If you’re Swedish ex-pro skier Jon Olsson and you need a car to ferry you up to that warm ski lodge, all you do is mod up $100,000+ exotic car and you’re good to go.
But if you’re not as well-heeled there are still quite a number of fantastic, less expensive options for loading up your friends, gear and snowboard.
When an epic ski season is upon you, the right car to cart you up to that cozy ski resort depends on the type of ski adventure you want to have.
Today’s cars offer a wide variety of safety and driver-assistant features to help you travers snow and wintery conditions.
Here’s our list of the best cars for snowboarders.
1. Subaru Crosstrek
Drive train: all-wheel drive
Horsepower: 152 to 182 | four cylinder
MPG: between 27 city / 35 highway
Cargo Space: 20.8 cubic feet | 55.3 cu. ft. with seats down
Safety Features: Rearview Camera, Forward and Rear Collision Warning, Forward and Reverse Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane-Departure Warning, Lane-Keep Assist, Blind-Sport Monitoring, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control, Adaptive Headlights, Automatic High-Beam Headlights, Rear-Seat Alert
Perhaps no brand is better suited for a snowboarding trip to Lake Tahoe than Subaru.
Along with AWD, the 17-inch wheels help the Crosstrek gain enough ground clearance to make it through the snow with a composed ride feel.
It also comes with advanced driving modes to get you to your ski adventure safely.
You get a roof rack for your snowboards and behind the 60/40 split-folding rear seats there’s plenty of room for you and your passengers to dump your gear.
The interior has a durable feeling prioritizing materials that make it easy to clean up after snow covered boots.
This is among the most fuel-efficient vehicles you can choose for your next snowboarding trip.
2. Mazda 3 AWD
Drive train: all-wheel drive
Horsepower: 191 to 227 | four cylinder
MPG: 28 city / 37 highway
Cargo Space: 13.2 to 20.1 cu. ft. sedan | 13.2 to 47.1 cu. ft. hatchback
Safety Features: Rearview Camera, Automatic High-Beam Headlights, Driver-Attention Monitoring, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Automatic Braking, Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Lane-Departure Warning, Lane-Keep Assist, Rain-Sensing Wipers
It’s an economy car that aspires to deliver a premium car experience.
To get you plunging down the slopes of Mt. Hood Meadows, you can pick one up as either a sedan or hatchback.
Carbon Edition, Premium models and turbo versions come with AWD standard. However, AWD models only come with an automatic transmission.
Choosing the higher Preferred trim level gets you features like heated front seats and power-adjustable driver’s seat with memory settings standard.
This is the car to choose if you value a satisfying driving experience.
3. Volvo V90
Drive train: front-wheel drive T5 and AWD T6
Horsepower: 250 to 316 | four cylinder
MPG: between 22 city / 33 highway
Cargo Space: 19.8 cu. ft. | 69 cu. ft. with seats down
Safety Features: Rearview Camera, Front and Rear Parking Sensor, Blind Sport Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Warning, Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Forward Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Pilot Assist, Driver Drowsiness Alert, Road Sign Recognition, Automatic High-Beam Headlights
Now if you’re looking for a premium car to take snowboarding at Jackson Hole, not only is the V90 beautifully designed inside and out.
But it comes with a choice of powertrains that balance efficiency with power. The interior features a modern Scandinavian design with opulent details.
And the exterior features a long roof design that makes it practical for storing snow boards.
On your way up to the mountain lodge you and your passengers can jam out to tunes in sonic pleasure if you choose to upgrade to the Bowers & Wilkins stereo system.
4. BMW 5-Series
Drive train: rear-wheel drive | all-wheel drive optional
Horsepower: 181 to 335 | V6 & V8
MPG: between 25 city / 33 highway
Cargo Space: 10 cu. ft. | 14 cu. ft. with seats down
Safety Features: Rearview Camera, Front and Rear Parking Sensors, Forward Collision Warning, Pedestrian Detection, Forward Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Road Sign Recognition, Driver Drowsiness Monitoring, Adaptive Pivoting Headlights, Automatic High-Beam Headlights
I bet your surprised to see this one on the list.
But for $3000 more than the Volvo the 5 Series these days is more focused on your comfort than performance.
It’s an executive sedan that looks upscale enough to cruise into a posh resort like the Stein Erikson Lodge or The St. Regis Deer Valley in Park City, Utah.
Among the engine options are a turbocharged inline-six cylinder and twin-turbo V8.
There’s plenty of room for you and your passengers as you take in the scenery of the Wasatch mountains.
And it’s got plenty of luxury and technology features to help you waft down the road comfortably and effortlessly.
5. Porsche 911
Drive train: rear-wheel drive | all-wheel drive
Horsepower: 379 to 640 | V6
MPG: 18 city / 33 highway
Cargo Space: 4.6 cu. ft.
Safety Features: Forward Collision Warning, Forward Automatic Emergency Braking, Front and Rear Parking Sensors, Rearview Camera
If you have a flare for the sporty and you can afford to take a page out of Olsson’s book, the Porsche 911 has been a fixture at ski resort parking lots like Aspen for decades.
This rear-engine legend sticks to its roots with a set of twin-turbo flat-six engines. As this is a sports car, most models come with rear-wheel drive.
But there are all-wheel drive options which arguably will be a better weapon against the snow and sleet.
In the same line of thinking, all though you can get a 911 as a convertible or Targa body.
A coupe with a hard top is likely more practical for attaching a roof rack to hold your snowboard.
6. Ferrari GTC4 Lusso
Drive train: all-wheel drive / V8 & V12
MPG: 12 city / 17 highway
Cargo Space: 15.9 cubic feet
Safety Features: Backup Camera and Airbags
If you have more than one passenger and desire to be even more in keeping with the Jon Olsson philosophy when it comes to ski lodge coaches.
For twice as much as the Porsche, the GTC4 Lusso comes with four-wheel-drive, four seats and 680 horsepower.
2+2 seating means that you and your three friends can cruise up to Breckenridge in a powerful and luxurious grand touring car with a throaty 6.3-liter V12 engine that has the reputation of being just as gentile as it is brutish.
For $40,000 less, there’s the GT4 Lusso T which offers a smaller V8. But it only comes in rear-wheel drive. Otherwise, it’s identical to the V12 model.
7. MINI Countryman
Drive train: front-wheel drive | all-wheel drive options
Horsepower: 134 to 228 | three- and four-cylinder
MPG: between 23 city / 33 highway
Cargo Space: 17.2 cu. ft. | 47.4 cu. ft. with back seats down
Safety Features: Forward Collision Warning, Lane-Departure Warning, Rear Parking Sensors, Rearview Camera, Rain-Sensing Windshield Wipers
Recommending this car for much is challenging. But for a weekend of snowboarding fun, it works.
It’s plus-size for Mini proportions makes it more useful than any Mini Cooper for transporting you and your friends to Stowe Mountain Resort.
The larger size makes room for a bigger backseat than most Minis so you can invite more friends with more room for all your stuff.
Drive through the local mountain village with either a turbocharged three- or four-cylinder engine.
You can also choose between front- and all-wheel drive. While it is the most expensive option.
To ensure you have enough power to brave those mountain passes with authority with your friends, gear and snowboards in tow.
I would opt for the plugin hybrid model which is the most powerful non-JCW Countryman option available.
8. Dodge Charger SXT
Drive train: rear-wheel drive | all-wheel drive
Horsepower: 292 to 300 | V6 & V8
MPG: 18 city / 30 highway
Cargo Space: 16.5 cu. ft.
Safety Features: Rearview Camera and Rear Parking Sensors
I know right?
We’re also surprised to see a car like the Charger better known for its muscle car prowess than its ability to dance on snow and ice on a list like this.
But if you opt for the less powerful six-cylinder SXT variant with AWD. Then you’ve got yourself a muscular car capable of holding its own in the snow.
Underneath all the bravado is a mid-size sedan with all the amenities to cart you and your passengers to Telluride in safety with plenty of nostalgic character.
Like the Subaru Crosstrek, the interior is simplistic and functional with excellent rear seat legroom and a big trunk for all your gear.
9. Nissan Altima AWD
Drive train: front-wheel drive | AWD
Horsepower: 182, 188 and 248 | four-cylinder
MPG: between 25 city / 35 highway
Cargo Space: 15.9 cu. ft. | 58.8 cu. ft. with the seats down
Safety Features: Rearview Camera, Forward Collision Warning, Forward Automatic Emergency Braking, Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Driver Drowsiness Monitoring, Automatic High-Beam Headlights
I’ve had the opportunity to drive this car recently on vacation with my wife.
Trust me, it’s capable of traversing snowy conditions.
It has a spacious interior to take your family comfortably to Jackson Hole.
You can choose from a 182-horsepower engine or a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine making 248 horsepower.
All-wheel drive only comes with the 2.5-liter engine (this is the one I drove). And with the all-wheel drive the car feels surefooted giving you confidence behind the wheel.
Any model you choose comes with a CVT to improve fuel economy.
We placed this car last because even with the all-wheel drive and almost 250 horsepower, this is the least fun car to drive on the list.