America’s Top Ten Halfpipes
Mountainzone checks out the biggest and best Snowboard halfpipes...
January 27, 2005

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Mammoth Super Duper HP
Photo courtesy of Mammoth Mountain

Since the early 1920’s, when bored children built makeshift snowboards out of pickle barrel staves and shooshed down lumps of snow on the backyard, the sport of snowboarding has come a long way. Nowadays, riders from around the world are constantly looking to go bigger, get higher, ride steeper and - in the end - push the sport to that new level of achievement. Indeed, we’ve come a long way since the inaugural rides on a pickle barrel stave.

A singular component of the snowboarding world that has evolved alongside the greater sport is the halfpipe. Inspired by skateboard halfpipes (which were inspired by the shape of ocean waves), snowboard halfpipes are now commonplace at most American ski resorts. Here at, we made it our duty to set out across the nation to take inventory of America’s best halfpipes and round up a handful under the category a Top Ten Best.

1) Mammoth Mountain, California

Mammoth Mountain, in central California, has a reputation for building things big. Take, for example, their acclaimed Superpipe. At 450 feet long with 15 foot walls and an 18 foot transition, this halfpipe alone would have qualified for top honors in the Top Ten Snowboard Halfpipes of America. But as their name seems to indicate, Mammoth wasn’t comfortable building a mere super halfpipe. So they enlisted terrain park designer Oren Tanzer to build the Super Duper Halfpipe.

The Super Duper Pipe logs in at a nifty 600 feet in length with 18 foot walls and 20 feet of transition. Add to the mix Mammoth’s off-the-scale yearly snowfall (400+ inches), a lengthy season (in ‘95 they stayed open until August 14) and the mountain’s notoriously early opening date (this year the Superpipe was the first halfpipe to open in North America for the fifth year running) and you have the top Superpipe venue in America.

"When you stand on the lip of our Super Duper Pipe and take in all the surroundings," says Dana Vander Houwen, Communications Manager at Mammoth. "It’s no wonder why this amazing half pipe is setting the standard for freestyle snowboard riding in America, North America, and even the entire world."

With over $1 million in funds committed to the terrain park every year, a staff of 22 and seven state-of-the-art grooming machines, it’s an understatement to say that Mammoth is big on commitment to its world-class Superpipe program. We just can’t wait to see what they build next. For more information visit

2) Breckenridge, Colorado

When someone mentions the word ‘Colorado,’ visions of lofty peaks and unsurpassable snow sports immediately come to mind. When someone mentions the phrase ‘Colorado halfpipe riding,’ one place should immediately come to mind: Breckenridge.

"Colorado has long been known as North America’s premier destination for a variety of snow sports," says Emily Jacob of Breckenridge Ski Resort. "We have strived to carry on this tradition by setting premier halfpipe standards." Created in 1998, the Freeway Superpipe at Breckenridge measures 475 feet in length with 15 to17-foot walls. The halfpipe measures 50 ft. from deck to deck and, due to extensive snowmaking operations and Breckenridge's high elevation, is consistently the first pipe to open in Colorado.

Park designer Eric Armfield and the Breckenridge Park Crew work closely with professional and amatuer snowboarders on both the design and maintenance aspects to ensure the Superpipe stays up to world-class standards. As a result, the Freeway Superpipe hosts the Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix at which athletes from around the globe converge to compete. The Freeway Superpipe is also featured in Microsoft's popular computer game Amped II.

This season Breckenridge celebrates 20 years of snowboard riding and is highlighting the personalities and pioneers who introduced snowboarding to the world. For more information log onto

3) Stratton Mountain, Vermont

Although the East Coast isn’t exactly known for inspirational snow quality, Stratton Mountain makes up for this atmospheric obstacle with an inspiration of their own: the Power Superpipe. Designed and built with a stamp of approval by two-time Olympic medalist Ross Powers, the Power Superpipe sprawls out at a comfortable 420 feet with walls that flux between 17 and 22 feet depending on snow conditions.

Stratton’s long tradition of shaping snow for riders goes back to the first U.S. Open half pipe, which was built there in 1988. Setting snowboard standards year after year seems to be a goal of Stratton’s, because the Power Superpipe has quickly trumped all its colleagues on the East Coast and is rapidly gaining attention as one of the best halfpipes anywhere.

Winter Park HP
Photo courtesy of Winter Park

Stratton’s unfettered commitment to snowmaking, as well as the recruitment of people like Power Superpipe builder Matt Sakellar and the staff of five terrain park rangers, are what make Stratton’s half pipe credentials so potent. Please note that a quick Safety Education Session is required at Stratton before riding any of their terrain park features. For more information please visit

4) Park City, Utah

At the Winter Olympic Games in Park City in 2002, the world was officially introduced to the Superpipe. Thousands watched as the United States leveled the competition and took all three medals. Since then, world-class half pipe riding and Park City have become synonymous.

"The Eagle Superpipe at Park City Mountain Resort has probably seen more international recognition, and traffic, than any other half pipe on the planet," says Krista Rowles Parry of Park City Mountain Resort. "The 2002 Winter Games put the pipe on the map, but our talented park staff is what keeps it there."

The Eagle Superpipe measures 400 feet long with 17 foot high walls. Professional snowboarders who know a thing or two about well-shaped half pipes flock to The Eagle Superpipe to hone their skills. Riders like Shaun White, Tanner Hall, Ross Powers, Keir Dillon and Pep Fujas are usually spotted training here.

The Eagle Superpipe is home to the World Superpipe Championships, an invitation-only competition which invites top riders to compete for a piece of the $90,000 purse. This year the event will be held March 12-13. For more information visit

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