Header Image: Edwin Poulston
Written by Alastair Spriggs.
North American boarding season is winding down. Chairs stop swinging and rails get taller. Our sunglass tans get sharper, and our laps get hotter - both literally and figuratively. Some of us flock to DIY setups on our local hills, while others flock to glaciers.
We at Method Mag understand the late-season blues, but we want to tell you that you’re boarding season doesn’t have to be over. We’ve created a spring boarding guide to direct you in the right direction - to keep chasing winter into the spring/summer months.
Grouse Mountain, British Columbia
Grouse is aiming for a May 6th closing date, but this is very much weather dependent. Nestled above the rainy city of Vancouver at only 1,231 metres in elevation, Grouse Mountain park crews are constantly battling high levels of precipitation and temperature fluctuations. We’re praying for clear weather windows along BC’s Lower Mainland. Let's keep those chairs spinning!
The spring pass is a steal even though the days on the hill are limited. For only CAN $89, you could be greasing rails over Vancouver from 1 pm to 8 pm on weekdays, and from 9 am to 10 pm on weekends.
Grouse Parks is on point and we expect it to stay that way up until closing day. Marcus Cartwright and his park crew are working tirelessly to keep the park flowy, creative, and fresh. From the skate stopper down-flat-down, the never-ending tubby tubes, and the 11 down rails, the 34-feature Side Cut Park has something for everyone. “We’ve got a lot packed in, but it all links up. We’ve concentrated on the flow of the park. Stop less, hot lap more. It goes well with the short chairlift ride,” said Cartwright. As for the jumpers, Grouse has a solid five hit jump line that finishes with a 40’ money booter over Vancouver’s cityscape.
Timberline Ski & Snowboard Area, Oregon
Spring riding will last until early June, when the summer season will commence up on Mt. Hood.
The spring season pass will cost you US $139, less than the price of two lift tickets. But be sure to grab your pass soon if you’re heading up to Hood within the next month, the final day to purchase the pass is May 13th.
Even though the infamous Palmer public park won’t be open until the first week of June, Timberline parks still have a lot to offer. The Conway park is hot right now. They’ve got double rails, creative rail to rail combos, kinks, curves, and pyramids - enough goodies to keep any jibber happy.
The flow park is also a stand-alone section on Timberline’s historic grounds. A transitional line full of hips and volcanoes run down the middle, more flowy features on the right, and a halfpipe on the left. It’s a true pre-Holy Bowly inspired experience.
To top it all off, Holy Bowly is heading to Timberline on May 7th. The private event runs until May 12th and then the course is officially open to the public. According to John Burton of Timberline, they're hoping to keep the course in good shape for at least week, maybe two.
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
The Whistler half of Whistler Backcomb is officially closed for the season, but Blackcomb Mountain will stay open until May 21st for spring boarding. Due to a massive chairlift construction project planned to turn Black Park’s iconic Catskinner chair into a high-speed quad, Blackcomb’s spring park has moved to Jersey Cream. After May 21st, Whistler Blackcomb will transition to summer riding.
Unfortunately, the coming of Vail Resorts to Whistler Blackcomb meant the going of the beloved spring season pass. However, things could be worse for those flocking to Whistler for late-season turns. The Spring 10-day pack has been introduced for CAN $229, averaging at a little under $23/day.
The return of spring park to Jersey Cream came with a few extra treats for Whistler-Blackcomb riders. A brand new 40’ round bar that slides like butter, a long round flat-down rail, and a full line of medium sized boxes were introduced on opening day. Between the plethora of fresh rails lay front and backside hips, a volcano, and a few boobs. Most notably, the JC spring park has floaty jump line, consisting of a 40’ and 45’ jump, to finish off the hot park lap.
The only downside to the JC spring park is its length. Right now you’re limited to six hits in total on a good lap. Good news is that we expect to see more features throughout the month. But in the meantime, the lack of features is made up by the natural tranny finders, gaps, and cliffs that scatter the run down to the park.
Mammoth Mountain, California
Mammoth’s closing date is totally weather dependent. Though their website says they’ll only be open until May 28th, a few little birdies have told us they expect the mountain to stay open through June into July.
The best deals going on at Mammoth right now are the buy now, ride now season passes. Ride for the remainder of this season, and next, for US $599. Another option is to buy bundle tickets in advance. You can score seven days for US $478.38 - this averages out to be US$68/day. Neither of these options is ideal, but that’s the price you pay for the quality of Mammoth parks.
Mammoth Unbound has pushed the boundaries of park building for the past 20 years, and this spring is no different. Let’s start with the Main Park, a mecca in the world of snowboarding. The pro-level park currently hosts 45 features in total, focusing on progression, creativity, and transition. Atop the park, you’ll find 25 jibs ranging from down rails, closeouts, butter pads to rails, creepers, and down-flat-down features. Following the top rail section sits the Middle Jump, a solid 75’ wedge, 85’ to the sweet spot. Next up you’ve got the superpipe option. Due to a private camp, this pipe is only open to the public in the afternoons - just in time for it to soften up. On the right, you’ve got a triple pack built to perfection. Back-to-back 50’-60’-65’ booters right under the Unbound Express lift. “The energy is so high on the lift. People are always watching and getting stoked,” said Mammoth legend Gabe Taylor.
The Forest Trail Park offers a more intermediate selection of hits since the Main Park isn’t for everyone. You can expect variety among the 12 medium sized jibs, including a down-flat-up box, several down rails, and a few kinks. These are built around a lofty three pack of jumps that range between 20’ to 30’. Also accessible off the Unbound Express, the Forest Trail Park is the perfect place to hone your skills after a high energy chairlift ride.
Sunshine Village, British Columbia
Sunshine Village is set to close on May 21st. You can expect the majority of the mountain’s 137 runs and all four parks to remain open right until the final day of the season.
Due to a recent flash sale, spring pass prices at Sunshine Village have dropped to CAN $366.
A top to bottom park lap at Sunshine Village is a long one. The top of the Angels and Divide Express Lifts grants you access to both major park clusters: The Great Divide, and the Grizzly Park. The Great Divide Park features a full XL slopestyle run, containing a 35’ channel gap into a 40’ step over.
After you’ve stomped your doubles in the Great Divide Park, cruise down a little further and lay feast to the jib filled Grizzly Park. This park has a good flow between a good variety of stock features. Down-flat-downs, down bars, tubby tubes, you name it, they’ve got it.
As well, Grizzly park is home to five back-to-back 20’ jumps and a huge bowl feature with rails built into the sides. A perfect opportunity to work on your tranny riding and rail sliding skills.
Mt. Bachelor, Washington
Mt. Bachelor’s anticipated closing date is May 27th, and expect to see the park on point right up until closing day.
The spring season pass will cost you US $249. Given that a single day lift ticket is going for US $96, it’s a solid price for a month of riding on the second largest single-mountain resort in the USA.
The longest park run on the continent awaits at the top of Bachelor’s Skyliner Express chair. Right off the bat, you drop into the Pacific City park - a flow park that highlights the natural bends and rolls of the terrain. It’s not jammed packed with features, but it’s one hell of a time. Winding through Pacific City you’ll link up a variety of down rails, butter pads, wall rides, and a huge right side hip. Once you’ve made it to the bottom of Pacific City, you’ll meet a larger rail section designed to get you ready for The Point park.
Larger rails, plazas to down rails, kinks, and cannons can be found at the top of The Point. This links into the large jump line - a quad pack is known for its flow. It goes from a 40' to a 50’, to a 55’, and back to a 40’. The Point then transitions into Cannon Beach park. The upper section has a three pack of jumps, ranging from lofty 20 to 25 footers. And the lower section is a made up of a mellow rail section to help you wind down before jumping back onto the Skyliner Express.