The Best Parks, Pipes, And Resorts In North America

At the end of every season, TransWorld sends out an invitation to our subscribers to vote on the three best resorts they visited last season in a secure online poll. Readers are asked to vote on 22 criteria-everything from the variety of jumps in the park and the quality and maintenance of the pipe to basics like whether or not a resort is affordable for us riders to visit. We take your 1,000-plus votes and start crunching numbers. And that’s when things get exciting. Which resorts stepped it up and wowed riders with perfect pipes, all-time parks, or just an effing awesome overall resort experience? It’s exciting to see who ranked where, but really the purpose of all this is to inform you which resorts are worth your vacation time and hard-earned money. We skip the hype and marketing and go straight to the source-our fellow riders. Start planning your winter vacation now (with confidence)! -Annie Fast


Best Park. Park City, Utah
Holding It Down At The Top

Things are getting official here, Park City has owned the first place title for four years in a row-and the resort isn’t just sleeping on it either. Park City took some chances and mixed things up this winter, and riders loved it. The placement of the parks on the mountain changed up: the Superpark complete with mega-kickers and gaps moved up the hill to Jonesy’s run (with some medium features following it on the lower half), the intermediate park moved front and center taking up the length of King’s Crown, and the beginner park found a new home by the Superpipe on Pick ‘N’ Shovel.

Director Of Action Sports Marketing Jim Mangan said his goal in moving things around was to make sure there are features for everybody everywhere. He says, “So whether they’re on the upper part or lower part of the mountains they can still have fun.”

The new intermediate park on King’s Crown is where the majority of riders including the pros like MFM, Stevie Bell, Aaron Biittner, and Drew Fuller ride. Drew agreed that this was the hot spot, he says, “The rhythm of the top four jumps was perfect-then you got to chill out and hit a couple jibs, then there was a big jump at the bottom, not put your helmet on big, but fun.” The quality of the park was in large part thanks to the sixteen-man park crew constantly grooming and shaping the jumps and rails-the perfect steepness and width of the run, and the high-speed six-pack shuttling riders back up put it over the top. Mangan says to expect more progression this winter including new showcase features with a skate influence, also to look for more features spread out all over the mountain including jibs near the mine building and a tree jib line on the backside of the mountain, which you’ll have to sniff out on your own.

Park City keeps everyone coming back with a fresh updated park, meticulous grooming, and total dedication to making the best park in North America.

Completing the top three slots is Whistler’s Nintendo Superpark, which blasted up from fifth place to second bumping Mammoth’s pro-filled Unbound Park down a notch to third. Both are super established as pro-caliber àƒ…ber-parks definitely worth a visit … or a season-long vacation.

2008 Top Ten Parks
1. Park City, Utah
2. Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C. Canada
3. Mammoth Mountain, California
4. Breckenridge, Colorado
5. Keystone, Colorado
6. Northstar-at-Tahoe, California
7. Winter Park, Colorado
8. Copper Mountain, Colorado
9. Vail, Colorado
10. Bear Mountain, California


Best Pipe. Breckenridge, Colorado
The Smoothest Transitions All Season Long

This is a category that takes dedication to win three years in a row-dedication to buying the best equipment, to committing the snowmaking, and daily shaping and grooming throughout the winter. There’s artistry involved, too, and Breckenridge has found their man in pipe shaper Nick Symon. Nick expertly shap eighteen-foot walls and seventeen-foot transitions into the Freeway Superpipe, which keep riders blasting out and re-entering smoothly. Nick’s expertise were enlisted to groom the pipe at Snow Park, New Zealand this summer-he’s only getting more legit. Freeway is also often the first pipe in North America to open each season thanks to extensive snowmaking operations and Breckenridge’s high elevation. Breck starts the season off with a bang, hosting the Chevrolet Grand Prix Superpipe contest (December 14-15, 2007). It’s also home to two of the world’s best pipe riders, Steve Fisher and Chad Otterstrom. Chad says, “The pipe at Breck is the best ever-it’s mostly sunny all winter long and they groom the pipe every night. So if ya want to ride a good halfpipe all winter long, Brecks the place.”

Our readers visited Breckenridge throughout the winter, and agreed with Chad that the pipe is epic-not just during the Grand Prix, but throughout the season. There’s more to Breck’s ranking than just the showcase Freeway Superpipe-three more pipes to be exact, the Gold King Pipe is Breck’s medium pipe on Peak 9-perfect for learning new tricks. The other two small pipes are on Peak 8 on Trygves Run and on Eldorado-the spots for mastering the basics.

Second-place Mammoth and third-place Park City also held solid in their placement for a third year in a row. There’s no doubt that the Mammoth Unbound Superpipe (and 22-foot SuperDuper pipe) as well as the Park City’s 22-foot transitions in the Eagle SuperDuper pipe (Shaun White’s training ground) will live up to your SuperDuper expectations.


2008 Top Ten Pipes
1. Breckenridge, Colorado
2. Mammoth Mountain, California
3. Park City, Utah
4. Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C. Canada
5. Northstar-at-Tahoe, California
6. Copper Mountain, Colorado
7. Winter Park, Colorado
8. Vail, Colorado
9. Mt. Hood Meadows, Oregon
10. Keystone, Colorado


Best Overall Resort. Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C., Canada
It’s Only Getting Bigger And Better

Last year’s victor wins again. Actually, with the exception of one second-place standing, Whistler has owned the Overall category for the last eight years. This category is about discovering which resorts offer the complete vacation experience on and off the slopes. To find the rankings, we step back and ask readers to rate their experience at the resort from the lodging, on-mountain food, lifts, terrain variety and challenge, the vibe, the nightlife, and the snow quality. The averages are combined with rankings from the park and pipe scores and an overall impression score-and the winners are revealed.

Whistler’s place at the top should come as no surprise. Where to start? The combined mountains of Blackcomb and Whistler top the charts with over 8,171 acres of rideable terrain from steeps, trees, cliffs, groomers; add to that the top-three ranking parks and Superpipes. Last season was also the second snowiest year on record, with a total snowfall of 46.5 feet! Off-hill is the same story-the Whistler Village is a model that has been copied at resorts around North America-but never truly replicated. The bustling village is filled with 93 bars and restaurants-from top-notch sushi to inexpensive burgers, from tabletop dancing apràƒ¤s afternoons to dance floors jamming with international DJs. The village features lodging for every budget from slopeside condos, to affordable hostels, to the luxury of the Four Seasons Resort. Whistler is only looking to maintain its top spot with recent improvements in anticipation of the 2010 Olympics, including widening the Sea To Sky highway to Vancouver and numerous resort improvements most notably the new Peak To Peak Gondola, which in addition to uniting Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, will also be a major attraction in its own right spanning just under three miles and dangling a precarious 1,361 feet high.

The top three slots in the Overall category are rounded out by Park City, Utah and Mammoth Mountain, California. Both resorts share the magic ingredients for the complete resort experience from the lively walking streets of Park City to the exciting nightlife in the Mammoth village; plenty of epic riding, easy mountain access, sunshine, parks, pipes, and good times. Looks like it’s decision time-where’s the big vacation going to be this year?

2008 Top Ten Overall Resorts
1. Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C. Canada
2. Park City, Utah
3. Mammoth Mountain, California
4. Breckenridge, Colorado
5. Northstar-at-Tahoe, California
6. Vail, Colorado
7. Winter Park, Colorado
8. Keystone, Colorado
9. Copper Mountain, Colorado
10. Beaver Creek, Colorado




Utah and Mammoth Mountain, California. Both resorts share the magic ingredients for the complete resort experience from the lively walking streets of Park City to the exciting nightlife in the Mammoth village; plenty of epic riding, easy mountain access, sunshine, parks, pipes, and good times. Looks like it’s decision time-where’s the big vacation going to be this year?

2008 Top Ten Overall Resorts
1. Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C. Canada
2. Park City, Utah
3. Mammoth Mountain, California
4. Breckenridge, Colorado
5. Northstar-at-Tahoe, California
6. Vail, Colorado
7. Winter Park, Colorado
8. Keystone, Colorado
9. Copper Mountain, Colorado
10. Beaver Creek, Colorado