(credit: Copper Mountain)
The snow is falling and that means it’s time for all of the winter sports fans throughout Colorado to begin their weekly trips up the mountain. Skiing and snowboarding is always a lot of fun, but adrenaline junkies love to seek out terrain parks – special dedicated areas for rails, jibs, jumps and other tricks. If you’ve never tried some of these dedicated areas, make sure to start at the beginner sites, so you have plenty of time to practice before hitting the larger jumps. There are lots of incredibly fun terrain parks all over the Rocky Mountains, and here are five of the best.
Keystone Terrain Park
100 Dercum Square
Keystone, CO 80435
Keystone’s Terrain Park is known all over the world as one of the best. Mainly, that’s because the beginner, medium and large jump lines are all found within Area 51 of Keystone, meaning you can hop from one to the other without having to travel a long distance with all of your gear. The area also has its own dedicated chairlift and even offers some night skiing hours after dark. To get to Area 51 in Keystone, you’ll want to park at River Run and then take the Summit Express chairlift or the gondola to the top of Dercum Mountain. Then just follow the signs to the Terrain Park.
Aspen/Snowmass Terrain Park
Buttermilk Terrain Park
Aspen, CO 81612
The Terrain Park at Aspen/Snowmass is called Buttermilk, and it’s even hosted the X-Games and will continue to do so through at least 2015. Transworld Snowboarding Magazine has also voted Buttermilk number one for the best pipe. Of course, the X-Games has chosen Buttermilk as the home for its extreme skiing and snowboarding runs because of all the great challenges and more than 2,000 feet of vertical rise, more than 100 rails, jibs and other park features. The bulk of the rails are found on the upper section of the terrain park, while the bottom has the larger jump lines and a super pipe.
Copper Mountain Terrain Park
0509 Copper Road
Copper Mountain, CO 80443
Run in conjunction with Camp Woodward, the terrain parks at Copper Mountain have lots of features, both indoor and outdoor. There is the Catalyst Terrain park which is the most difficult with lots of medium and large jump lines, rails, jibs and more. At the base of Copper Mountain, you’ll find the indoor sports barn with foam jump pits, rails, trampolines and more fun to explore. It’s a great place for you to work on your tricks before you head out into the cold. The indoor area, plus the massive outdoor terrain parks, make Copper Mountain a favorite spot for free-riders from all over the world.
Related: Best Ski Areas For Kids In Colorado
Winter Park Terrain Park
1008 Winter Park Drive
Winter Park, CO 80482
Advanced skiers and boarders love Winter Park’s Dark Territory due to the fact that you have to go through a pre-certification before you can enter the park. This means fewer crowds and more people with stronger skills on the park features. However, there are seven different parks in Winter Park, all designed for different levels and abilities. So if the pre-certification scares you off from Dark Territory, you can still find several other mini-parks scattered all over the mountain with lots of rails, jumps and jibs to explore. Beginners should start with Zephyr Express, which doesn’t even require a lift ticket.
Steamboat Ski Resort
2305 Mount Werner Circle
Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
You’ll find four different terrain parks to enjoy at Steamboat Ski Resort. There is Mavericks, which is a huge 14-acre park with its own dedicated chairlift, and Mavericks Superpipe, which includes a 450-foot-long superpipe. If you are a beginner, head over to Lil’ Rodeo Park and you’ll find smaller jumps and rails that are perfect for learning, while intermediate riders can check out Rabbit Ears. There are different areas for all abilities, so no matter how long you’ve been skiing or boarding, you’ll find the perfect terrain park for you.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.