Stratton — Parks and pipes
Avoid cutting across the mountain via Black Bear and Old 8. It’s better to just go straight down to the Sun Bowl and avoid the flats. Also avoid Old Log Rd. on the other side of the mountain, because you’ll have to take off your board and hike it.
Parks and Pipes
Stratton, one of the pioneers in snowboarding, demonstrates its commitment to the sport with four terrain parks filled with many tricking features and by hosting the annual U.S. Open. Indeed, no matter where you go here, there’s bound to be a park nearby. The Power Park on Suntanner was designed and built with the stamp of approval of two-time Olympic medalist Ross Powers, a Stratton regular. It’s Stratton’s biggest, best and most extreme terrain park, has the highest visibility and gets the most traffic. It’s also home to the superpipe. With a mandatory safety and educational video, the park has finally achieved perfection. Expert riders can do their thing without being bothered by uneducated beginners. The 20-minute class includes a video presentation, question & answer period, park-and-pipe etiquette and safety tips. Afterwards, you’re issued a card—valid all season—to use the park.
Only one word can describe the jumps and rails in the Power Park, and that is HUGE. The park starts off with two massive hips that can be hit back to back; both have smooth transitions and nice landings. After that there are a couple ramp jumps that let you drop the sickest tricks you have. Next is a jib fest served with everything from kinked rails to funboxes. The rails are set up in excellent lines and allow for many back-to-back jibs. The park also contains a 420-foot superpipe with 20-foot walls. After the superpipe and a couple more rails, it’s a fast smooth ride to the top of the park, aboard the American Express six-pack. The park is well groomed and offers a day of fun to the most extreme riders around.
East Byrneside Park, on the other side of the gondola from Suntanner, is Stratton’s intermediate park. It has seven rails of different variety set up in good lines that allow for optimal jibbing. The only problem with this park is the lack of jumps. With only one hip jump, it is hard to work on your air moves before attempting the Power Park.
Take the Janeway Junction, far rider’s left, to East Meadow, a beginner freestyler’s park. The upper section has a few rollers and a small spine; the lower section is set up boardercross style, with rollers, banked turns and a jump. Our rider found it small and not well maintained, but still fun. A kids’ learning park on Tyrolienne has small rollers, spines and a minipipe.
If you time your visit to Stratton to about a week before the U.S. Open, head to the Sunriser Supertrail on the other side of the mountain to check out what the competitors trick off. This park and pipe are built about a week before the Open and aren’t maintained afterwards. The huge U.S. Open superpipe, under the Sunrise Express chair, is also used by the Ross Powers Snowboard Camp for training a week after the Open.
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