* About The Poll: The online Resort Poll is voted on by both subscribers and the online readers of twsnow.com--in total over 1,600 readers logged on to cast their votes. Readers were given the opportunity to vote on the three best resorts they visited during the 2007/2008 season, ranking them on 21 different categories. Some 154 resorts across North America and Canada were judged, after the numbers were crunched, ten in each category rose to the top.
1. Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C., Canada
Logan Short shoots for the moon at Whister. Photo Scott Serfas
A switch was flipped for serious improvements in the parks at Whistler/Blackcomb this past season. Firstly, a changing of the guard in park management saw Brian Finestone take the reins with a plan to re-invigorate the park offerings at WB. He explains, "The first thing was to keep the parks fresh by switching up the setups weekly so riders would always have something different to discover. We also got creative with our fleet of rails, boxes, and picnic tables by setting up new combos that mimicked urban, skate-style features. I encouraged the crew to come up with creative stuff and let them just go for it." The park crews also expanded the size of several parks utilizing dead space in existing parks and building hits on parts of runs that were unused in the past, which ultimately added several acres and a dozen new features to the resort's ample park offerings.
2. Bear Mountain, California
The San Bernardino Mountains don't see a lot of natural snow, but that's never kept Bear from keeping their all-mountain terrain park in peak form. The reason: snowmaking. Their upgraded snowmaking system is now putting more snow exactly where they want it. Every one on the park crew is a rider--on the hill regularly, a fact that Park Manager Clayton Shoemaker says is "the key to Bear's success." With 163 jibs, two dedicated park cats, and a full-time night rail crew constantly reconfiguring the park and jib lines, there is always something fresh to hit, jib, slide, or slash at Bear Mountain.
3. Northstar-At-Tahoe, California
If you're lucky, your Tahoe trip will be all powder, but let's face it--odds are high that you'll be riding the parks at Northstar. And why wouldn't you? They've got rippable terrain smeared all over the trail map. With unique obstacles like pole jams, a gondola cabin stall, rock stalls, the step-up/wallride, and signature Oakley and Forum "F" bombs features, Northstar is taking the park experience into uncharted territory. Their giant Superpipe is also one of the best. The Burton Stash park puts a fresh, natural twist on park play, while more traditional hits like the big step-downs on Moonshine make you wish you were a local.
4. Keystone, Colorado
Keystone used to be a secret, but after years of consistent park builds, pro-level events, and photos in the mags, people know the score. The hit-packed Area 51 park zones offer everything from mini jumps to the pro line on upper Main Street. The well-laid-out surplus of obstacles and jumps is always getting a fresh groom, good for locals and visitors alike.
5. Buttermilk, Colorado
While the crowds are swelling over at Aspen and Snowmass, shredders in the know can be found ripping laps through any of the four parks and North America's numero uno Superpipe at mellow, little Buttermilk. Jib-bonk a log on Uncle Chuck's, hit a wallride on Jacob's Ladder, then point it down to Crazy T'rain. All day long.
6. Breckenridge, Colorado
Make the best laps of your winter on Peaks 8 and 9. Breckenridge is bananas and slides into the top five by dropping a wide array of rails, boxes, and even some "junk"-style obstacles in their five perfectly groomed parks. The jump lines at Breck, from Freeway to Park Lane, are smooth as butter.
7. Park City, Utah
Park City has a long history of giving riders what they want and also building features you'd never expect. The Pick 'n Shovel park offers a mix of jumps, innovative jibs, and rails while Jonesy's park sports a pro-caliber jump line. With the quality and variety of A-grade freestyle terrain, it's no wonder so many pros claim local status at Park City.
8. Mammoth Mountain, California
Mammoth is the place to escape to for Southern Californians. With everything from steep cliff drops and lines to epic park and pipe and late-night restaurants and bars in the village-Mammoth meets the needs of SoCal shredders. Jonas Michelot blasts off in excitment. PHOTO: Tim Peare
Mammoth has led terrain-park innovation for a decade; yet they never rest. On any given day in the winter, something is fresh. From Main Park, the most pro-populated park run in snowboarding, to South Park, where the whole crew can hang, it's all good. With some of the most consistent and progressive parks anywhere, local Mammoth kids continue to become world-class pros year after year.
9. The Canyons, Utah
In a region with lots of options for the park-minded shredder, The Canyons has set themselves apart with progressive park designs. In addition to smooth-cut jumps features, they've loaded the hill with some sick skate-style jibs, like twenty-foot-long picnic tables, a crazy quarterpipe, a steep rail with stairs, and more.
10. June Mountain, California
It seems the sun is always shining over at June, perfect for all-day park play. From the top of Chair One it's easy to spot your crew lapping one of the six park runs. With everything from an all-jib park to pro jump lines and big, sunny Superpipe, June is on. The fact that it's never crowded is a bonus.