So Gnar's 2013 Mountain Guide
What mountain should you go to next weekend? Which has the best powder, when, and how do you find it? Where can we get a goddamn beer after a long day of shredding? Don't look at us; consult the So Gnar crew's 2013 Mountain Guide for your answers to these very important questions, and more, because these dudes seriously know what they're talking about.
A-Basin/ by Damon Michaels
So Gnar Factor: Take Loveland Pass up to A-Basin if you are traveling west on 1-70. Either being or end the day by dropping into the back-country of Loveland Pass. On a good powder day, shredding some untracked powder makes the best time out of your trip. Here you get some nice face shots and booter hits, log jams, and various jibs (that's snowboard speak for "it's fun"). Remember to be careful riding back-country areas and stick with your crew.
Best Kept Secrets: The A-Basin park crew always kills it with its early season park. If usually offers at least six to seven rails and boxes set up to get your practice on. With about 400 terrain acres, the Montezuma Bowl usually opens around January and closes around April or May. A-Basin is also known by many to have the best Bloody Marys in the world. Make sure to order yours with jumbo shrimp or bacon. If you are local to Colorado, reserve your own personalized beer mug from the Sixth Alley Bar at the base of the resort for a nice break at the end of a long day.
Rad Stuff, Events: A-Basin is usually the first snow resort to open and the last to close in Colorado. "The Beach" at A-Basin is always fun with people getting fully into the mountain spirit usually at the beginning and end of the snow season, tailgating with personal barbecues, piling up coolers filled with beer, and bumping their favorite tunes. Call A-Basin pre-season to reserve your own personal beach parking spot, which includes comes with a picnic table. Don't miss the Shakin' at A-Basin concert series starting May 3rd.
Buzz Kill: Parking on the weekends and holidays is sometimes a little rough. Go during the week or get there early (parking opens at 6a.m.) to get a good spot near the base. It;s not much of a nightlife area, except you can go down the mountain to Keystone and hit up Dos Locos to grab some of Jose's wings with a marg to make up for it.
Keystone/ by Drew Hastings and Cody Potter
Terrain: Keystone boasts a wise variety of terrain for any level of rider. Fredas Incubator for beginner park riders is a mellow intro to what it's like to slide some metal or catch some air. The Outback is for those who seek exploration, trees, and powder. A-51 is for those park junkies, and always ranks among the top five best parks in America, according to Transworld and Snowboarding magazines. The progression of features and constant rearrangement of the park keeps its riders on their toes with a smile on their faces. Some of the world's first tricks ever were stomped on Keystone jumps, including a triple back rodeo by Billy Morgan. Enjoy hot laps from the top of the park all the way down to the base with the So-Gnar crew, getting creative and jibbing on the sides of the run if possible.
Events: Through campfire socials, the Beer and Bluegrass Festival, and the frosty playground known as Kidtopia, Keystone Resort has something for everyone both on and off the snow. The monthly River Run Rail Series offers rad free-rail jamming during the fall to pull the community together with a barbeque to follow. On top of the action in the village, the Zumiez 100K brings some of the most recognized faces in snowboarding, skating, and music to the slopes for one awesome weekend. You may even have a chance to ride with legends like Christian Hosoi, Bam, Skrillex, or Peter Line there. The Volcom PB&J is always a fun springtime free jib event open to snowboarders.
Best-Kept Secret: Free parking is always a bonus, but night riding is Keystone's best-kept secret, especially for all those Midwest transplants that grew up skiing or shredding under the lights. The powder in the Outback can be awesome; get there early to find the good stuff. Early season lift lines can be pretty thick and conditions can be icy, but the earlier the better is the way to go. Keep your eyes on the trees because there are all kinds of rad mini-clif drops and log slides buried in the glades. There's a super cool DIY jib area located near the resort that's illegal to shred in but if you can locate it, it's filled with lots of dumpsters, shipping containers, and other features to create unique jibs.
Nightlife: Keystone is a great place to poach hot tubs. The Goat is a fun spot with fairly cheap drinks and live music. Hit up Dos Locos for a rad happy hour spot with cheap specials and nightime going out fun. The Snake is also a pretty fun spot for a few drinks with a mix of locals and tourist.
Buzzkill: Food prices. Bring your own lunch or barter the employees with sticker trades. A sandwich can be kept nice and cold if buried at the top of your favorite run or even tucked inside your jacket. Or, if you live on the wild side, scout the top surface of the trash cans for leftover food before it gets thrown away; a half bowl of mac and cheese and a few fries for free can still get the job done. *Rooster would like to note that they think this is weird.
Aspen (and Snowmass/Buttermilk/Highlands Mountains) / by Pat Milbery
Terrain: Absolutely world-class terrain. You have Aspen Mountain, which is steep, gnarly, and great for fast free-riding. You have Snowmass, which offers a diverse selection of runs, super fun terrain parks, and great options for all ability levels. Buttermilk is the host of the ESPN X-Games and was voted No.1 by Transworld Snowboarding Magazine for Best Pipe. You are never missing out on fun by choosing any of the mountains up there; they all offer great terrain and rad riding experience.
So-Gnar Factor: Jibbing in Aspen and sessioning the skate park up there during the spring months rocks. If you cruise around the town with an open eye, there are rad gaps, handrails, and all kinds of unique urban shred spots. There is so much to explore with what seems like endless possibilities.
Best-Kept Secret: It's not actually in California like Hollywood says it was.
Events: It hosts the winter X-Games at the end of January, which is the Full Monty experience of insane snow sports, craziness, parties, and just straight-up wild times. During the X-Games,, the town offers free concerts that rule with big names like Talib Kweli, Nas & Damien Marley, and Diplo. X-Games is a must. A cool industry-based event is The Meeting. It's the premiere gathering of snow sports filmmakers, athletes, sponsors, media, and fans during the fall season when all the leaves are bright and beautiful. Apsen also hosts the Bud Light Spring Jam, which is a fun free event as well.
Nightlife: Hands down, the raddest spot is Belly Up. It's located in downtown Aspen, and the booking of national touring acts is off the hook. It always locks down the best variety of artists including Blackalicioius, Pat Benatar, Souls of Mischief, Mimosa, and DJ Shadow. Go enjoy some music and grab some food at a food cart on the streets.
Buzzkill: It's more of a getaway spot for most front rangers. It definite requires some carpooling and some searching for cheap lodging, which isn't that easy to find in Aspen. Couch-surfing websites might be a solid approach, but be ready to spend some money on your meals. Traffic in and out of town on I-70 during the X-Games is a nightmare, so be smart and leave in the middle of the night to avoid the freeway parking lots.
Winter Park/ by Pat Milbery
Terrain: The Railyard Terrain Park is one of the best in Colorado. The park crew that designs it is super creative, mixes in all kind of unique features with the traditional jump lines, and it boasts rad super pipe in the middle of the park. The options are endless, and the flow rules. Winter Park has perfected the element of progression by offering its five terrian parks. Mary Jane is a great back country-style experience, and it's connected to WP with access with the same pass.
So- Gnar Factor: Shredding Winter Park rocks because the staff listen to the riders' input and designed the park for snowboarders and freestyle skiers. The woods are awesome with tons of cool jibs scattered around the mountain and plenty of hidden goodies. The mountain is filled with rad terrain for powder lovers of all abilities to enjoy.
Best-Kept Secret:The great element that Winter Park provides is that it is off of the I-70 pipeline of traffic. Therefore, the lines are minimal, which means less traffic on the slope. You have beautiful Berthoud Pass to climb up and over, which happens to be a back country mecca of radness. There are great spots to drop in from the top of Berthoud Pass, catch a bunch of pow turns down to the highway below and snag a ride to shred the resort either before or after you hit the lifts. Winter Park has a fun, welcoming, laid-back vibe to the resort. Most people don't realize Winter Park and Mary Jane are connected, which provides you the best of both worlds.
Nightlife: Ullr's Tavern is the locals' favorite with a laid-back atmosphere for the 21 and older crowd. Live music is regularly offered with live bands and open-mic Mondays. Winter Park Pub is cool spot to hit up as well in downtown.
Buzzkill: It can be tough sometimes to rally your posse over to Winter Park because it requires a separate pass. It's very worth it though, just tougher on the carpooling option if the rest of your crew wants to shred Summit County.
Steamboat/ by Justin Michaels
Terrain: Steamboat has the most delicious side country and hike-to terrain. The inbound runs off of Mount Werner peak are a five minute hike at worst, even for those with salty sea lungs. It is easy accesible by the Morning Side chair, but the jaunt is enough to scare off most blue-jean-wearing jabronies. Floating down No Names you'll find the ultra steep and fluffy. North Saint Pat's has more ledges and drops to huck off of. East Face has a smooth ride and a couple of well distinguished cliff drops. East Face is rad, but always be avalanche prepared, and maybe bribe a local to show you the route on the first go around.
So-Gnar Factor: There are pow reserves everywhere here. If you are bummed out because the storm just hit and your boss down at the ChuckEQueasy made you work two days extra wearing the rat costume because his wife quit and ran of with her caseworker, fear not. By the time you drag your shred stick out of the Front Range and onto Storm Peak you will still get enough face shots to smack the cheese grease out of your nostrils.
Best-Kept Secret: For starters find Skyline, or look around Twister, and if all else fails, find your way past the Teepee to the Weasel Trees. Happy hunting. Tired of going to the resort for your knuckle dragging pleasure? Then park your moped downtown for Urbane's Midtown Crisis Rail Jam. Free town concerts include artist's like Leftover Salmon, Robert Randolf, Drive by Truckers and more. Make some yellow snow and support the locals' in fighting cancer with Ski 4 Yellow's mountain scavenge antics, or break some bones with the annual Cowboy Downhill in January.
Nightlife:Old Town Pub is a local favorite. Hit up the Tap House for live hip-hop electronic music acts, or enjoy a town classic at Carl's Tavern and late-night munchies at the Mahogany Grill.
Buzzkill: Time is money. The resort is usually just out of reach for the weekend warriors. You won't find a Keystone-style park where there is more metal than snow. However, the park does get creative, and the pipe is cut like Arnold Schwarzenegger 40 years ago.
Copper/ by Pat Milbery
Terrain: Woodward half pipe options are stacked with both 13- and 22- foot super pipes. Once you get your tricks in the 13 footer, you can build up that confidence to send it in that big-boy ditch. In both Central and Bouncer terrain parks, you have some of the most creative urban-style features, mixed with the best quarter pipe in Colorado with a perfect transition to hand plant or blast airs. The pow stashes around the mountain are endless, with pockets everywhere that offer super fun terrain to explore. Get lost in the woods and enjoy all of the untouched powder.
So-Gnar Factor: The staff at Woodward at Copper is professional, super knowledgeable and really doing great things for snowboarding and skiing. The programs its developing for future generations are essential for building blocks for the industry. The Woodward Barn facility is a dream come true with skate ramps, foam pits and one of the smoothest outdoor mini ramps around. Parking is free, and constant shuttle service is provided all day to and from the base of the village. The Woodward Cage carries and supports So-Gnar Apparel, so check out the mini bowl inside the retail space.
New Developments: The Woodward at Copper terrain park got its own chair lift this past season, and the park laps rule. There super quick, accesible for riders to learn a rediculous number of tricks in a short amount of time, and they're the best tool for progression. The Digital Media Lab offers a great new multi-media platform to roundoff the experience. The Super Pass could be a great option to consider for the season.
Best- Kept Secret: This park has taken a great new direction. Jason George came from Keystone a few years back and brought in the heat. It now has indoor and outdoor skate parks, skateboard/BMX training facilities that include jumps and pump tracks for the novices, and trampoline heaven. The trampoline options are endless. Copper boasts the first super pipe open of any Colorado resort as well. Mix off-hill fun with on-hill greatness and your world of satisfaction and stoke is fully complete.
Nightlife: Endo's is a good apres spot; Jack's is also a fun local hangout; Pizza Carlo is probably the best for slices; and Jill's Umbrella bar can be a good time as well with some pretty decent drink specials.
Events: It hosts the Grand Prix of snowboarding in December and Snowboard Association Nationals in March or early April. Sunsation is a super fun, free concert series at the base that pulls great acts like Michael Menert or classic hip-hop like De La Soul. The RedBull Slopeseekers is a rad spring event as well.
Buzzkill: You'll probably get overwhelmed with where and what to ride because there are too many cool options. Tough life, huh?
Breckenridge/ by Scatter Brains Potter
Terrain: The resort is organized very well, giving each catergory of riding it's own area. Peak 7 is full of green trails making it very suitable for beginners. Peak 8 is designed for more intermediate and expert riders with terrain parks filling area. Freeway Park is stacked and oriented to the professional type riders/skiers with a 22- foot super pipe and 80-foot jumps. Right next to Freeway Park is Park Lane, which is a great intermediate park where you may advance your skills to feel comfortable enough to take them to Freeway. Back country riders also get their fill in with the highest chair lift in Colorado to take them to the miles of terrian offered with lifts and T-Bar access availability.
So-Gnar Factor: Urban annihilation. Being that Breck is one of the busiest mountains in Summit County, The lift lines can get crazy long. So steer clear of those lines, the So-Gnar team will just hit the streets and do work on video parts while the lines clear.
Best-Kept Secret: The variety of hidden smoke/lounge shacks that are scattered all around the resort. From two-story shacks to tree house shacks to ground-level shacks, the experience is great. The trick is locating them. Some are very hidden in the back of the woods, and some you need to look up in the trees because they are built up so high that you need to climb a tree ladder to get in. A couple of shacks have been renovated with furniture, windows and speakers to kick back and bump some tunes over a safety meeting.
Nightlife: This is Summit County's mecca for partying. Breckenridge Main Street hosts a number of bars, clubs, and venues. You can bar crawl all night long until closing time with plenty of locals and other college aged kids. Cecilia's, Liquid, Brooklyn's, and 320 South are all neighboring buildings you can easily walk to and from as you give your liver a workout. The music scene is always great when 320 South puts on a show featuring national touring acts. Breck hosts the Dew Tour and Spring Massive, which brings thousands of people that are looking for good times and free music shows. Hop onto the free bus system that Summit County offers and catch a safe ride home to your destination, doesn't get much better than that.
Buzzkill: Breckenridge is a busy area as it's by far the most popular resort in Summit County. This results in long lift lines and grumpy locals. The ski/shred pass not only works at Breckenridge, but is also vaild at the other nearby resorts that are only a short drive or bu sride away. Head over to Keystone or A-Basin for the rest of the day with no extra fee.