The top snowboard park rankings are earned by scoring high in park-specific categories, like jump and rail design, grooming, variety of features, overall vibe, and park challenge. But this ain’t no beauty contest; these parks have to do some serious work to make it into the top ten.
1. Buttermilk, Colorado
The defending champion for the last two years, Buttermilk has the park category on lockdown. Why? Because it has to. Being the host of the X Games means constantly meeting the challenge to create something progressive for the world’s most progressive park riders-which is exactly what Buttermilk has done.
The resort puts all its early season snowmaking artillery into the above task, and then once the piles are huge enough, Buttermilk Terrain Park staff consults with Snow Park Technologies, and then steps in and goes to work. The result is a 2,000-plus-foot-long run full of creative jibs and precision kickers, gaps, and step-downs, ending in the famous triple line of money booters. This is the very park that, when Winter X draws to a close at the end of January, you’ll be riding (albeit a mellowed-out version). So strap in, pretend your last name’s Helgason or Ettala, and let it fly.
Buttermilk has also developed a handful of other parks on the upper mountain that cater to every ability level. These include Uncle Chuck, Jacob’s Ladder, Teaser Park, and a small park on West Buttermilk called S3 that’s perfect for beginners. It’s tough to take a run and not encounter a jump or jib, and in fact, the sheer volume of space that this resort devotes to park features (there’s over a hundred jibs to bonk and slide!) shows Buttermilk’s level of commitment to the institution of park.
For the rest of the 2011 Top Ten Parks, click the page numbers below.