4 Ski Resorts To Improve Your Snowboarding FreeStyle Skills
FREESTYLE SNOWBOARDING CAMP WHISTLER, CANADA
If you want to ramp up your tricks and nail some extreme moves in one week, Core Snowboard Camps in Whistler are a pretty slick bet. The Nintendo Terrain Park offers six parks of different levels, a superpipe and a snowcross track, and if that tops, hip jumps, spines, rails and fun boxes are your bag, Core's pro snowboarder coaches will show you the ropes. Groups are no bigger than four, and instructors use video analysis - as well as a degree of good-natured ribbing to show you the way.
When and if you're up to it, they'll take you to the hardest park on Blackcomb Mountain: 524m long with a 148ft vertical drop. And, if you get bored or too bruised in the park, there are 8,000 acres of open terrain to paly in. If you are there in April, you can take part in The Telus Ski and Snowboard Festival, with competitions, park rider sessions and free outdoor concerts.
PARK CITY UTAH, AMERICA
It was 140 years ago that US soldiers found silvers of silver in this part of the Utah mountians. triggering a mining boom in what is now known as Park city. The silver rush may be long gone but this picture-postcard resort, which contains four snow parks, is still a valuable find - Shaun 'the Flying Tomato' White, who tomahawked his way to Olympic gold, says Park City is his favourate place to ride.
Even before your board touches the snow there's a chance of glimpsing any number of pro snowboarders - Steve Bell, Torah Bright, Torstein Horgmo and White himself all claim local status. The popularity of Park city with such snow boarding elite should tell you that this resort contains more than a couple of boxes and a two-foot kicker.
Park City is all about having fun as the sheer variety of ingeniously designed boxes, rails, butters and kickers will be the first thing you notice, Think jibs made from old gondolas and giant stair sections, and you get the idea. 'Park city is a great all-round resort', says Bode Merrill, Saloman pro boarder and Park City Local. 'It has parks for every level of riding plus great free riding and stuff to explore all over the mountain.'
Park City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics and boasts the Eagle Superpipe - one of the world's largest pipes with 22ft walls. The resorts is constantly changing and improving, They recently added The Ridge, which contains a bonanza of medium-sized rails and boxes.
Park City welcome skiers too; it's perfect for freestyle skiing. There are ton of terrain parks at park city, and if you ride here be prepared to run into a few pro skiers during your day. If it's snowy be sure to make your way to the backside of the mountain for some powder, but if it's sunny like usual, the parks will keep you busy all day (pcride.com).
SOUTHERN ALPS, NEW ZEALAND
There are some boarders who see the network of slopes snaking around any resort as an abstacke blockingthe way to the terrain park. Snow Park NZ was invented for these people. Designed specifically for those who have no interest in skin-tight fluorescent salopettes or chatting over a vin chaud, Snow Park NZ cuts out the alpine faff and lays claim to being the first dedicated freestyle terrain park in the world.
If freestyle is in your blood, you'll be surrounded by like-minded individuals. There is something for everyone, from designated beginners' zones to areas where pros master advanced features. They have added a 22ft halfpipe, which as a unique cutter designed and built in New Zealand using a laser guidance system, ensuring the perfect vert.
Advanced riders can try their luck on the 120ft Mega Booter kicker and check out the stair rails, for intermediates there are a number of easier rails as well as a box run, which naturally progresses to gradually improve your technique. There are also two jumps at the base of the box run that are open for night riding (snowparknz.com).
VAL THORENS SNOW PARK, FANCE
Although the Alps still lean towards well groomed pistes, perfect downhill slopes and suicidal ski schools, there are good parks in Europe. Chamonix, Tignes and Meribel springs to mind but it's Val Thorens that gives the North American parks a run for their money. It's situated at a dizzy 2,300ft, so expect good snow on the small but entertaining network of runs.
The Park packs a huge amount into a small slope, with advanced, intermediate and beginners' areas running parallel - useful if you want to up - ordowngrade halfway down. The drag lift is excellent and avoids peppering the slop with gutsy but clueless novices. To the left of it is The Jump'Air, a giant shock-absorbing mattress designed for practising your double cork 12s without breaking your back. For budding pros there are a number of handrails and big air ramps, as well as a wall ride adn barrel for hitting those tail taps. Forlesser mortals there is much the same, downsized with a smaller drop. Novices should head to the table tops embedded into the snow to get the feel of board against plastic (valthorens.com)