Whether riders are sailing over gap jumps, cruising down a half pipe, or sliding off jibs, terrain parks are where skiers and snowboarders’ creativity soars. They head to these parks to catch some air, practice new moves, and challenge themselves to land new high-flying, spinning tricks. U.S. ski and snowboard areas are responding to the parks’ popularity with ever-expanding terrain and trickier obstacles every year. Here are the 10 best terrain parks in the U.S.
Breckenridge Resort, Colorado
If skiers and snowboarders want to ride where the pros do, they head to Breckenridge. Freeway, the first of four terrain parks within the resort, draws expert-level riders with massive jumps, rails, boxes, and—to top it all off—an 18-foot halfpipe. The resort’s three additional parks suit other levels of riders and boast enough features for doing laps all day. Park Lane has two triple jump lines, so there’s plenty of variation to keep snowboarders busy. Frontier is an intermediate park, with moderate jumps and boxes. Highway 9 attracts entry-level riders with smaller features to familiarize them with terrain park riding and give them a place to perfect their techniques, like spins and slides, before heading to bigger playgrounds.
Mammoth Mountain, California
This northern California ski area’s Unbound Terrain parks have evolved over more than 20 years into top-of-the-pack zones unfolding over 100 acres of terrain. In seven distinct areas, the parks feature two half-pipes, more than 100 jibs (ridden perpendicular or parallel to the snow, like a rail) and up to 50 jumps. The park’s playgrounds offer beginner-friendly terrain with gentle rollers, small snow spines, and mini jumps to introduce riders to the train. The Jibs & More area allows riders to focus on a specific skill with steel and snow rails, boxes, and other surfaces to slide down. For big air and pro-level riding, people head to Main Park, where massive jumps, technical rails, and a 22-foot halfpipe await the bold.
Northstar California Resort, California
One of Lake Tahoe’s resorts, Northstar is known for its variety among seven parks and counting. It boasts a 12-foot and two 18-foot half-pipes, as well as a bounty of jibs and rails, which make up about 70 percent of its terrain. It’s easy to progress at Northstar, where four of its parks are rated extra small and one is even dedicated to kids six and under (so they don’t get trampled by older riders). Northstar is known to be one of the best-maintained parks, so riders can expect meticulous grooming and pristine conditions, whichever area they choose.
Park City, Utah
Olympic-level riders (and those aspiring to be) ride at Park City, which hosted the 2002 Winter Games, and multiple Grand Prix and Olympic qualifying events on its 22-foot Eagle Superpipe running more than 550-feet in length. But that pipe is only one in the mountain’s collection; it has another, a 13-foot mini pipe, in its collection of eight terrain parks. Its flagship zone, 3 Kings, features four trails that provides lots of terrain for freestyling with big-air jumps and many types of jibs and rails. Future park-rats can get their starts on smaller obstacles and in designated zones. Pick Axe and Transitions zones feature medium-sized jumps and jibs, and Little Kings rounds out the experience will small- and extra-small-sized jumps.
Big Bear Mountain Resort, California
Riders looking for variation have found their match in Big Bear. At The Scene, the park crew continually changes the features and setups throughout the season, so riders have something new to test their skills on every time they hit the mountain. This park, as well as the Freestyle Park, welcome all levels of riders. This park is packed with a trio of halfpipes—at 8, 13, and 18 feet—plus a jib pipe, and 200 features, including multiple types of jumps and signature jumps built into natural terrain. Riders looking for more urban features can ski or snowboard over to Red Bull Plaza, which specializes in intermediate- and expert-level obstacles.
This Colorado ski resort is home to the acclaimed A51 terrain park, which has 60 acres of features across six different zones. Newbies start in I-70, where small boxes, rails, and jumps grow in size and complexity as the park continues. Intermediate skiers and snowboarders head to Park Lane and The Alley, where medium-sized jump and jib lines challenge riders, and a quarter-pipe encourages freestyling and tricks. Main Street, the advanced zone, delivers a complex triple-set of massive jumps.
Aspen Snowmass, Colorado
History has been made many times at Aspen Snowmass. Its terrain parks have seen Shaun White earn a perfect 100 on the 22-foot pipe at the 2018 Snowmass Grand Prix, which remains open to the public. The annual host of the Winter X Games, Buttermilk has the terrain to challenge elite athletes. On Buttermilk, a two-mile-long slope-style course offers one of the best parks to lap around. Snowmass hosts three separate parks, which contain around 90 features, a mini halfpipe, and jumps and jibs for every skill level. Lowdown Park ranks as the introductory area, while Makaha Park attracts intermediate riders with 25 features, including jumps and 15 jibs. Snowmass Park features some 40 constantly evolving features, which attract U.S. Freeski Team athletes who train at the park.
Mount Snow, Vermont
Mount Snow is a go-to terrain park for East Coast skiers and snowboarders. Its Carinthia Terrain Parks have 100 acres packed with variety, both in terms of various riding abilities and in types of features. It’s loaded with jibs, jumps, natural terrain such as a tree-skiing zone, and a jumbo-sized superpipe. In normal years, it attracts even more riders with competitions such as the Peace Pipe Rail Jam and Carinthia Classic.
Loon Mountain Resort, New Hampshire
With six zones, two pipes, and several unusual features, Loon is home to some of the best terrain parks on the East Coast. Loon Mountain Park, the mountain’s signature park, boasts more than 50 jibs alone, plus an 18-foot pipe. Lil’ Stash features natural-terrain rails, rollers, and logs—as well as carvings of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox that set the tone. It allows riders to develop their park and freeriding skills while in a mellow, gladded terrain setting.
Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Pennsylvania
For Mid-Atlantic riders, Seven Springs is the go-to for big-air and dynamic terrain. The Spot Superpipe attracts up-and-comers for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team. With its rope tow and small- to medium-sized features, riders get started (and hooked) on park riding on Santa’s Beard. They then progress to one of the mountain’s five other terrain parks, such as the urban-inspired The Streets, with handrails, wallrides, and stair sets. The Spot hosts the most advanced jumps, where riders can catch some of the biggest air in the region.