It's time to start planning your winter vacation, and in addition to considering all of the usual details like where snow is forecast to fall and special deals at resorts, we suggest factoring in the opportunity to see a live competition. Curbed Ski has rounded up eight of the most exciting comps of the season — everything from freestyle snowboarding and skiing to downhill racing along with a couple unexpected opportunities. Check out our list and picture yourself cheering on the side of the halfpipe or the bottom of the downhill race during your next winter vacation.
↑ FIS Ski World Cup
Where: Aspen and Beaver Creek, Colorado
When: Nov. 28 and 29 and Dec. 4 to 6
The FIS World Cup tour will include two stops in the U.S. for the 2015/16 season. The first stop is in Aspen over Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 28 and 29, featuring premier women racers (think Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso) competing in giant slalom and slalom. Beaver Creek will then be hosting the men's events Dec. 4 and 6, with the Birds Of Prey race week featuring men's downhill, super G and giant slalom. These events will be your only chances to see the best ski racers competing at the highest level in the U.S. this season. (Heads up: Aspen will be the site for the World Cup finals in March 2017. It's never too early to start planning.)
↑ USANA International Crosscup
Where: Squaw Valley, California
When: March 10 to 13
There are few spectator sports more exciting than skicross and boardercross; picture five athletes speeding down a course filled with berms, jumps and gaps in a race to cross the finish line first. There's skill, drama, and yes, plenty of carnage.
↑ FIS Freestyle World Cup
Where: Lake Placid, New York and Deer Valley, Utah
When: Jan. 14 to 16 and Feb. 4 to 6
See top athletes at their peak performance competing in ski aerials and moguls. Lake Placid, New York will be the first host Jan. 14 to 16 for the Lake Placid Freestyle Cup, followed by the Deer Valley Freestyle International at Deer Valley, Utah from Feb. 4 to 6, which runs on the same course as the 2002 Winter Olympics. Finals at Deer Valley take place in the evening, making for an exciting night event.
↑ X Games Aspen 2016
Where: Aspen, Colorado
When: Jan. 28 to 31
X Games is celebrating its 15th year in Aspen with another exciting competition slate at Buttermilk Mountain. Aspen is transformed with the influx thousands of fans and over 200 action sports athletes competing for medals in events ranging from snowboard and ski halfpipe to snowmobile snocross. The weekend also includes major live music acts.
↑ Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships
Where: Vail, Colorado
When: Feb. 29 to March 5
The Burton US Open returns to Vail in February with the biggest snowboard competition of the season, featuring all the top names in Superpipe and slopestyle riding. The long weekend includes exciting competition on-hill and fun events in Vail Village, including live music, learn to ride classes, free demos and parties.
↑ Grand Prix Series
Where and When: Copper Mountain, Colorado: Dec. 1 to 6;
Mammoth Mountain, California: Feb. 2 to 7; Park City, Utah: Feb. 23 to March 1
The Grand Prix ski and snowboard freestyle series features three main competitions throughout the winter in halfpipe and slopestyle. Expect to see U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association team members competing alongside up-and-coming athletes.
↑ World Ski Joring Championships
Where: Whitefish, Montana
When: Feb. 5 to 7
Almost anyone can race down a mountain with gravity on their side, but it takes a special kind of skier to race through a course while being pulled by a horse. You'll see the best of the best at the annual Ski Joring Championships in Whitefish.
↑ Red Bull Frozen Rush
Where: Sunday River, Maine
When: Jan. 8
Red Bull puts a new twist on snow sports by bringing the world's only head-to-head, on-snow truck race to Sunday River. Drivers will race on a custom-designed course in 900-horsepower trucks navigating berms, jumps,and gaps. This is definitely an event like you've never seen before.
· The 38 Essential Ski Town Hotels, July 2015 [Curbed Ski]
· Mapping the 25 Best Après-Ski Spots in North America [Curbed Ski]