Park riding is all about creativity and self-expression, which means your park gear needs to reflect that. Here’s the gear that’ll help you flaunt what you’ve got.
Life is too short to sit around waiting for powder to fall from the sky. Sometimes you just need to ride what you’ve got—cruising manmade features that make the mountain feel like a skatepark. As with skateboarding, park riding is all about flow and style and self-expression, which adds a whole other dimension to the gear you ride—many prefer throwing down on boards that are easier to press, and softer boots and bindings for that loose, skate-like feel. So take a park tour this winter. Pick a region and hit all the spots you see in the videos and flaunt your own style along the way.
Snowboarders dominate California. From the Big Bear jib scene to the Mammoth super kickers to Boreal’s pipe, jump, and rail lines all hittable in one run, you’re not going to find heavier surf and skate influence anywhere on the planet. Freestyle was born here and the legacy and terrain have migrated up-and-coming pros westward since the ‘90s. Most of them never left.
Yeti Roadie 20 ($250)
Beers freeze in the snow, people jack them, and cars can run them over. The Roadie will keep 14 beers on ice super cold forever without sweating condensation all over your backseat. It’s full-on grizzly-bear proof, so don’t worry about damage when using it as a stepladder to your roof rack. A solid four-season investment.
Smokin Buck 2.0 ($530)
Mellow rocker between the feet with some camber outside keeps this deck playful and versatile in all freestyle terrain. A few extra layers of fiberglass beef up the flex for riders who want to send the big gaps at Northstar with a new cutout tip and tail that are perfect for locking in grabs.
Vans Hi-Standard ($180)
A classic never dies, but it does evolve, which is why the Hi-Standard has stayed in Vans’ lineup for 16 years with newer upgrades like the internal web harness to lock your ankle in place when you really need to press it out. Lightweight and super flexible, they’re not too bulky, yet still comfortable and secure.
Volcom Ventral Pant ($160)
Nothing says Big Bear like camo vibes and a big cargo pocket to stash your beanie under the bright Cali sun. Mesh-backed zipper vents let you air it out, and the Stone butt patch provides an extra landing strip when you wash out on that spin. Comes in XXL for those with big balls.
GoPro Hero4 Session ($399)
If you’re going to joust through the park with a selfie stick, you might as well have the 2.6-ounce camera that’s barely bigger than an ice cube. Its impressive battery life and one-button control also make it the easiest to operate, and you don’t have to worry about messing with spare cases—it’s all in there. Check out 1440p at 30fps in the palm of your hand.
We tested most of our park gear in Summit County last season, and it never got old. Four high-elevation resorts within a snowball’s throw of each other all offer world-class terrain parks for everyone from beginners to groms to pros. Hit Breckenridge, Copper, Arapahoe Basin, and Keystone all on a half tank of gas, and scoot north to Winter Park for one of the longest snow seasons around.
Never Summer Board Evo 4.0 ($510)
As the iconic Colorado board manufacturer, Never Summer keeps their traditional rocker/camber profile on the Evo 4.0 with a soft flex that’s ready to perform along the I-70 park circuit. The low-profile tip and tail let you spin with less worry about catching them, and the solid construction will take more beatings than any other board. Comes in a wide version, the Revolver 4.0.
Fix Truce ($180)
Wildly thin highbacks and leather straps give the Truce a sturdy fit that maintains response for all levels of park riders towing line through the jump lane. Simple, hardware-free straps and highbacks mean you don’t need to worry about carrying a tool around and falling on it. Color options are about as friendly as the price.
Under Armour ColdGear Infrared Agna ($250)
“The colder you are, the cooler you are” is a Summit County joke mocking kids in hoodies and no gloves riding in 25 degrees. For those who can’t get down with that, there’s UA’s Infrared interior print that’s supposed to hold onto body heat so the jacket warms up faster and stays toasty longer. Loose fitting with a pass pocket for big-boy hits like in Winter Park’s Dark Territory.
Jaybird X2 ($180)
With the X2, Jaybird upped their Bluetooth earbud game with deeper bass, improved battery life, louder colors, and more comfortable ear fins to lock them in place, no matter how many flips and spins you stick. They even come with extra foam tips and a sweat warranty. We sent all of our 2015/2016 Good Wood board testers home with a pair.
Mad Toto Alien Case 2.0 ($25)
Burton isn’t the only kid on the block with a 420 kit. This one has waterproof zippers, a cleaning tool, and two silicone stash jars to keep your flowers fresh. The hard fiber shell protects a glass pipe up to 3.5 inches, so you don’t have to worry about getting broke off on a rail and jabbing yourself with resin-stained glass shards.
Bone-chilling temps and crunchy morning corduroy epitomize the Midwest scene, along with a ton of rail features and a wealth of small terrain parks. Nowhere else will you find more rope tows, enabling significantly more laps with a strong translation to the streets. Tuck your skinny pants into your boots, don your steeziest headbag, and get out there in the cold to keep progressing the sport.
Interior Plain Project Harrow ($420)
As a small but strong Midwest brand, IPP gave the Harrow a minimalist camber, long effective edge, and mellow contact points that let the board be as good as the rider. Extra carbon stringers in the nose and tail add ollie and nollie power, and help load up an edge when you want to carve and slash without too much torsional snap.
Dakine Team Mission 25L ($80)
This ripstop nylon fabric is durable enough to be your everyday beater pack, hauling a snowboard and laptop alike. Sturdy hip and sternum straps complement fleece-lined goggle and sunglass pockets, while the Elias Elhardt colorway matches Dakine’s Team Baron Mitt.
DC Dealer ($140)
When we asked companies for skinny pants that tuck into snowboard boots, some thought that Midwest kids were just wearing girls’ pants. Luckily, we found these tailored chino-style pants with a zippered stash pocket, articulated knee panels, and thigh vents for when you need them. Adjustable waistband lets you layer up underneath.
DC Clout ($220)
What DC calls “athletic street styling” we call Midwest hunter’s steez with camo hits, raglan sleeves, and snap-closure cargo pockets. A three-way adjustable hood lets you go helmet or headbag, and the Lycra gaiters are clutch for keeping out the cold. Perfect for hunting rail spots and industrial jibs.
Switchback Halldor Pro Model ($280)
Bringing back the highback wings, Halldor Helgason’s Wrapbacks are supposed to offer more control and aid presses by giving you some calf-cupping leverage. Crank the response up or down with easily adjustable forward lean and tool-free straps that are designed to lock in some major hammers, along with extra cushy Jib Pads underfoot.
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