Freestyle skiers just wanna have fun. When you go to a ski park, freestylers are always the most fluid, most confident, and seem to be having the most fun.
If you’re lucky enough to be in this number, you’ll want a snowboard park that lets you express your inner Olympic gold medalist without breaking the bank. Here’s a guide to choosing the right terrain park for your next snowboarding adventure.
What’s in a Snowboard Park?
When snow skiing, etiquette can make or break your trip. No matter the snowboard park you choose, you want to be sure you understand the etiquette of freestyling.
This etiquette is basically what keeps everyone from running into one another when gliding down the slopes. You’ll get used to any freestyling rules no matter where you go if you follow these guidelines.
Work Your Way Up
The key to learning any new park is starting out small. Even an advanced snowboarder needs time to work out the kinks on new terrain.
Avoid showing off by working your way up to bigger features on the slope. Any mistakes you make won’t endanger anyone else if you think clearly when making decisions.
Have a Plan
This is for the impatient freestylers out there. Yes, freestyling is about spontaneity, but it’s not about getting out there without any plan at all.
Understand the park’s most basic safety regulations to keep you and your group free from harm.
Look Both Ways
This is another piece of advice that applies to any snowboard park you visit. Always look before you drop both behind and in front of you.
The person heading your way has the right of way which means you’ll need to wait until they pass before heading out. The same goes for you when it comes to anyone downhill. Check to see if they notice your presence before pushing off.
Respect the Space
The terrain park is the place where stunt dreams are made of. That said, you’re not the only person looking to make a name for himself.
You need to keep a safe distance from other skiers on the terrain course who might need room to grow. If you have anyone with you who’s a beginner, ask them to find a place to the side where they won’t interrupt any potential awesomeness that might occur.
The Best Snowboard Park Options
Once you’re up on safety etiquette, you can hit the slopes just about anywhere in the world. Check out these epic snowboard parks to check out with friends or even if you’re riding solo.
Mammoth mountain is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s a domestic ski park with a reputation for heavy snowfalls well into Spring.
There’s shops and pubs nearby where you can relax after a long day of riding. Canyon Lodge is where you can get access to the three main slopes.
Avoid riding on the weekends unless you’re there to watch people. Mammoth Mountain can get uncomfortably crowded with tourists and city dwellers looking for a weekend getaway.
Mammoth Mountain is, hands down, one of the biggest ski resorts in America. It’s an inactive volcano with more than 150 trails on 3,500 acres.
If you’re open to international snowboard parks, Livigno, Italy is a must-see. It’s a hike no matter where you travel from since there aren’t any direct flights from major cities.
This means a boatload of transfers, but they aren’t too difficult to figure out once you get to a major city in Italy like Milan. But since Livigno is known as ‘fun mountain’ you can rest assured the slopes will be worth the trek.
Livigno is in Western Europe located in the Italian Alps. It’s got terrain for snowboarders of all levels which is great if you’re in a mixed group.
There are pistes on each side of the main valley with a bus service running between. Advanced freeriders might opt to hike around 30 minutes to open fields on the side of the valley. Just be sure to bring hydration packs for snowboarding to avoid dehydration.
Freeriding was only recently allowed in the park so be sure to bring your best manners with you to avoid the powers that be changing their minds.
Aomori Spring, Japan
When you go to a snowboard park in Japan, you’re really just showing off. There are hidden gems that provide some of the best freeriding terrains in the world.
The giant island is home to Aomori Spring which is around 3 hours north of Tokyo by train.
The resort offers its own transfers to guests for convenience, but the scenic train gives you the most bang for your buck. Go during January or February to get daily snow.
The downside is missing Mount Iwaki, but freeriders appreciate the added riding options when snow is high on the beautiful terrain. Stay at the Rockwood Hotel where you’ll find great Ramen restaurants and friendly staff.
Finding Your Next Terrain Park
Your next snowboard park could be a hop, skip, or an ocean away. The only limitations are your time and budget to find the best deal.
Make sure you follow ski etiquette no matter where you are in the world. This etiquette transcends being able to communicate in the local language.
Make sure your guests also learn safety protocols so they’re not caught on the slopes headed for a potentially fatal collision. For more information and tips, visit our blog for updates.