Let me guess … you singled out this section in the table of contents and skipped over all of the other pages heretofore. Your bedroom is a shrine to Henrik Harlaut. When your local hill reports 10 inches of fresh, you may or may not spend your morning shoveling snow off your favorite rail line. Your dad tells you that you look ridiculous sporting that XXL tall T, and your mom reminds you regularly, “You’re going to freeze in that sweatshirt. You need a proper jacket!” We at FREESKIER feel you. We appreciate you. And we have what you’re looking for: A breakdown of the best park skis for the 2016 ski season.
Whether you’re looking to butter across your local terrain park like Adam Delorme, rule the halfpipe like Torin Yater-Wallace, stomp gargantuan airs with the grace of Bobby Brown or jib like Tom Wallisch, you need a ski that meets your particular demands. Lucky for you, we put 50 pairs of park-specific sticks to the test, exclusively at Breckenridge Ski Resort, and with the help of our ski testers we’ve whittled ’em down to nothing but the absolute crème de la crème and ranked ’em on the subsequent pages.
The stomping grounds
Any park shredder with half a brain will tell you Breckenridge is home to some of the best terrain parks in North America, if not the world. Between four designated park zones, Breck features jumps and jibs that appeal to groms and X Games champs alike. Of the four terrain parks, we spent our time enjoying two in particular. Freeway boasts one of the largest jump lines on the planet, plus a beautifully sculpted 22-foot superpipe that plays host to events including the Dew Tour and the US Grand Prix. Next door, in Park Lane, skiers may string seemingly endless runs from top to bottom, utilizing a plethora of jumps, rails, boxes, wall rides, bonks, banks and berms. In fact, the quantity of features assembled in Park Lane is borderline overwhelming.
Breck’s Chair 5—a good ol’ two-seater—provides quick and easy access to the goods. And thanks to a world-class snowmaking system coupled with the efforts of a hard-working resort staff, the terrain parks remain in tip-top shape from November ’til late April. You’d be hard-pressed to think of a more suitable spot to test park planks.
Amid this year’s go-round, we saw everything from blizzard to bluebird. No matter the conditions, our testing crew was spinning laps nonstop, eager to discover which skis popped, pressed and stomped better than the rest. At any given time during our stint
in Breckenridge, you would likely spot a 10-person train steaming through Park Lane. Imagine airborne skiers within mere feet of one another, performing switch backflips, lawn darts, flat spin 360s, switch cork 540s, cork 900s, switch 1080s, double corks—you name it. It was our own version of a Cirque du Soleil performance on snow. The mind- boggling display of aerial mastery provided a pleasurable show, indeed.
The sixteen testers who made the rounds in Breckenridge included local pros like Cody Cirillo, Lucas Evans, Robby Franco and Nadia Gonzales. These rippers have become veteran testers over the years; not only do they shred like champs, they’re well versed in the subtleties of ski construction, too.
Big fun yields big data
If there’s anything that accumulates faster than our cumulative degrees of rotation, it’s raw data. After testers trick their way from top to bottom, they’ll bust out their phones. Having launched our testing app, they’ll log scores on a scale of 1-10 in versatility, carving, playfulness, stability, swing weight and overall stoke. Testers also jot an assortment of comments regarding each ski. The process is easy and efficient, yielding copious opinions about the skis, almost instantaneously. The data correlates directly with our selection of Editors’ Picks. The numbers don’t lie. It’s science, people. We’re certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the skis highlighted here will surpass your wildest expectations.
The best of the bunch
FREESKIER’s annual park ski test is unrivaled in terms of its scope. You won’t find another media outlet in the industry that commits equal time and resources to park-specific ski testing. None are even close. We’re darn proud of that fact, and we now invite you to feast your eyes upon the prize. Get schooled on the best park sticks of the year to ensure you’ll be the one doing all the schooling in the season to come.