Sunday into Monday the weather finally broke so I threw some camber in my Jeep, all-the-while hoping that I wouldn’t need it. Brighton’s terrain parks are finally getting in to full swing and the last thing I wanted to do was ride on bulletproof ice.
One step towards the lift and I felt that familiar crunch: loose granular, almost like spring corn. This was probably the best possible scenario given a thaw-freeze cycle had just ended. Thursday saw a few inches of fresh that let us enjoy the rest of the hill, too.
Small: One of two “small” parks was open (accessible from Rope 6) . Based on the right-side line I’d say this is more smedium because you can’t put a donkey dick rail in a park and still call it “small”. Plenty of features in two lines, leading to a buried/banked pipeline at the bottom which you could ollie, stall, slide, whatever. The left side was a butter box, flat-down box, flat box. The right side was waterfall/down bar, flat pipe/tommygun, donkey-dick.
Medium: The Medium park is on your left as you ride up on Chair 2, also serviced by Rope 7. This park area had two jumps on rider’s left of the park, in the 10-15ft range which were in great shape all day. There were two or maybe three lines in this park, the left side was an up-down box, pipeline rail then the two jumps. Right side had some different box-style features all with gap options (e.g. a flat-down box you could easily gap to down, etc.) and also I think some flat rails. This park is still mostly “box” features which hopefully they’ll change up with some more rails over the course of the season.
And of course all lines led towards the massive “signature feature” at the base of the park.
Signature Feature: Is there a name for this thing other than the “signature feature”? The “Purple Monster” would be good. Or something like that. It’s basically a shipping container with a transfer to wall-ride on the left, a ledge on the left-top which you could slide, a closeout rail on the right-top. Between the two rails, you could basically ride over the top of it to get a feel for your speed and the transition which was big, but not too poppy.
Large: Chair 5 services a long, relatively steep run across the back side which will have their medium/large jumps throughout the season. From the top there was a long down rail to start and then led in to the jump line. Presently the transitions are pretty much built but the jumps are still only in the 15 foot range. Currently two jumps with long and steep landing zones, and room for a third. This entire trail is taken up by the jumps.
Boardercross: The BX course, accessible from Chairs 1 and 2, and adjacent the Medium park, was open and had some great banked rollers and a finale jump towards the end. This course will host High School boardercross events.
Layout/Flow: I love the idea of partitioning parks by size/ability. It’s a tried-and-true concept that most resorts use. Some features seemed a little misplaced (gnarlier features in the small park, easier stuff in the medium park, etc.) and for the Medium park in particular, I felt like there were maybe too many eatures. Maybe I’ll get a better groove after I ride it a few times but my first impression is that the lines are a bit tight; I found myself coming pretty hot off each feature without much room to correct my line or speed-check before the next hit.
Features: Some of the features in the “Small” park would be better-situated in the “Medium” par (donkey rail, etc), and some of the easier features in that park probably would be more suitable for the “Small” park (how many flat boxes do you need in a “Medium” park?). The “Medium” park could benefit from some more rail features.
Overall: From ride-on boxes to handrails and jumps to the purple monster Signature Feature to boardercross, Mt. Brighton’s terrain parks have something for everyone. The knocks on these parks in terms of flow are pretty easily remedied, and since this is the first year under Vail’s management, I’m expecting to see a fair amount of experimentation with the parks’ layouts and feature arrangement before they’re fully dialed in — there’s still a bunch of unused features so they’ll be changing things up and adding new stuff in the coming weeks. Right now, Mt. Brighton’s parks are a lot of fun to ride, and I really think they’re only going to improve over the course of this winter.