Utah’s Cottonwood Canyons may have built their reputation on snorkel-deep powder days, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do during dry spells. Stepping out of your comfort zone in the terrain park is a great way to mix things up when the snow’s not so fresh. Whether you’re a full-on jib junkie or just looking to break the monotony of cruising groomers between storms, there are plenty of opportunities to hone your freestyle skills. Here, a look at the best terrain parks in Cottonwood Canyon.
Skill Level: Intermediate | Lift Access: Crest Express or Snake Creek Express
Candyland’s ever-changing variety of creative, technical features is set up with progression in mind—despite requiring more skill and commitment than the jibs and tiny jump in Pee Wee, most of the obstacles are still pretty low to the ground. The most direct way to get there is via Tantamount off the Crest lift, though the larger My-Oh-My park and several other groomed trails in its vicinity also allow access. If you’re taking the latter options, stay skier’s left as the trails below My-Oh-My merge, and you’ll see the entrance to Candyland after a short traverse through a nice, wide gap in the trees. Try to keep your speed, as the approach to the first few features is rather flat.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced | Lift Access: Crest Express
The main upper park for experienced freestyle rippers, My-Oh-My is usually home to the biggest jumps and loftiest features of all of Brighton’s terrain parks. Skiers and riders are required to take an online etiquette quiz and obtain a season-long park pass in order to ride My-Oh-My (but enforcement can be lax at times). To get there, ride Crest Express and take the Thunder Road cat-track out a few hundred yards; you’ll see the entrance on your left just after Thunder Road veers down and around the corner.
Another bonus of My-Oh-My? It's the first leg of a full top-to-bottom park run—you can go from here to Candyland to Majestic and hop right back on Crest for more.
Brighton: Pee Wee
Skill Level: Beginner | Lift Access: Crest Express
The ideal starting point for terrain-park novices (as well as a consequence-free zone for more experienced types to try something new), Pee Wee offers a half-dozen super-mellow features to build your confidence and minimize injury risk during the inevitable bails and butt-checks. To get there, make a left-handed U-turn after unloading Crest and continue down Pacific Highway—you can either stay on this trail or branch off right onto Snow Drift, as both will spit you out within view of the entrance to Pee Wee.
Brighton: Upper and Lower Majestic
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced | Lift Access: Majestic or Crest Express
Easily accessed by heading straight from the end of Candyland and taking the well-marked (and usually groomed) traverse through the trees, the Majestic terrain park is the final stretch of the top-to-bottom park lap that allows you to hit dozens of features in just one chairlift ride. Upper Majestic is home to the beloved Milly tubes—big, wide round rails made out of what used to be lift towers for the old Millicent double-chair—and a constantly evolving collection of hips, jumps, rails, and sometimes a halfpipe. Lower Majestic is more jib-focused, with everything from boxes, bonks, and wallrides to full-on street style handrails.
Snowbird: Big Emma
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate | Lift Access: Mid Gad or Gadzoom
Snowbird is rightfully renowned for its world-class steeps and endless bounty of naturally occurring airtime opportunities, but the Bird’s Big Emma terrain park is an often-overlooked way to mix things up if you’ve got the urge to jib. The features may not change much from year to year, but there’s a decent variety of rails, boxes, and jumps for all ability levels to enjoy. From the top of Gadzoom lift, take Lunch Run before branching off skier’s right on Big Emma, which originates at the top of the Mid Gad lift. If you’re trying to make as many laps as possible, there’s also a midpoint unloading station on Mid Gad that drops you off just above the park.
Snowbird: Chip's Run
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced | Lift Access: Aerial Tram or Peruvian Express
Full disclosure, Chip’s Run isn’t technically a man-made park. But with near-infinite rollers, launchers, wall hits, and hips of every size all naturally built into the surrounding terrain, it might as well be. And on a mild day when new snow is scarce, you’ll probably find a lot more locals making laps on Chip’s than you will riding the actual terrain park at Snowbird. To get there, take either the Aerial Tram or Peruvian express and simply follow the signs—Chip’s is the main, most obvious run from either location. Keep an eye out for the indigenous ski-bum population who will happily demonstrate the wide variety of places to put yourself in the air.