You don’t necessarily have to travel cross-country to find quality shredding. Take a look at these legit spots all around the lower 48. Some may be closer than you think.by TJ Parsons
Ah, mid-winter: The snow is good, the lift lines are short, and prices are back to normal (at least compared to the exploitative gouge-fest that is holiday season in a resort town). In short, it's the perfect time to call in sick for a few days and take a spur-of-the-moment trip with some good friends. Lucky for you, we put together a small selection of rad resorts littered all around the country—regardless of where you live, one of them is probably reachable within a tank of gas or two.
Thirty minutes away from downtown SLC, it's a veritable shred Mecca: home to five-hundred-plus inches of fluffy Utah snow, progressive park setups, and more fun, natural features than you can possibly find in one season. If you've never heard of this place, you've probably been frozen in carbonite for a few decades. Countless Salt Lake-area pro shreds use Brighton as their training grounds, but riders of all levels can easily find something that suits their style. If you're looking for cliffs and lines, head up Milly Express; if you're more of a park rat, Crest Express will get you a top-to-bottom run through three separate terrain park zones with a huge variety of features.
If you don’t know, now you know
Who says you have to go out west to ride big mountains? Sugarloaf is home to the biggest continuous vertical drop in the Northeast and averages over 200 inches of snow every year (although this season is on track to be well above average). Top-notch grooming and four separate parks keep things fun even when Mother Nature isn't cooperating. This season, the newly opened Brackett Basin area adds almost 300 extra acres of previously inaccessible terrain, sure to be loaded with unexplored tree stashes. If you live anywhere near New England, this place is worth checking out.
Snowshoe Mountain, W.Va.
If West Virginia doesn't immediately come to mind when you think of potential riding destinations, you're probably not alone. But the numbers don't lie—Snowshoe Mountain had an awesome January, with multiple big dumps piling up faceshots for some seriously hyped locals. Boasting one of the heartiest vertical drops in the mid-Atlantic, Snowshoe also offers five parks stocked with obstacles for everybody from first-timers to seasoned jib monkeys. If you catch a good storm, hit up the Western Territory or Soaring Eagle Express for the longest, steepest runs; the Grabhammer and Mountaineer chairs make it easy to hot-lap the two longest parks.
Looks like fun … even with the porno guitar in the background
Bear Mountain, Calif.
We're far from the first to point out that Bear Mountain is insanely fun, and we certainly won't be the last. Easy access from Southern California, perfectly manicured top-to-bottom parks, and frequent sunny weather make Bear a park rider's paradise. With 100% snowmaking coverage and an army of diligent diggers, conditions are always prime for progression. There are jumps and jibs of every conceivable size and shape, from the mellowest ride on to the most technical Z-kink. If you haven't had your fill by the time daylight expires, hop on the free shuttle to Bear's sister resort, Snow Summit—the Westridge park is lit up until 9:30 p.m., so you can press, slide, and spin until your legs fall off.
Highlights from Volcom’s Peanut Butter & Rail Jam
The Midwest is full of dedicated riders making the most of small hills and questionable coverage. Indianhead Resort isn't exactly Alaska, but the vertical drop and snowfall totals more than double those of many other resorts in the region. Tucked away in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Indianhead's close proximity to Lake Superior results in plentiful lake-effect snow that's sure to stoke out pow-hungry shredders who time their visit well. Once the fresh stuff is gone, you can warm up in the Timberwolf terrain park before you step to the larger features in the Big Chief area.
Think kids from the Midwest don’t throw down? Think again.