There’s no greater tool for progression, or just having a blast, than a finely crafted terrain park. Nowhere else can you launch yourself over massive gaps or slide triple kinks without doing a single bit of setup work. Simply show up, buckle your boots and hop on the lift.
At ski resorts everywhere, terrain parks are getting better every year, and thanks to that, so too are the skiers that frequent them. With improvements in technology and technique—plus an ever-growing interest in building unique, creative park features—park crews are constructing bigger, better and safer playgrounds for us. So, where should you go to throw down? We’ve scoured the continent and found the best of the bunch, the greatest damn terrain parks in North America.
Tom Wallisch at Keystone Resort. Shot by Nate Abbott.
Ask any of the world’s top park and pipe skiers where to find the best terrain parks, and nine times out of ten they’ll tell you Breckenridge. Complete with four parks, Breckenridge offers jumps, jibs, pipes and bonks for skiers of all abilities. And while Breck’s beginner terrain parks—Bonanza and Trygve’s—are superb, the advanced parks give Breck its No. 1 status in our resort guide, for the third straight year.
Located on Peak 8, Park Lane and Freeway combine for a park skier’s paradise. Park Lane, designated “medium” by locals, is littered with jumps ranging from 20 to 45 feet in length and jibs galore. Get as creative as you’d like while picking your line from top-to-bottom; it’d take days before you managed to exhaust the numerous possibilities.
The adjacent Freeway is home to Breck’s world-class, 22-foot superpipe, a slew of massive, perfectly sculpted jumps and a handful of burly rail features. If you’re throwing down in Freeway, and you’re not already super spons’d, you should probably be considering a pro skiing career.
Combine all that with the park staff’s dedication to keeping things fresh and well maintained, and it’s no surprise Breck boasts the most stacked pro-team roster of ’em all. Plus, from opening day through the end of January, Breck is teeming with the world’s best, as they flock to Colorado in preparation for early-season events like the Winter Dew Tour, hosted there annually.
Looking to throw down on insane features or just watch the pros blow your mind? Make the trek to Breck.
02. Park City
Utah’s undisputed leader in the terrain park category, Park City offers plenty to sate the desires of n00bs and Tom Wallisch alike. Mini jibs your thing? Neff Land is your spot. Looking to up your game? The 3 Kings park has progression written all over it. Ready to step up to the big leagues? Drop in to King’s Crown, where massive hits and jibs await. Last but certainly not least is the 22-foot Eagle Superpipe, for all your vertical pleasure.
Buttermilk and Snowmass Mountains offer up plenty of park goodness for shredders of all abilities. The 2-mile-long park on Buttermilk is one of the best park laps in the world, with more than 100 features, from beginner terrain to the X Games slopestyle course and halfpipe. Snowmass is home to three separate parks, containing approximately 90 features including a 22-foot pipe, a mini pipe, and jumps and jibs of all sizes.
Another of Colorado’s terrain park meccas, Keystone’s A-51 terrain park is a jibber’s delight. Spin quick laps on the A-51 double chair and get your groove on in Freda’s Incubator, packed with smaller-sized rails and boxes; Park Lane, home to a medium-sized jump and jib line; or Main Street, known for its triple set of massive jumps. Scattered elsewhere about the park are rail gardens galore. Stuck at work during the day? Night skiing is a blast if you can hack the cold.
From the outset of the park and pipe game, Mammoth Mountain has been a key player. Today, Mammoth Unbound boasts nine parks catering to all skill sets. If you’re looking to throw down with the pros, Main Park features eight to 10 massive jumps and 12 to 15 gargantuan jibs. Rail Jedis will appreciate the 20 to 30 features in Jibs Galore and South Park is home to a plethora of mid-to-large-sized features, great for helping skiers step up their game. You’ll also find a 22-foot pipe, an 18-foot pipe and even smaller pipes, too.
06. Whistler Blackcomb
With five parks between its two mountains, you’ll have a blast getting your trick on at Whistler Blackcomb, regardless of your ability. The Nintendo Highest Level Terrain Park received a makeover this year, and its main line—the slope course utilized for WSI/AFP World Champs—is downright epic.
TJ Schiller at Whistler Blackcomb, w/ camera setup by Mason Mashon.
Timberline, on Mt. Hood, boasts one of the longest seasons of any ski resort. The parks, packed with awesome jibs and mid-sized jumps, are situated down low in the early season, and as the snow melts at lower elevations, the features are moved up the hill, ultimately settling on the Palmer Snowfield—where you can shred most of the summer.
One of the best spots to shred park in the east, hands down. You’ll enjoy six parks, complete with tons of rad jibs and jumps—upwards of 50 jibs in the Loon Mountain Park alone—plus an 18-foot pipe and a BigAirBag setup.
Just a stone’s throw from the office of the experts that create its parks, Snow Park Technologies, Northstar has seven parks in total and a 22-foot pipe that you can expect to be in damn near perfect condition.
10. Mt. Snow
Mt. Snow’s Carinthia, the only all-park mountain face in New England, boasts eight designated park areas, with features for beginners and pros alike. Nick Goepper (among many other pros) calls this spot home, and within these stomping grounds he honed the skills that propelled him to X Games gold.[poll id=”31″]