I’ll start this by saying I’m biased toward Jackson Hole--it is hands down one of my favorite mountains in the world to ride. And until now, it’s never been because of anything anyone’s built or added to the mountain, with the exception of the tram of course. It’s been the mountain itself--the steep, challenging, cliff, chute, and gully-packed terrain that’s responsible for shaping the big mountain freestyle riding of Travis Rice. It’s a siren song that epic riders like Bryan Iguchi, Johan Olofsson, Jeremy Jones, and Kevin Jones have all answered to. And a resort that regular riders like myself hastily rearrange our priorities for when we get a last minute invite to come out and ride. The occasion this week was the grand opening of the new Burton Stash Parks--an addition that has improved upon perfection.
This is the sixth Burton Stash Park in the world, and the third in North America (the others are at Northstar-at-Tahoe & Killington), and there couldn’t be a better fit. The five separate parks are spread out across the lower mountain. Jussi Oksanen, Travis Rice, and Bryan Iguchi worked with the park crew including Jackson’s own terrain park manager Ranyan d’Arge and Burton’s Stash-master Jeff Boliba. Crews worked all summer rearranging fallen trees and rock walls into naturally flowing rideable features. There are at least fifty different obstacles across the five parks, some of the more notable being the man-made triple pillow line in the Ashley Ridge park, the Dance Floor in the Campground park, and the Jussi roller coaster banked wallride to a fifteen-foot high wallride in Deer Flats park. Spread out across all these parks are natural rainbows, all different kinds of flat log slides, things to jump over and through and up and down all placed to work with the flow of the mountain. How awesome? Very.
Danny Davis, Stephan Maurer, Natasza Zurek and Gabi Viteri came out to break in the park. It snowed a foot the first day, so tram laps were the call for the morning, and then gondola laps through The Stash parks for the rest of the afternoon. The next day, the powder was still fresh in Jackson’s epic sidecountry, where I did some laps with local legend Rob Kingwill leading the way. Then, when my legs couldn’t hike another step, we watched the Burton crew and some of the Stash park crew slay the more challenging features in the Deer Flats park. The transition from riding upper mountain steeps to The Stash’s flowing natural features is the best of both world’s, and many would argue it is where snowboarding is headed. Freestyle riding in natural terrain like The Stash makes for all-time training grounds and an epic addition to Jackson’s offerings.
This weekend, February 12, local riders will be competing in The Gathering sessions at Jackson Hole. Click here to register for the event. Go to thestash.com for more info on Jackson Hole’s new Stash parks.