Snowmass has terrain parks and features for every ability level from first-timer to X Games gold medalist. With an impressive 100 unique features between the multiple terrain parks, Snowmass is the ideal place for a rider of all abilities to play. And, no matter your level, there are some basic rules – both official and unofficial – that will make participation in these playgrounds enjoyable and safe for everyone.
For the beginner, Low Down Park is an ideal experience with its beginner rails, a mini-pipe and small, approachable jumps. There is plenty of space to ski or snowboard around the features so you can cruise through to check it out before attempting your choice of feature. This park is also an ideal choice even for the more experienced rider looking for a place to gain confidence before tackling bigger features.
At Makaha Park, medium-sized jumps punctuated with taller, longer rail features are playfully set-up for the more experienced rider. Take a few laps or spend the day perfecting your style.
Just below the Coney Glade chairlift is the Snowmass Park. Here you may find local Olympic and X Games pros like Alex Ferreira and Torin Yater-Wallace launching themselves off 65-foot jumps or perfecting their medal-winning runs through the superpipe.
Now, the important part. Knowing the lay of the land and your ability level are key components but they are only half of the responsibility we take on when skiing or riding in the park. For every skier and rider a helmet is a non-negotiable. We take safety seriously and want everyone protected because when you are sliding on snow, a rail, or sailing over a jump, falls can happen. It’s also vital to be aware of your surroundings. Are you stopped on the knuckle or landing of a jump where no one can see you? Are you on the deck of the pipe while riders and skiers are training and popping out to hike? Are people hiking beside a rail feature you are hitting? Park runs often see more action than your average Snowmass run, it’s crucial to keep an eye on what’s going on around you and how you fit into that landscape.
Ready to start improving your park skills? All you need to remember is to be S.M.A.R.T.
S: Start small. The quickest way to progression is building fundamentals on the small features and working your way up.
M: Make a plan. Take a run through the park with the intention of getting acquainted. Our impressive Snowmass park crew is always at work adding and adjusting features, every day in the park is different. Get to know the takeoffs, landings and the line you plan to take for your run through the park.
A: Always look. Being aware of your surroundings means looking around. It’s easier to see if the landing of a jump is clear with a spotter standing on the knuckle. Have someone go to the knuckle of your jump to inspect and ensure that the landing is clear before you send it. Be sure to clear away from any jump, rail or halfpipe landing once you have “hit” the feature as well.
R: Respect. The park is for everyone. That means any age, any ability level, skier or rider. Sharing is caring, don’t cut the line for a jump or halfpipe. You never know, sometimes that break leads to a new friend or insight on a trick you’ve had trouble with.
T: Take it easy. There is no rush. Push your progression but know your limits. With patience and hard work, tricks will come. The key is sometimes knowing when your body is tired and your brain needs a break. Progression happens with a happy healthy mind AND body, work your way up slowly.
SMART park etiquette keeps everyone safe, the stoke high and progression running at full force. Once you nail that first box slide or land that first jump, you won’t be able to keep your skis/board out of the Snowmass Park.