Sandboard Pats New

Sandboarding

March 21, 2017 by Tristan Burnham - No Comments

Sandboarding was one of the crazy things I saw in the 90’s and always wanted to do. I can’t remember the first time I saw it, but it’s been one of those random life goals, bucket list kind of things. It seemed like some crazy X-games sport where you have to pound 5 red bulls before you go huck yourself. It also always seemed so far out of reach, like I’d have to go to the Sarahah Desert and ride a camel instead of a chairlift or go to the Middle East and fight off terrorists just to make some turns, or go to the beach on a baby hill and look like a kook in front of all the surfers. But it’s way easier than that; Death Valley National Park in California has the perfect dunes to shred.

Before you plan a trip theres a few things to know before you go. First, bring an old board or skis, the sand doesn’t really mess up your base or edges, but it can mess up your bindings. Also bring old boots too because it took me a long time to get the sand out of my boots. Don’t bring skins or snowshoes or your avy beacon, but trekking poles will help. Don’t bring an old skateboard deck, it’s way too short to use and you’ll just get frustrated. It’s also way easier to hike up in socks or barefoot than in your boots, so a nice backcountry backpack will be helpful. We hiked up in shorts, but be sure to bring extra layers because temps drop fast once the sun hides behind the mountains. If you plan to ride the big Eureka Dunes, they are off limits and the park can confiscate your gear (just one more reason to bring old gear).

A few more tips, start small and get a feel for the sand, it feels like wet powder. Keep your weight on your back foot and point it to build up enough speed to make some turns. For skiers, you’re gonna be a little bit more in the backseat, if you’re too far forward you’re going over the bars. It can be a little sticky and slow so you have to find the steepest lines you can. When dropping in, make sure you do a slow roll or scoot in and don’t just jump right into the slope. Also, like most extreme sports, speed is your friend.

There are several dunes in Death Valley, but the only one that is legal to ski or board down are the Mesquite Flat Dunes. The Mesquite Flat Dunes are more centrally located in the park and don’t require any 4×4 driving like a lot of the other hot spots in the park. Check out the map below:
DV Map 1

To get to the dunes, head towards Stovepipe Wells. If you’re coming from Lone Pine off Hwy 395 they are about an hour and a half away along the 190. Go 1 mile past the Stovepipe Wells gas station and store and park in the lot on the left. If you’re coming from the other side of the park, the dunes are about 30 minutes West from Furnace Creek, about a mile before Stovepipe Wells, you’ll park on the right side. From the parking lot it will be obvious where to head next…
DV Map 2

Once you’re at the dunes, prepare to get rad!
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Hike up…
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Pick your line…
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and send it…
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Skiing the dunes is also really fun
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Make sure you don’t pizza when you’re supposed to french fry…
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Keep earning your turns for those hot laps
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If you are more athletic than extreme then cross country sand skiing might be calling your name
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Make sure you refuel with a Pat’s in between laps
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Can’t make it Death Valley? Here’s a list of some other sand dunes to explore and ride:
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Alaska –
Kobuk Sand Dunes in Ambler, AK

Arizona –
Parker Sand Dunes in Parker, AZ
Yuma Sand Dunes in Yuma, AZ

California –
Gordon’s Well Sand Dunes in Glamis, CA
Imperial Sand Dunes in Glamis, CA
Kelso Sand Dunes in Barstow/Baker, CA
Pismo Beach Sand Dunes in Pismo/San Luis Obispo, CA
Point Dume Sand Dune in Malibu, CA

Colorado –
Great Sand Dunes National Park in Alamosa/Duncan, CO

Idaho –
Bruneau Sand Dunes in Mountain Home, ID
St. Anthony Sand Dunes in Rexburg, ID

Massachusetts –
Cape Cod Sand Dunes in Cape Cop, MA

Nevada –
Sand Mountain in Fallon, NV

New Mexico –
White Sands National Monument in Alamogordo, NM

Oregon –
Cape Kiwanda Dune in Pacific City, OR
Horsfall Campground in North Bend, OR
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area in Gardiner, OR
Sand Master Park (A full on sandboarding park with jumps and rails) – Florence, OR

Utah –
Coral Pink Sand Dunes in Kanab, UT
Little Sahara Sand Dunes in Jericho, UT

Wyoming –
Killpecker Sand Dunes – Rock Springs, WY

Morocco –
Merzouga Sand Dunes in the Sahara Desert
(My brother Jon riding the dunes on an adventure travel trip to Morocco)
Jon Burnham Morocco

The author – Tristan Burnham ready to rip the dunes!
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Be sure to check out our backcountry beer selection on our website and stock up for your next adventure!
Pats Beer Types
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