumble.
Have you been skiing somewhere unusual? Share your experiences in the comments below.