Words by Gabe Taylor, photos by Tim Zimmerman
The terrain and feature layout in Wonderland strikes a chord with everyone from 5–50 years old. Looking to feel like a kid again? Wonderland’s 5-foot tables, ride-on boxes, and knee-high spines can be just the prescription to take your sliding to the next level. Wonderland meanders underneath CH 7 and has an east to southeast aspect allowing the snow to soften up first thing in the morning for low consequence fun and progression. Now with an 8-foot halfpipe!
Forest Trail –
Where dreams come to life. Whether it’s the 40-year-old dad re-learning backside 540s or the 10-year-old learning switch backside 900s, Forest Trail is the park that stokes a deep fire in all of those looking to progress. Starting with some fun jibs and transition-style jumps, the run gets steeper and enters the 3-pack jump line – a series of three perfectly shaped medium-sized jumps. Creative jibs and snow features follow the jump line, leading into our 11-foot halfpipe. Like a mini-ramp in your friend’s garage, this pipe creates more hoots and hollers than just about any other 200-foot section of the mountain. Easily lapped from the Unbound Express (CH 6) it’s rare that you’ll find yourself alone in Forest Trail. Remember to shred defensively, take turns and feel free to spread a little stoke with your positive hand gesture of choice.
Transition Park –
Bowls, spines, hips, volcanoes, and other snow features combine to create our surrealist take on the terrain park. Surfy, skate-y, and altogether original, Transition Park takes time to master. Be patient with the transitions, it can take hours to dial-in lines and fully realize where speed is hiding. Creating speed and maximizing flow is the key when looking to take full advantage of this park. Never has getting out of your comfort zone been so comfortable.
Snake Run –
Also known as the “BMX run,” this park is defined by its short, poppy jumps which remind many of riding a bike through a pump track. Flow is at the forefront here with cruisy speed, rhythmic jumps, and mellow berms combining to create a hypnotic shred pace you never want to end. If Main Park is Metallica and South Park is Led Zepplin, then the Snake Run is Steely Dan – a soft rock massage of the senses.
Jibs & More –
Steel, wood, p-tex, and snow…all set up for you to bash, thrash and cut loose on. Yes, there are tried and true flat bars and boxes, but there’s also a splattering of creative snow and natural features that will keep you coming back for more. Located in the woods off of Roller Coaster Express (CH 4) Jibs & More is a great call on windy or storm days.
South Park –
South faces NE meaning the sun hits first thing in the morning. The 9–11AM session over at South is not to be missed with skiers and riders from intermediate to pro converging on the hallowed grounds. There’s usually a ton of jibs and transition features up top leading into some of the best large-sized jumps on the hill, featuring the famed CH 20 jump and the lower South 3-pack – literally what terrain park dreams are made of.
South Park is the longest park requiring some endurance when ridden from top to bottom, make sure to pace yourself. The predominant wind direction blows straight downhill at South, meaning the wind is rarely an issue like it can be in Main Park.
Main Park –
Photos rarely do Main Park justice, the features are BIG, as in “worthy to film a video part on” big. After laying eyes on the park for the first time, pick your jaw up off your lap and try to comprehend the sheer scale of the 60+ feet piles of snow used to create the features. Aesthetics aside, once you’re comfortable with the air time, jibs on steroids, and massive transitions there is no place on earth that can touch the perfection and offer up the pro-level park experience like Main Park does.
Give yourself time to get used to the speed and park layout. With Unbound Express (CH 6) taking only 2:40, you’ll have ample opportunities to lap Main until the sun drops behind the Minarets. That being said, Main Park is in the shade until late morning so take your time warming up and wait for the sun to make its way onto the slope. Unbound Express gives you the perfect vantage point to check out the speed other skiers/riders are taking into features. With transitions, jumps, and jibs literally everywhere, getting creative and burning in your own line is part of the fun.
The Hemlocks –
When the snow begins to stack up, the park crew heads out to The Hemlocks and starts building kickers to better utilize some of the landings on the slope. Mother Nature did some impressive work on the Hemlocks, but with a little help from shovels, the place becomes a big mountain freestyle paradise. Launching off a massive step-down into fresh powder is unlike anything else you can do on skis or snowboards. Experts only and snow dependent.