TOP 7 TERRAIN PARKS
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.
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.
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’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
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
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
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