When it comes to extreme, Colorado’s rooftop serves up options for the most outrageous in your group, while up-and-coming hotshots can train safely alongside.
If you feel the need for speed and possibly a little scenery mixed in, there’s a snowmobile out there with your name on it. Tours in Breckenridge take you past old mining ruins, while Copper Mountain tours ascend high onto ridges, where your revving engine echoes off the peaks of the Ten Mile Range.
Hard Boot Carving
For carvers, a.k.a. “hard boot snowboarders,” the sport is not about speed, but you’d never know it to watch. In search of maximum g’s, carvers strap on to specialized snowboards and lay it down at Summit’s resorts—almost literally. In the throes of a turn, carvers appear to be lying against the ground.
Summit sees more and more converts to the sport every year, perhaps in part because Bomber Industries bindings has its hub in Silverthorne (call first—they might be out carving), both selling the bindings it manufactures and helping outfit people with all of the gear they need to start rocketing around the mountain. They don’t offer lessons, but they will help you find hard-boot instructors.
- Bomber Industries, 970-513-7733
U.S. Ski Team Speed Center
At Copper Mountain, you can ski where the U.S. Ski Team does. Early in the season, the east side of Copper Mountain is dedicated to the world’s fastest skiers, where its steepest, fastest pitches are interconnected for maximum speed. Mid-December, however, the dedicated terrain opens to all.
- Copper Mountain, 866-841-2481
Parks and Pipes
There’s a reason Breckenridge is recognized as a freestyle mecca, with five terrain parks that accommodate everyone from beginners (with lower tabletops and rails and smaller jumps) to cutting-edge riders at the Freeway Super Park (with monolithic jumps and a pipe christened by Shaun White and the world’s top riders). After hosting the Snowboarding Grand Prix, Copper Mountain is also home to a massive superpipe (with twenty-two-foot walls), as well as the Woodward Park for those who graduate from the barn. Copper has three other jibbing locations, including a Kidz Terrain Park, built with the pint-size in mind. Keystone corrals all of its jibbers into one large arena, the Area 51 Park, where the features are conveniently divided into beginner (Freda’s Incubator), Intermediate (Park Lane), and Advanced (Main Street). Hosting several big rail competitions in late spring, Arapahoe Basin is also home to two parks: the Treeline—at well above 12,000 feet, the highest advanced park in North America—and the lighter High Divide Park, suited to up-and-coming jibbers.
When you’ve got edges, it doesn’t matter how steep the terrain is. Theoretically, you can control your route down. When it comes to firing down the mountain on a big rubber ring, however, all you can really do is pray. Maybe look for a lower pitch—all of Summit’s tubing hills have a variety. For more thrills, steep lanes sometimes feature rollers that might get you and your bouncy ride airborne.
- Copper Mountain Resort, 866-841-2481
- Keystone Resort, 970-496-4386
- Frisco Adventure Park, 970-668-2558
The Frisco Peninsula was long a hub for Nordic skiers who sought out its groomed, forested trails ... until its pines were devastated by the beetle kill epidemic, and the spit was cleared of nearly all of its trees.
Tragedy turned to opportunity, though, as the town further developed the peninsula into an Adventure Park, a home for jibbers who, as luck would have it, are always in search of another place to throw down. Frisco’s new jib park comes complete with a surface lift for ascension-averse riders returning to session the jumps and rails yet again. The peninsula is also home to a bunny hill for beginners. Ever efficient, the town transforms the area into a bike park in summer.
The magic carpet lift at the Adventure Park also serves a new multilane tubing hill and a beginner ski slope. During the park’s inaugural season last winter, five tubing lanes with various pitches, drops, and rolls delivered light to heavy adrenaline charges; this winter, just to keep the charge rolling, there will be seven.
A brand-new day lodge at the peninsula serves beer, liquor, soup, hot dogs, and an array of other snacks at affordable prices.
- Frisco Peninsula, 970-668-5547
Summit Specialties: Woodward at Copper Mountain
Woodward at Copper is a one-of-a-kind indoor freestyle facility complete with foam pits for landings that are far softer than the ground in the terrain park.
“It’s a place where both the parents and kids can find common ground—or air, in this case,” says Copper Mountain’s David Roth.
Housed in a giant barn, Woodward is filled with all of the materials necessary to get really good at doing tricks, or at least not hurt yourself trying. There are three foam pits, the biggest of which is the landing for a 43-degree, 35-foot ramp of synthetic snow, where X Games athletes perfect their double cork 1080 spins and amateurs attempt to go upside down or round-and-round for the first time. There are also a full-size skateboarding pool, a street trick area full of ramps and jumps, quarter pipes, and a cliff drop for a simulated big-mountain experience.
Prior to hitting the ramps and drops, Woodward visitors usually get comfortable with being airborne on trampolines (using Burton-engineered tramp boards) and on a squishy, fully equipped gymnastics floor.
- Woodward at Copper, 866-841-2481