Resort Poll 2013: Top 5 East Coast Parks

Top 5 East Coast Parks

Words by John Poulin

 

1. Seven Springs, Pennsylvania

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Kevin Kobasa. Seven Springs, Pennsylvania. PHOTO: DAN THOMPSON

 

Parks: 6

Pipes: 22', 13'

Jumps: 10

Jibs: 70+

Peak Features: Mid-January

Website: 7springs.com

 

It takes a lot of hard work. Not just to get here, but to stay here. Three years in a row at the top of our list should give you a clear picture. "The commitment of new concepts like The Streets really help us stand out from what others are doing," Terrain Park Manager Joel Rerko says. So what's a regular day like in this PA oasis? "Hot laps in The Alley are always the best warm-up," local ripper Chuck Lengle says. Then, hit The Streets. "So many fun lines," he says. "There are always people finding new, creative stuff to do in there. And don't miss opening day of the 22-foot pipe; it's like a holiday."

2. Mount Snow, Vermont

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Ian Keay. Mount Snow, Vermont. PHOTO: MOUNT SNOW

Parks: 10

Pipes: 18', 12'

Jumps: 45

Jibs: 150

Peak features: Early January

Website: carinthiaparks.com

Even before Day Franzen became Freestyle Operations Manager at Mount Snow, he was laying ground for the direction they would take their parks. Founder of Kingvale—the former DIY park resort in Tahoe—and co-founder of the Cutter's Cup—a camp for park builders—Day's visions have guided park construction more than most people recognize. Now he's in charge of sculpting Carinthia Peak, the all-mountain park that 2012 US Open Rail Jam winner and Mount Snow Park Ranger Shaun Murphy calls home. Not a bad place to work and play. "My favorite jib line? Definitely the Junkyard," he says. "Creative rails, lift towers, redirects, spines, and lots and lots of propane tanks. There's a skatepark style flow to it."

3. Loon Mountain, New Hampshire

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Mike Ravelson. Loon Mountain, New Hampshire. PHOTO: GREG FUREY

Parks: 8

Pipes: 18', 10'

Jumps: 24

Jibs: 50+

Peak Features: New Year's

Website: loonmtn.com

It's pretty hard to beat the park lap at Loon. First, you hop in the gondola and thaw yourself out. Then it's all about the side hits on the way to the park. "Just cruising with the group down Bear Claw is the best part," Capita rider Mike Rav says. Head into the LMP for the big-jump line, then find the Hubba at the bottom near the Shaping Shack. You'll likely find some weird concoction brewing there. Jay Scambio and the rest of the park staff are always experimenting and tweaking builds; the shack is almost a trial ground for these new setups. "Everyone's down, open to ideas," Mike says. "They put a lot of pride into their work here."

 

4. Waterville Valley, New Hampshire

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Jeremy Landy. Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. PHOTO: WATERVILLE VALLEY

Parks: 6

Pipe: Mini Pipe

Jumps: 16

Jibs: 50+

Peak Features: New Year's

Website: waterville.com

There's the ground lift running the length of the park and the iconic Hubba. These two things usually stand out when you remember Waterville. But then there's the consistent shuffling of rails in the park, dialed jumps, the influence of events like Pat Moore's Back To The Boneyard and our own TransAm. It's a shred-driven atmosphere, one lead by former Think Thanker and current Park Supervisor Luke Mathison. It's all about snowboarding, the young guns riding with the old dogs, and it's casual. Tyler Davis rides Waterville whenever he's not teaching high-school English. "There's a lot of history here, like the Boneyard and Snow's Mountain," he says. "Even the younger generation of riders all respect that."

5. Sugarbush, Vermont

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Ralph Kucharek. Sugarbush, Vermont. PHOTO: DREW AMATO

Parks: 4

Pipes: None

Jumps: 5

Jibs: 50+

Peak Features: Mid-January

Website: sugarbush.com

 

It's the jib mecca of Northern Vermont. They cover the basics, of course: You've got your flatbars, down bars, wallrides, and boxes. Then they get weird with the unique features, little rail islands with as many angles as you could dream. They make a lot from a little, and it's thanks to the energy of Park Supervisor Tony Chiuchiolo and his dedicated crew. Day in, day out, they're not doing it for themselves; it's for the local community. It's paying off. "All the kids are stoked," Vermonter Yale Cousino says. Yale has always called this place home, and he puts the rail setup at Sugarbush in elite company. "There's Bear, Keystone… It's top three, for sure," he says.