For some, the thrill of chucking themselves down a mountain with nothing to catch them but a couple thin strips of wood has become mundane, or they’ve embraced insanity, one or the other. These adrenaline-craving skiers and snowboarders have now begun to drift towards a variation on the classic ski resort, the terrain park.
For those who may not know, a terrain park is basically a skate park, with the key difference being snow. Terrain parks are created specifically with snowboarders and skiers in mind, which are often, although not always, found attached to larger ski resorts. These parks feature an array of jumps, half-pipes, rails and jibs, all designed to create a more interesting experience than those on offer on the classic slopes.
So, which among them provides the best experience for the budding winter sports enthusiast? Browse the list below for your introduction to some of the best terrain parks the world has to offer.
- Laax, Switzerland
|Img source: YouTube|
Starting off this list is the Laax resort located in Switzerland. Long considered among the best parks in Europe, Laax actually features 4 separate parks (Beginner, Ils Plaunes, Noname and Curnius) to suit different styles, preferences and levels of experience. The beginner park does what it says on the tin, with the Ils Plaunes and Curnius parks focussing more heavily on boxes and rails, while Noname was created with freestyle jumps in mind. In fact, the Noname park features the largest half-pipe on the continent.
- Avoriaz Snowzone, France
|Img source: powderbeds.com|
We stay in continental Europe for the next entry. Specifically, the Avoriaz resort in France. The multiple parks here are scaled in terms of required experience. Children will find themselves at home on either Le Lil’Stash or the Burton Kids Parkway, while the Arare and La Chapelle snowparks cater to intermediate/advanced riders. A particular highlight of Avoriaz is the 120m long super-pipe, upheld to competition standards.
- Park City, United states
|Img source: resortpropertymanagement.com|
The leading terrain park in Utah, Park City’s four parks are considered by many to be among the best in the world, hence its well-deserved third position here. Neff Land features a wide array of rails, boxes and other jibs, the 3 Kings Park is the ideal place to hone your skills and the King’s Crown expert-level park is frequented by known names including Tom Wallisch and Sage Kotsenburg. If you somehow manage to get bored of that selection, the Eagle Superpipe is always worth a ride.
- Breckenridge, United States
|Img source: travelplan.com|
If there’s anywhere in the US that can top Park City, it would have to be Breckenridge. Breck’s multiple award-winning parks feature a mix of natural and man-made structures which culminate in a truly brilliant experience. Join the kids on Trygreve’s park or the pros on the Freeway park, the choice is yours. Alternatively, if you’re not exactly feeling at pro level, or you have no little ones to watch over on Trygreve’s, both Park Lane and Highway 9 offer a more balanced experience.
- Whistler/Blackcomb, Canada
|Img source: WhistlerBlackcomb.com|
A consistent feature on any rider’s bucket list, and for good reason, Whistler/Blackcomb offers one of the best winter experiences available just about anywhere, for fans of the sport at least. Spread across 6 parks, 99 acres, 150 features and 40 jumps, riders of all levels will have no problem finding something to do here. Starting with the Big Easy for beginners, the parks steadily increase in difficulty until you’re mixing with the elite on the Nintendo Highest Level Terrain Park, where some of the best pros in the world gather to train.
Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.