Park Sessions : Park City, Utah
Filming: Pat Fenelon, Justin Gunson
Edit: Justin Gunson
Photos: Rob Mathis
Riders: Frank April, Dylan Thompson, Griffin Siebert, Harrison Gordon, Sam Taxwood, Ben Bilodeau
Park City's freestyle game has been on lock for a long, long time. They were one of the first resorts to put together a team of heavy-hitters with riders like Scotty Arnold, Aaron Biittner, and Bode Merrill, as well as one of the first resorts to make park movies. If you've seen classics like City. Park City. from 2006, you know what we're talking about. They've continued to push what's possible in a terrain park, which is why we grabbed a crew and headed here for a Park Session.
While the park was even sicker than we expected, shortly after we wrapped up shooting, an ugly legal battle erupted between Powdr Corp., then the owner of Park City, and Vail Resorts. We'll spare you all the details, but a quick version goes like this: Park City Mountain Resort was late on renewing a land lease in 2011 with landlord Talisker Land Holdings. They tried to renegotiate terms, but Talsiker ended up striking a deal with Vail Resorts. That pissed Powdr off, and it sued Talisker. In May 2014, Powdr lost the lawsuit and was given an eviction order. Then things really got crazy. Powdr still owned the bottom third of the mountain so it threatened to rip out chairlifts, towers, and snowmaking equipment, which would block access to the upper mountain. If that happened, there was no way the mountain would open for the 2014/15 season.
All this left many snowboarders wondering about the future of the resort and what would happen to one of the best park programs in the Utah area. Well, last September, Vail Resorts bought Park City for 182.5 million dollars, and as of this printing, the same parks we sessioned last spring are waiting for you this winter.
The first thing you see when you arrive at the base of the Park City is the massive set of jumps that dominate the Kings Crown snowboard park. Next, your eyes drift to the endless lines of 3 Kings park. You've also got the Neffland park up on the King Con Ridge with 10-foot tables and candy cane jibs, but Kings Crown and 3 Kings are where our crew spent the week.
Before we go any farther, we have to give a big shout out to Jeremy Cooper and his dedicated park crew. These guys make sure that everything is on-point every day the lifts are running. It doesn't matter if it's the beginning or the end of the season, every feature, lip, and takeoff is always well maintained.
Early in the week, we were all about 3 Kings. There's no better warm-up park on the planet. Frank and the crew of locals absolutely killed the lines of medium-sized jumps, rails, and boxes that litter the extremely long park. While the variety of features in 3 Kings is a huge plus, another awesome thing about the park is that it's serviced by its own lift, so you can lap all day and until 8 p.m. under the lights.
By midweek, the sun came out, and it was time to take it to Park City's big boy park—King's Crown. The features in this park are huge, and it's pretty crazy that they're up for the public to hit. They are professional, photo-shoot worthy features. We spent two days here, hitting legit street-style downbars with stairs, big-ass triple kink rails, and massive jumps. If you can shred the features in King's Crown, you can hit anything, because the setup is insane.
If you're riding here in the spring, like us, get to the mountain between 9:30 and 10 a.m. and shred 3 Kings. Get warmed up, and wait for the big jumps in King's Crown to soften up.
Hit up the Merrill Mini-Pipe. This thing rules, and it's at the top of Neffland so you have a fun ride on your way back to the base when you're done doing handplants.
The landings should be soft, so make your way over to King's Crown. But if you're not feeling like going all out, 3 Kings should still be good to go. The park crew is on-hand, constantly maintaining the features and keeping ruts and bomb holes to a minimum.
If you're staying in Park City, make sure to check out High West Whiskey Distillery. It's right at the bottom of the Town Lift, making it the only ride in, ride out whiskey distillery. The food is damn good, too. There are tons of other good restaurants and bars in Park City and if you have a car, Salt Lake City is only 25 minutes away, opening up a whole new list of options.
Park City Life
Shop: Milo Sport (in Salt Lake City)
Bars: Downstairs, PC Live, No Name Saloon
Eats: Vinto, Davanza's, Flying Sumo