#1 Park: Buttermilk, Colorado
The first thing that comes to mind at the mention of the Buttermilk park is the terrifying X Games’ gap jumps and massive step downs that threaten to chew up and spit out a Travis Rice-caliber rider, but that’s not the real story at Buttermilk. It’s true that you can show up after the X Games and ride a toned down version of that same four-pack of jumps, which is pretty high on the cool list, but there’s more going on beyond the bright lights. Buttermilk has two parks—the Buttermilk Summit Express lift accesses the main park with key features like the aforementioned four pack of jumps on the lower Government run, but Buttermilk’s park crew keeps it interesting with loads of jibs. According to Terrain Park Director Greg Boyd, the staff is encouraged to, “go hog wild incorporating natural features and getting creative with rails and jibs.” Even debris left over from the X Games like plastic culverts are repurposed as impromptu jibs along the 2,030-foot long main park. It’s this constant evolution that seems to stoke out riders the most. Beginner and intermediate riders also have the chance to progress in the park off the West Buttermilk Express with about twenty features including jumps and boxes.
The continuing evolution of the park and the sheer number of jibs (Boyd figures that they finished off the season with 110 features total) along with the draw of the X Games has undoubtedly pushed Buttermilk to the number one position, and the resort is continuing to make improvements. Look for a new concrete bridge smoothing out the linking trails on the top to bottom park run (Teasers to Uncle Chucks)—and according to Boyd, the bridge will have slanted walls, so even that is jibbable. Sick!
Don’t Miss: Ever dreamed of competing in the X Games? Well, now you can— sorta. Hit up Buttermilk starting in early February to ride the same jumps as Andreas Wiig, Travis Rice, and Hana Beaman. Pre-purchase your lift tickets at aspensnowmass.com at a discounted rate.
Web site: www.aspensnowmass.com/buttermilk
#2 Park: Keystone, Colorado
Keystone’s A51 Park is the definition of hype with 60 acres containing more than 35 features, a dedicated park lift for shorter lap time, and an eighteen-foot pipe. Divided into five main areas of shreddable obstacles, A51 has something to satisfy the appetite of any skill level for day and night riding. Freda’s Incubator, the beginners park, features funboxes, smaller jumps and easy rails while the Main Street jumpline and other areas of A51continue to grow in innovation and remind pro shreds what intimidation feels like. For the freestyle fanatics, Two Sled Roads park boasts natural wood features in the trees. Keystone is hosting both the Gatorade Free Flow Tour and Volcom Peanut Butter & Rail Jam amateur comps.
Web site: www.keystoneresort.com/ski-and-snowboard/a51-terrain-park.aspx
3. Mammoth Mountain, California
Unbound Terrain Parks
With seven parks and events like USSA Grand Prix and Roxy Chicken Jam, it’s no secret that Mammoth’s Unbound Terrain Parks mean business. Spanning over eight runs and 90 acres, anything your shred hungry heart desires is on the menu—tables, hips, step-ups, step-downs, spines … 75-plus jibs including flat and kinked rails, bars and boxes, recycled lift towers, barrels and wallrides. Not ready to drop in with Mammoth team pros like Eddie Wall and Mason Aguirre on the 60 to 80-foot jumps in the Unbound Park? No worries, South Park has the best beginner/intermediate jumps from fifteen to mellow 30 footers, there’re also jibs, down rails, and little kink rails. Also check the awesome boardercross-like course through the woods on South Park.
Web sites: mammothmountain.com