If you're like me, you know firsthand the term "yard sale" and what it means for snowboarders and skiers. Thankfully this story is not dependent on my ability to land a trick. For those who are more inclined, the terrain parks at Whiteface Mountain are great places to learn, refine skills, and catch some serious air when you're ready. Whether you’re looking to send it off huge jumps or just hit some smaller features, the terrain parks at Whiteface Mountain are no joke, but plenty of fun.
Get a jump on history
Whiteface’s first terrain park was built in the late '90s and it was only open to snowboarders. Things began to change and the next year the park was relocated to Danny’s Bridge/Brookside; it consisted of three jumps. Today, Whiteface Mountain boasts five terrain parks with a wide variety of features that cater to all ability levels. You can start small -- on Flying Squirrel -- and learn some basics on mostly snow features, like rollers, and work your way up to the big one -- Danny’s Bridge/Brookside -- where the jumps are expert level and BIG (they can be 50+ feet).
The very first known terrain park was built in California for the ‘89 - ’90 season at a resort called Bear Valley Ski Area. It was originally called a “snowboard park” and was intended to resemble the skateparks that took form in the 1970s, all in an effort to attract more snowboarders to the small, family-friendly resort. What the organizers quickly learned is that terrain parks would require on-going upkeep to make sure features stayed safe and the terrain was exciting for those visiting.
Whiteface Mountain’s terrain parks are similar today in that they have a dedicated Park Staff who aim to make the coolest features possible while helping you keep it S-M-A-R-T (more on being smart later).
Soaring into the 2020 - 2021 season
Let’s face it, it’s a weird year, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! Sure, Whiteface has added health and safety protocols to address COVID-19 and ticket sales are monitored closely to keep capacity at an appropriate level. On top of all that, Mother Nature hasn’t been the most cooperative. We had some 60 degree days in November (yuck) and, of course, you can’t make snow when it’s that warm. Opening day for the mountain wasn’t until December 5, 2020, but now, well into the season, the trails look great and every snowflake makes it better!
Once everything for the terrain parks is 100%, there will be more than fifty features spanning the five parks. Flying Squirrel is the smallest park, followed by Fox Island, which in years past has consisted of a few jumps/hips and beginner metal features. Park staff says this is a great place to learn how to rail slide! Broadway is the medium-size park. Here, the jumps get bigger and the rails and boxes get harder. Once you've mastered Flying Squirrel and Fox Island, Broadway is the perfect place to find more intermediate and challenging features.
The largest park, as stated, is Danny’s Bridge/Brookside. This is where the experts play. Jumps can soar above 50-feet. Park staff says this park is usually not for the timid, but for those up for the challenge, the rewards are sweet.
In addition to those four parks, there is all a cross course located on Wolf and/or Wolf Run. The cross course is insanely fun. (Pro-tip: use the Bear Chair for quick access.) Race your crew and see who wins! It’s designed for all abilities with double and triple options for the advanced and roll-over features for beginners.
As of mid-January 2021, Flying Squirrel, Broadway, and Danny’s Bridge/Brookside are currently open. With the milder winter, keep in mind that parks are still a work in progress and staff is working tirelessly to get everything open, safely.
Smart is more than a word, it’s an acronym, too! Park safety and smart style includes:
Start small: work your way up and build your skills
Make a plan: for every feature, every time
Always look: always look before you drop
Respect: respect the features and other users
Take it easy: know your own limits
In the age of COVID, smart style should always include proper planning before trips to Whiteface Mountain. This includes knowing new rules and regulations before you go. Tickets must be purchased in advance online. Keep in mind, weekends have been busy and tickets may not be available due to limited capacity.
If you’re ready to catch some air, get your tickets and head over to the terrain parks at Whiteface Mountain!
Photos were provided by Whiteface Mountain and used with permission. Not every photo was taken this season. Please keep in mind that masks are required on property when not actively skiing or riding, or dining.