There is nothing quite like hitting the slopes and pulling off some gnarly flips, bro. Well, I guess. I’ve never actually gone snowboarding, but thanks to the magic of video games, I’ve been able to ride down some incredible mountains over the decades. From Heavy Shreddin’ on the NES to more recent games like Mark McMorris Infinite Air, gaming has a long and varied history with the winter sport. Not all of the games are great, but there are plenty that are worth your time. Without further adieu, let us take a trip down memory lane and check out the 10 best snowboarding games ever made.
10 Best Snowboarding Games: SSX 3
Electronic Arts’ beloved SSX series is the best example of how great snowboarding games can be, and SSX 3 is arguably the peak [Editor’s note: Is this a mountain pun? – Michael Leri]. Featuring a huge mountain, a completely fleshed out trick system, and a great world to explore, this 2003 release received universal acclaim upon release. Whether players were racing or trying to set a high score by busting out some grabs, players had a blast the entire time as DJ Atomika kept the great tunes playing on EA Radio Big.
10 Best Snowboarding Games: Amped 3
Indie Built’s Amped series played things relatively straight in its original Xbox installments, but they went completely off the rails (in the best way possible) for Amped 3. Not only did the series go more into arcade territory from a gameplay perspective, but it features some of the most insane cutscenes in any game period, let alone a snowboarding title. The story features a zeppelin owning villain named Baron von Havoc, a musical number, an even corporation called Colontronic Arts, and so much more. It was divisive upon release, but I view it as one of the first games to really nail “internet humor.”
10 Best Snowboarding Games: 1080° Snowboarding
Nintendo’s venture into snowboarding was an incredible one. Released in 1998, 1080° Snowboarding was a technical delight at the time. The snow effects were unprecedented, and its fast-paced gameplay was a joy to experience. It was very much a racing game, and there were three different modes to compete in.
10 Best Snowboarding Games: Steep
Ubisoft’s recent foray into extreme sports was a solid one, even if never reached its full potential. Steep is a gorgeous look at a more realistic snowboarding experience, and getting to ride the Alps and Denali is a true treat. The Olympics add-on, which was released in 2017, is also very cool as most Olympic games have been rather middling.
10 Best Snowboarding Games: Shaun Palmer’s Pro Snowboarder
Back when Activision was trying to oversaturate the extreme sports market, it wound up creating Shaun Palmer’s Pro Snowboarder. While neither the PlayStation 2 or Game Boy Advance versions aren’t anything all that special—it was just a reskinned and lesser Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater after all—it’s still a very fun formula. It received a lackluster reception upon release due to how many extreme sports titles there were, but in retrospect, it’s an enjoyable shift from the likes of SSX, even if that is the better series.
10 Best Snowboarding Games: Dark Summit
Most snowboarding games are about racing downhill or doing tricks. Dark Summit on the other hand is an espionage-filled action game that has the main character snowboarding. It’s completely ridiculous, and easily one of the most unique games to ever grace the genre. It’s not super polished, but the premise & wacky story are well worth the ride.
10 Best Snowboarding Games: SSX Tricky
It’s tricky! While it’s more of an expansion than a sequel, SSX Tricky was a fantastic follow-up to the original. It took the trick system to new heights, while also bringing its style to another level. SSX 3 might be far more impressive in terms of size and scope, but few games can beat Tricky in terms of pure fun. There’s never a dull moment here.
10 Best Snowboarding Games: Snowboard Kids 2
Snowboard Kids is practically Mario Kart but with snowboards. The N64 cult classic also features a surprisingly fun story mode, and plenty of neat unlockables for fans to dig into. It’s not the finest arcade racing game, but there’s enough retro fun to make it a worthy of an afternoon or two.
10 Best Snowboarding Games: 1080° Avalanche
While Nintendo’s follow-up to 1080° Snowboarding didn’t receive the same critical acclaim, it’s still a solid game. The issue with 1080° Avalanche is that SSX had raised the bar in terms of style and tricks. While the GameCube exclusive can’t quite match it, it does feature some very satisfying racing and a great sense of speed. It might not be the full package, but it’s still worth checking out if you prefer racing over doing tricks.
10 Best Snowboarding Games: SSX (2012)
Electronic Arts’ reboot of SSX had its fair share of problems, and never truly captured the style of the original series, but it’s still one of the best snowboarding games in the era. The trick system is very much intact, and players can still have a blast busting out Über tricks and unlimited boosts while in the new Super Tricky mode. It’s a shame EA didn’t make another one.