About Snowparks in the Three Valleys
Freestyle skiing and snowboarding has been growing in popularity since the likes of Glenn Plake and Scott Schmidt brought it to the world in the "Blizzard of Aahhhs". Since then we've seen the birth of snowboarding, the evolution of twin tip skis and snowboards, and the inclusion of freestyle in the winter Olympics.
If you are new to the slopes it's a good chance that you'll be wanting to try your first kicker or rail soon. Freestyle is great fun and if you want to learn there is no better place to head than the Courchevel snowpark.
The Three Valleys has better parks than ever with new emphasis being put on giving these world class resorts world class freestlyle facilities.With the Plattières Park in Meribel and the Park in Val Thorens offering kickers and rails to the more advanced riders, and the Elements Park in Meribel and the Courchevel park catering for beginners and intermediates the Trois Vallees really does have freestyle facilites for everyone and as you can now practice on airbags and have your runs filmed the facilities really are better than ever.
Anyone with a Trois Vallees lift ticket is allowed to ride in the parks and if you are new to freestyle you shouldn't be intimidated by the more experienced riders.
To find out more about keeping safe in the park visit our page on Park Safety.
The Family Park in Courchevel is getting bigger and better as every winter rolls by. Located alongside the Verdons piste just above the village at 1850, the park is sure to entertain all levels of freestyle rider. The novice freestylers can try their hand at the gentle snow cross course, the speed gun and an array of green kickers and boxes.
For those looking to push themselves, there is plenty to dig their teeth into (metaphorically, of course. Nobody wants to hit a box and ruin those pearly whites!) The red kickers in the "Big Air" section are closer to black grade than red. The blue boxes, quarter pipe and swimming pool give ample opportunity to get the legs popping and the skis and boards spinning.
Of course, there's the airbag to test out all those gnarly new tricks without the fear of injury. Starting at 3€ for one jump, five jumps of 10€ or hourly rates, there's plenty of time to master those backflips and 360's.
Meribel has its usual two parks, the long running favourite The Elements Park and the Plattières Park. The Elements park used to be called the Moon Park and is now dedicated to freestylers of every level. Even novices will enjoy the boardercross, can whoop it up on the whoops, enjoy the Fun Cross and try their first tricks on the soft impact boxes, rails and jibs.
The Elements Park has over 25 hectares of jibbing, jumping and freestyle fun, with tables, rails and boxes all made from wood. The park is easy to get to and open to all skiers and snowboarders of all levels. It is ideal for beginner to intermediate freestylers and is serviced by its own drag lift; Arpasson. With the usual collection of kickers and rails and its great location on the East facing slopes above Meribel it makes for an ideal afternoon destination, especially at Easter when the slope has softened a little in the afternoon sun. There are even some jumps specially designed for beginners, made from a soft impact material.
The Elements park also has the addition of video cameras. These are positioned throughout the park and will record your run for you. They are free to use and very simple. Activate the camera by swiping your lift pass over the camera's sensor which will start to beep. On the fourth beep begin your run. Swipe your card again at the stand at the bottom of the run and you can watch your run back on the screen there, or watch it online and download it to share your park runs!
The Plattieres Park is currently managed by DC Snowboarding (hence its name, DC Area 43) with an injection of cash comes a park worthy of the Three Vallees. The park is new and extremely well looked after so is in great condition and can be fun for a visit and play around. It is 1200m long with 2 lifts allowing you to get access to the park. There are two half-pipes, one for intermediates and the other for experts only. This competition standard pipe is used for top level freestyle events which are well worth watching. The video system within the park, like the Elements Park, means you can film and photograph yourself on the modules. This park also sees improvements in 2016-17 with newly decorated shipping containers, free WiFi, a new fun boardercross piste and entertainment every Tuesday and regular “DC parties” with contests.
Val Thorens Snowparks
Val Thorens has a fantastic 70,000m² snowpark on the Plateaux Pistes. You can access it from the Moutière chairlift, and the Plateaux drag lift allows you to slide back up to the top once you've jumped and somersaulted (hopefully on purpose) your way through the course!
Like most slopes in Val Thorens it can be a little hard in the mornings so it's best to wait until the afternoon sun has warmed and softened the snow. This park does have some proper kickers and for years it was Val Thorens who had the biggest park in the Three Valleys. You can still find some fairly meaty wedges here and thanks to the parks high position they stay in good shape until late in the season.
All the runs are colour coded depending on their difficulty : green (easy), blue (medium), red (difficult) and black (very difficult). The snowpark has five zones; a boardercross (800m long), three freestyle zones which are classified according to their technical difficulty (beginners, intermediates and experts) and a Jump'Air (a jump with arrival on a "stunt man's" mattress, airbag). The snowpark contains Whoops (a succession of waves), a corner (raised bend), a jump table and big air, a wall ride (extended snow wall), a hand rail and a half pipe.
The park in Val Thorens is also one of the 'freestylepark' locations so you can film yourself on the kickers here and try out the airbag.
Find your way around with Piste Maps for Courchevel.
Location: Courchevel Valley