Why Small Mountains are Your Best Friends

Let’s keep this brief.

I live on the east coast of good ‘ol USA in a crowded place called New Jersey. The east coast certainly isn’t known for monstrous peaks, deep powder, backcountry bowls, and the like. I dream of these things every day. That said, the east has its treasures. Vermont has some great riding if you know where to look. Tremblant in Quebec is pretty monstrous by east coast standards and it also has some secret, local spots. However…this past Sunday while riding at Camelback, a small resort in the Pocono Mountains of PA, I realized why all the small mountains local to Jersey are actually our best friends.

Small mountains are easy. Literally, they are easy to ride. That gives me the confidence to start trying stuff. There’s no pressure really because 1) everyone is generally pretty bad, and 2) the terrain is more suitable for people who are generally pretty bad. That means the park is probably going to have mostly easy jibs and jumps. That also probably means you’ll find the mountain’s only “double black diamond” is totally untouched and never has more than 3 people (give or take) on it at a time. That’s what I did almost all day at Camelback. The jumps in the park were fun and no bigger than 25 feet, and 85% of the jibs were boxes. The snow on the double black was great and the rollers near the bottom were sick for throwing 180s and trying 360s.

Sure, these mountains can get crowded on weekends and holidays, but if you stick to my theory and go to the “hardest” trails, no one will follow you. If anyone does, they’re either going to the bottom on their ass or they’ll fly past you. The bottom line is, use small, local mountains to help you get better. Then go kill it where it counts.

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