Park And Ride
Bear Mountain, California
The mountain is the park—the park is the mountain.
It should come as no surprise that the mountain that started the first-ever snowboard park—The Outlaw Park, in the winter of ’89—would still be revolutionizing park design in ’04. Last season, after Snow Summit dug up some pocket change and bought Bear Mountain, Bear conceived and executed the first-ever all-mountain terrain park. According to Communications Supervisor Brad Farmer, “Before you even get on a lift you’re entering The Park, because the entire mountain is the designated terrain park.” Around every corner, along the sides of the runs, and right down the middle are rhythm sections, tabletops of every size, hips, boxes, and rails. The features are placed around the mountain with a lot of thought. Really advanced stuff is put in specific sections. You’ll know it when you see it because it looks really intimidating.
While a mix of terrain can be found everywhere, the more advanced features are found on the lower slopes in the Gold Rush Park. The top to bottom Claim Jumper Park sprawls across the entire slope, making it one of the most feature-filled spots on the mountain. Park Designer Chris Gunnarsen says, “By creating an all-mountain terrain park, there’s so much more creative freedom than a traditional park.” This is especially true in jump placement—unique features like the hips and step-downs are built right into the natural terrain of the mountain.
Bear employs two full crews—a development and a maintenance crew—to maintain the mountain of features including the Vans Superpipe(the only Superpipe in Southern California) and a 400-foot-long regular pipe. The 580-foot-long Superpipe is firmly planted on top of Ego Alley, rocking tunes through the booming sound system all day long. Janna Meyen showed up at the Vans Triple Crown at Bear last season, placing first in the slopestyle. “I always have a good time when I go to Bear, they do a good job of maintaining their jumps, inventing new rails and keeping it fun,” she says.
At the base area, The Park overflows into The Scene, a hike-able area with all the newest jibs, located in full view of the sundeck. Bear is unique in that it leaves terrain features from all its events like the Vans Triple Crown up and open to the public. That means you can try Shaun White and Janna Meyen’s winning slopestyle runs on your next visit. Good luck.—Annie Fast
Jib features: 57
Regular pipe: 1
Park events: Vans North American Snowboarding Championships, TransWorld SNOWboarding Trans-Am, Nixon JibFest, Forum Youngblood Series
Web site: bearmtn.com