Resort Poll 2013: Top 10 Parks

Top 10 Parks

Words by Mike Sudmeier

1. Snowmass, Colorado

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Blake Axleson. Snowmass, Colorado. PHOTO: AARON DODDS

 

Parks: 4

Pipes: 12', 22'

Jumps: 20

Jibs: 50

Peak Features: Late December

Website: facebook.com/groups/aspensnowmassterrainparks

 

With four parks, Snowmass provides the perfect canvas for progression. But it's not just the terrain that makes Snowmass so sick. "There's a great sense of community here," Snowmass loc Jordie Karlinski says. She breaks off some insider info on how to approach the park: With a row of kickers and smaller boxes and rails, Makaha Park offers quick warm-up laps off the Elk Camp Gondola. Once your game is dialed, hop on the Coney Glade Chair and roll into the Snowmass Main Park when it opens around 10:00 a.m. Enjoy the triple line or hit up the rails and boxes. If you need to catch your breath or gather courage, take a break and thank the park staff. The features at Snowmass receive around-the-clock attention—and it shows.

2. Keystone, Colorado

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Tim Humphreys. Keystone, Colorado. PHOTO: AARON DODDS

Parks: 9

Pipe: 13'

Jumps: 20+

Jibs: 100+

Peak Features: January

Website: keystoneresort.com/a51/home

 

Keystone's A51 is stocked to capacity. Packed with kickers and jibs, each run rewards progression and creativity. Thanks to night riding and a dedicated chair, you can rack countless laps. Warm up in the Incubator and then hit the triple line on I-70. When it's time to throw down hammers, head to Main Street. Starting this year, Main Street will be a top-to-bottom slopestyle line to aid shreds training for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Keystone's jibs are also part of the draw. "It's a jib paradise," local Josh Stock says. "The whole park flows like a skate park, so you can combo features and pick weird, creative lines all day." Stock explains that the park crew often invents features that cause riders to ask, "What do you even call that thing?"

3. Bear Mountain, California

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Ian Sams. Bear Mountain, California. PHOTO: CHRIS WELLHAUSEN

Parks: Nearly the entire mountain

Pipes: 8', 13', 18'

Jumps: 105

Jibs: 80

Peak Features: January

Website: bearmountain.com

 

Ask how many parks Bear rocks and you'll get a simple answer: one. More than 85 percent of the mountain is dedicated to park features. As Chris Bradshaw explains, "The park staff is always working hard to keep it fresh and constantly changing it up so it never gets old." When the setup is at full capacity in January, Bear boasts 45 jumps and 60 air features including quarterpipes, rollers, hips, and road step-downs. For kicker killers, Bradshaw suggests the double line on Central Park. "It's the best jump line in Southern California. Period." If that's not enough, Bear also runs three pipes and 80 jibs, including the street-inspired features in the Red Bull Plaza. The best part? With Bear's warm temps, you can rock a sweatshirt all winter.

4. Park City, Utah

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Stevie Bell. Park City, Utah. PHOTO: ROB MATHIS

 

Parks: 4

Pipes: 13', 22'

Jumps: 25

Jibs: 65

Peak Features: Mid-January

Website: irideparkcity.tv

 

For years, Park City has pushed progression. This year is no different, as the mountain debuts a mini-pipe and new park, Neff Land. Loaded with Candy Land-inspired features, Neff Land is the place to get your tricks dialed. When it's time to up your game, head to 3 Kings or go extra large in the resort's premier park, King's Crown. Then, to satisfy cravings for tranny, drop into the Eagle Superpipe. If you're a workhorse, you can ride 3 Kings for 12 hours straight thanks to night riding, a dedicated triple chair, and a slope side Cobra Dogs to keep you fueled up. For newcomers to hit up Park City, Sage Kotsenburg has simple advice: "Snake the skiers. If you don’t snake them, they will snake you."

5. Sierra-at-Tahoe, California

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Enni Rukajarvi. Sierra-at-Tahoe, California. PHOTO: CHRIS WELLHAUSEN

 

Parks: 5

Pipe: 18'

Jumps: 15–20

Jibs: 40+

Peak Features: February

Website: sierraattahoe.com/circuit-chatter

 

With tons of features, Sierra-at-Tahoe will keep your head spinning long after you land your trick. As Jamie Anderson says, "Just come have a good time!" She recommends warming up in the Alley, which has the mountain's best jib line, and when it's time for some kickers, drop into Bashful. Sierra-at-Tahoe has also gained a strong following due to the consistency of its pipe. For those young ones in training, last season the mountain unveiled the Burton Star Wars Experience at Yoda's Riglet Park. The mini-park and training center is geared toward shreds ages six and under and features custom-wood carvings of R2-D2, C-3PO, and Chewbacca. But don't worry—there are plenty of down-flat-downs, wallrides, and boxes for the big kids.

 

6. Mammoth, California

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Anto Chamberland. Mammoth Mountain, California. PHOTO: PETER MORNING

 

Parks: 8

Pipes: 12', 18', 22'

Jumps: 95

Jibs: 126

Peak Features: November

Website: mammothunbound.com

Mammoth loc and all around badass Lonnie Kauk explains why he calls Mammoth home and takes a few laps.

When it comes to parks, the only thing Mammoth doesn't provide is a bigger set of nuts. Head to the South Park to warm up. As Luke Mitrani says, "It's just a great park to mess around with your friends. The jumps aren't too big or too small—they're the perfect size."  Next, hit up Jamie Lynn's Art Park, which is filled with features painted by the legend. If you're ready to get sendy, drop into Main Park. According to Mitrani, the features are "always built and maintained to perfection." This year Mammoth debuts the beginner-friendly Unbound Playground Progression Park, as well as the Downtown Collection, which consists of serious street-style features. Did we mention Mammoth also rocks three perfect pipes?

7. Buttermilk, Colorado

Parks: 2

Pipe: 22'

Jumps: 35

Jibs: 70

Peak Features: February, after X Games

Website:.aspensnowmass.com/buttermilk

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2012 X Games. Photos: Aaron Blatt

There's a reason Buttermilk is home to the X Games: Its park is filled with perfectly sculpted terrain and progressive features. Doran Laybourn explains: "The park crew knows what's up and rides all the stuff they build like bosses." Things start rolling in early December, but be forewarned: Much of the park is closed throughout January in preparation for the X Games. But "When everything reopens following the X Games, it's on!" Greg Boyd, Terrain Parks Operations Director says. If you're not quite ready to throw down like McMorris or Kotsenburg, drop into the S3 Park on West Buttermilk. If, however, you are thinking about throwing doubles, you'll want the Main Park. Boyd promises that Buttermilk has "no lift lines, no attitudes, and great riding to be had everywhere."

 

8. Northstar, California

 

Parks: 7

Pipes: 18', 22'

Jumps: 35

Number of Jibs: 100+

Peak Features: January

Website: northstarcalifornia.com/parks

 

Don't be fooled by the mellow vibes—the parks at Northstar pack a punch.  Start your day on the little jumps in the Straits Park and then hit Pinball. According to Eero Ettala, "It has a real good flow through the whole park and loads of different obstacles to hit." After a few runs, string together Eero's favorite line: session the top of Pinball, cut over to the three small jumps on the Straits Park, and then snake through the woods back to Pinball.  If you're hoping to get away from plastic and metal, get your jib on au naturel in the Burton Stash Parks or ride some pipe. Northstar sports both an 18-foot pipe and Shaun White's signature 22-foot Superpipe.

9. Copper, Colorado

 

Parks: 3

Pipes: 22'

Jumps: 12–15

Jibs: 50+

Peak Features: November

Website: woodwardatcopper.com

 

Copper gets the season going with a bang. Where else can you celebrate Thanksgiving with a Superpipe and premium park features? But the party continues all winter, as the mountain builds and constantly maintains every feature. To get your groove on, head up the Union Creek lift and session the smaller features in the Playground Park. From there, roll right into Woodward Central, which sports bigger features and a variety of lines.  Local ripper Rick Shimpeno recommends lapping the medium line, which provides the perfect blend of jibs and mid-sized jumps. If you still have some energy, head over to Woodward. "Don't forget your skateboard," Rick says. "You can shred Copper all day and then get a skate session in the Woodward at Copper Barn."

 

10. Breckenridge, Colorado

 

Parks: 5

Pipes: 22'

Jumps: 20

Number of Jibs: 80

Peak Features: January

Website: breck1080.com

 

Breck's parks may cause butterflies, excessive levels of stoke, and occasional soggy underwear. "The park a huge standout," Eric Willett says. "Everyone comes here to train early season because they get their park up fast, and it stays perfect all year." Despite having dozens of monster features, Breck's parks are also progression friendly. "Park Lane is the best place to start your day," Willett suggests. "There's a good triple line at the top and a ton of jibs and rails." Next, drop into Freeway to find four jumps between 50 and 70 feet in length. Willett recommends that you either "do it as a whole line or split it up two and two." Breck also rocks a killer pipe. Be careful—vacations here can cause permanent relocations.