It’s currently springtime here in Colorado, and I am enjoying the end of what has been another crazy winter season. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Senna Leith, and I am a professional snowboarder on the US Snowboard Team. I race Snowboard-Cross on the World Cup tour, and I just wrapped up my 5th season competing on the World Cup level. My sport takes me all over the world for competitions and training camps, and this year provided some of our craziest travels yet – flying back and forth from China, all around Europe, to Eastern Russia, and everywhere in between. As an athlete representative for CoTZ Skincare, I thought I would share a few of my favorite places to snowboard for those of you that are passionate about skiing or snowboarding. These are all incredible destinations in the summer as well if you’re looking to hike or mountain bike or just grab some great food and sightsee!
Zermatt, Switzerland — without a doubt one of my favorite places in the world, and right up there with the most beautiful. Zermatt is situated on the Swiss side of the Matterhorn. Sitting underneath one of the world’s most iconic mountains, this little Swiss paradise is home to some incredible terrain for skiing/snowboarding, as well as a town that checks every box when it comes to iconic Swiss villages. In the Fall, we usually have training camps at nearby Saas Fee, which is a glacier one valley over from Zermatt. During our training camps, we frequently hop over to Zermatt for lunches, hikes, mountain biking, and the occasional fondue. In the winter we have World Cup races in Cervinia, which is on the Italian side of the Matterhorn. You can actually ride from Cervinia to Zermatt and back, crossing the Italian/Swiss border on skis/snowboards. We made that journey this year and it was for sure one of the most beautiful days I have ever had on a snowboard, and that is saying something! Imagine cruising down the long, rolling runs into Zermatt with the Matterhorn towering over you and the picture-perfect blue skies above. You then weave through the lower runs of Zermatt, past all sorts of cute chalets and apres party bars. One of the highlights of that day was eating the best lasagna I have ever had in my life at this tiny mountain hut on the border heading back into Italy. This delicious meal was the cherry on top for one of the best days I have ever had on tour. I love the Italian side of the Matterhorn as well, but the Swiss side over in Zermatt holds a very special place in my heart. Whether it is the perfect slopes, or the Swiss culture in the town, Zermatt really does it for me. Finishing a day of snowboarding with some delicious fondue, and chocolate truffles from Laderach – my favorite Swiss chocolatier - is pretty hard to beat!
Baqueira Beret, Spain — while Baqueira Beret isn’t as well known and iconic as Zermatt, I love it just as much. The actual terrain in Baqueira Beret is some of the best in the world, and they host some of the top international freeriding competitions on their slopes. Like most resorts in Europe, there aren’t clear boundary lines like there are here in the states, and it is easy to get into some serious exposure and technical terrain. Baqueira Beret is actually where I had my first World Cup start years ago and is a place I always look forward to going back to. The resort itself is massive and provides a variety of different terrain. When it comes to riding, I have really only scratched the surface of Baqueira Beret – that is how big it is! They host a great World Cup, but the culture in Spain is what I really love. There is a lot of passion amongst the Spanish community, and I believe the food in Spain is some of the best in Europe - on par with Italy. Immediately after our days on the hill in Baqueira Beret, we enjoy some the best Tapas you could ever imagine down in the valley where the main town is. Imagine eating all your favorite Spanish tapas, the best olives you’ve ever had, and a glass of some local wine – all while looking out over the snow-capped peaks you’re surrounded by. It’s easy to understand why I love this destination so much!
Vail, Colorado — as a final place I’ll share about today, I must admit that I am a little biased… because Vail is where I am fortunate to call home. Even though it is home, Vail is without a doubt my favorite place to snowboard in the world. There isn’t a single trip that I come home from where I am not excited about getting back on the slopes at Vail Mountain. The amount of terrain, and the setting in the Colorado Rockies is pretty iconic. Vail has everything from mellow groomers, flowing tree runs, little side hits and jumps all over the place to steep exposed terrain, as well as some easily accessible backcountry. The riding options here at home in Colorado are top-shelf, but it is also the community aspect in the town of Vail that seals the deal for me. Lots of mountain towns have a great scene off of the hill, but the incredible restaurants, coffee shops, and various activities within Vail are just as good as the days on the slopes. As a domestic resort, Vail definitely holds the top destination spot in my eyes!
The list of beautiful winter destinations for skiing/snowboarding is endless, and these are just a couple of my favorites. Not everywhere I travel for competitions is as glamourous as these either… For example, this year we had World Cup races in Krasnoyarsk, Russia which is in the far east, Siberian region of Russia. It was brutally cold each day, and we had to wear athletic tape on our faces to avoid frostbite. The hill we competed on was only a few hundred feet tall, and the only worthy slope for miles. Although I will say, the food scene in that far reach of Siberia was amazing!
Overall, I get to travel to a lot of beautiful locations for my sport. I am very fortunate to soak up the alpine sunshine on almost every continent, while of course using my favorite CōTZ sunscreen – Face Prime and Protect. My CōTZ goes everywhere with me – from Argentina, to China, to Sweden, to Canada, and all the way back home to Colorado. The alpine environments can be extremely harsh, and it’s very important to always make sure you’re protecting your skin. Snow can work similar to a reflective magnifying glass for the sun’s harmful rays, so it’s very important to be using a clean and healthy mineral sunscreen. With the shape of the CōTZ Face Prime and Protect tube, it is easy to toss into whatever jacket I am wearing on any given day during my travels. This way I am always prepared, and trust CōTZ to protect my skin no matter where I’m at in the world – on and off the slopes.