The Adrenalist

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Sandboarding in the Great Dunes



The Great Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado features the largest sand dunes in North America. Located about 100 miles southwest of Colorado Springs in the San Luis Valley, the dunes can reach up to 750 feet from the western base of the Sangre de Cristo Range floor, and stretch some 19,000 acres. It’s quite a bit of sand, and it’s ideal for some sandboarding. You could travel to Chile, in Death Valley, or Namibia, but if you want to stay in the continental United States, the Great Dunes National Park is the way to go. There are, however, a few key elements to keep in mind before strapping a board on your back and climbing up a dune.

First, be leery of boarding during the day. The shimmering sand can reach upwards of 140 degrees farenheit in the summer, and baking in the sun all day, is not recommended. Also, if you’re climbing barefoot, you’re going to want to avoid mid-day if you want to save your feet that sort of punishment. So, near sunset or sunrise is usually the way to go, but there’s also something appealing about a twilight ride. There are even some that sandboard by the light of the moon, or bring flashlights to provide a spooky descent.

Next, remember the sand can be very fine, which makes climbing somewhat arduous. Any fit hiker should have no trouble.

Lastly, remember to have some fun and let loose. The sand can buffer most falls, and the some hills are steep enough to catch nice speed. Turning isn’t really an issue as a lot of the inclined dunes are good for a 30-second journey, but not much longer. Head straight down and stay low to gain maximum speed; It’s sandboarding the Adrenalist way.

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