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TOP 7 TERRAIN PARKS

FOR KIDS

For extreme kids, nothing proves your slope-side mettle like a terrain park. We uncover the world’s best resorts for jumping, jibbing and shreddin’ the gnar.

LAAX, Switzerland
Europe’s leading freestyle destination has a formidable reputation. As of the 2014/15 northern season, LAAX’s NoName snow park is home to the world’s longest continuous halfpipe – a whopping 200m in length – and it continues to host the Burton European Open each year. At Curnius Park, it’s all about the new Olympic-standard pro kicker line (perfect for ambitious teens) while Ils Plauns is the place to work on the skills first learned in the Beginner park. As well as great parks, LAAX has also invested in an indoor Freestyle Academy, filled with a trampoline, mini ramp, practice slope and Big Air for jumps practice – whether you’re on one plank, two planks or even a bike.

Image credit: gaudenzdanuser.com

Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
Not only are the twin mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb home to five parks (two of which bear Nintendo’s name and sponsorship), but Whistler Parks are known to have the longest terrain park season in Canada. That means there’s riding well into May (even in a lacklustre season) with 40 hectares, more than 200 features and over 100 jumps to discover. There’s everything from beginners’ parks such as The School Yard (a Family Certified zone) to the Highest Level Park, made for those who are Olympics bound. There are even Nintendo Habitat Terrain Parks, relishing in features inspired by nature.

Image credit: Whistler Blackcomb

Avoriaz, France
Avoriaz’s slogan is ‘Welcome to somewhere different’ – and its creative terrain really takes that on board. The Stash is the first ecological snow park in Europe where, amid ungroomed snow and trees, you find three routes dotted with hidden wooden modules. It’s good for intermediate and advanced skiers, but fantastic for boarders (it was designed by the Jake Burton, after all). It’s 100 per cent metal free with an eco ethos that finds you riding logs, trees bent like rainbows and a wall for vertical sliding – and the action doesn’t stop there. Its other snow parks span from beginner-friendly Le Lil’stash and the Burton Kids Parkway to challenging rides at Superpipe and La Chapelle Snowpark.

Image credit: Avoriaz - Vanessa Andrieux

Keystone, Colorado
Keystone has parks to sate all freestylers’ dreams. Beginners start on Easy Street, move to intermediate territory at Park Lane, I-70 and The Alley, and end up with the pros on Main Street. However, to enjoy progression within the one area, A51 Terrain Park is the crème de la crème. Considered one of the best in the USA, it packs in over 100 features that offer something for all abilities, along with a park-specific chairlift. You can start small and work towards those baffling 60-foot jumps; and with boxes, rails, tubes, tables and jumps of all sizes, it’s fun no matter whether you’re attempting your first ride-on rail.

Image credit: Keystone, Colorado - Chad Schmidt

Mammoth Mountain, California
If you’re serious about freestyle, you’re probably already familiar with Mammoth’s Unbound Terrain Parks. This collection of halfpipes and parks is spread over nearly 32 hectares for your slopestyle pleasure. Newcomers start out in Disco Park with its mini boxes and features, before progressing to Wonderland Park and the Unbound Playgrounds. Stop by Forest Trail to prepare for South Park, favoured by pros for warming up, before advancing onto the big daddy of them all, Unbound Main. Accessed from Chairs 1, 2 and 6, this park is home to the biggest features and innovative set-ups. Dedicated Playground workshops means you’ll progress to Main before you know it. Our Kids’ Ambassador and rising snowboard star, Zahra Kell, rates both the Unbound Main and South parks in her Top 10 favourite parks in the world, so you know you’re in for some premium terrain.

Mammoth's Unbound Terrain Park

Mayrhofen, Austria
Take on a slice of Tyrol’s legendary terrain at Mayrhofen’s Vans Penken Park, sprawled across the sunny side of Action Mountain Penken. With six clearly marked areas, you’ll know when you’ve accidentally entered the kids’ area and when you’re about to take on the advanced jib region... and if you’re worthy, the Pro Area with its run of towering kickers, a favourite haunt for freeski pros from around the globe.


Consistent park favourites are a ginormous rainbow box and the multi-jib ‘Beastbox’, and if you want to show off your skills, make sure you’re there on Tuesday or Saturday between 1pm and 3pm for the public photo shoot.

Vans Penken Park

Park City Mountain Resort, Utah
The “I Ride Park City” campaign has seen many a pro come and share what they love about the terrain parks of Park City . The giant Eagle Superpipe is one of the best half pipes in the biz and the jumps at King’s Crown are large enough to give even the best skiers and boarders a thrilling scare. As for progression parks, Neff Land is a sugary-themed wonderland that moves from miniature modules to towering tables, while 3 Kings has a buzzing atmosphere that offers something for all abilities.

Image Credit: Park City Mountain Resort

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