Snowboarding Bucket List: The California Double

Everyone has things they want to do before they die – a list of goals that they desire, nay, are meant to achieve. Snowboarders are no different. In fact, this may apply even more to boarders where goal-orientated activities are just par for the course, getting more pop off the next jump, landing a difficult trick you’ve been practicing or being the first one down the slope on fresh powder… The list goes on.

Top of that list, or damn near close for most boarders, is surfing and snowboarding all in the same day: the Californian Double. Due to the proximity of the ocean to the mountains along the west coast of America, and the ability for anyone willing and able to take in both sea and snow activities in a single day, the pairing was once coined the “California Double”.



Santa Monica Sunset
Santa Monica Sunset – Credit:



There are many places in SoCal where this feat can be accomplished; surfing the beach break at Huntington Beach then four wheel driving up Big Bear Mountain, braving the sizeable swells of San Clemente and then driving to Mount Baldy, or hanging with the tourists at Santa Monica then tackling the twin peaks of Mountain High – the avid California Double seeker has a surfeit of options (see what I did there?)


Big Bear Mountain
Big Bear Mountain -Credit:





Kukio Beach with snow-capped Mauna Kea Mtn. Big Island
Kukio Beach with snow-capped Mauna Kea Mtn. Big Island – Credit: Hawaii Top Ten



This isn’t to say that California is the only place where this task can be completed. Travel a few thousand kilometres west to Hawaii, the only place in the world to house every microclimate on the planet. It has two boardable mountains: Mauna Loa and Kea, both located on the Big Island. The ease of access to these slopes means you could probably do ‘the double’ in reverse, that is, starting with snow in the morning and ending at the beach in the afternoon.



Observatory on the top of Mauna Kea
Observatory on the top of Mauna Kea – Credit: X Games





A little further west and you’ll hit Japan. It’s northernmost island Hokkaido has some of the freshest powder in the world. Some spots on the island allow you to snowboard right to the water, making ‘the double’ all too easy, the caveat here is you’ll have to trek to find the experience as there’s no resorts in these areas, and the surfing is a little lacklustre.



Hokkaido snow meets surf
Hokkaido snow meets surf – Credit: Lightfoot Travel



New Zealand


Never to be outdone in the sphere of thrill-seeking, New Zealand has the perfect infrastructure set up for the down under double. The most obvious place to start would be Queenstown, an adrenaline junkies Mecca, although there are a few other choice spots in the countries’ two islands. Manganui on the North Island is well known for its prime surf spots, but few are aware that close by Mt Egmont awaits, it isn’t the largest resort with just three ski tows, but for all intents and purposes it fits the bill. If you want to stay in the South Island though Big Bay is a UNESCO world heritage site that houses an epic surf break, the nearby slopes of Mount Aspiring National Park will allow you to complete your goal.



Queenstown great for snow and surf
Queenstown great for snow and surf – Credit:





Chile is a long narrow country with mountains on one side and coast on the other. As such, Chile has some of the best snowboarding in the world and some of the best surfing in the word, and it doesn’t have a whole lot of room to spread out. The coastal roads aren’t always fantastic, so it may be a bit more of a mission to accomplish the double-shred in the same calendar day. However, it is most definitely possible, and the conditions for both pursuits may very well be world class. For those of you searching to do the double in more unconventional locations there are tours out of Chile run by Evolve Chile that coach you through every step of the journey. Being the only tour operator in the area to run this service, the appeal is that all the planning is taken care of and you can just enjoy yourself.



Coaches at evolve Chile
Coaches at evolve Chile – Credit: Coaches at Evolve Chile, for the double





Morocco is admittedly a little left field and yet still boasts not only a beautiful surfers paradise in the resort of Taghazoute, but also the highest ski resort in Africa: Oukaimden. The slopes of Oukaimden Valley are  a five-hour drive away from the beach. The trip departs at 10am, leaving plenty of afternoon to hit the slopes. After an overnight stay, you’ll have the morning for boarding before heading back to the beach for an early evening surf.



Taghazoute surf
Taghazoute surf, five hours from fresh pow –



We all have a bucket list, and while some of the things on the least may be more impossible than others, there is still opportunities for those of the goal orientated type. Want to achieve the California (or any other area) Double? We got you covered.



Surfer in snow
Surfer in Snow – Credit: outside online




For more great snowboard bucket list ideas click here


  • Xavi

    France, you ignorant! (Biarritz and Pyrénées). Works also for spain

    • Lol, There are many places in the world which it can be done, but thanks for your comment. Due to the popularity of this article we will be bringing out a part 2 with more great Californian Double locations(yes, France and Spain too). Coming soon….

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