30s Thursday: Don’t Go Blind This Winter


Nowadays, there are whole mountains that are nothing but parks, such as Echo. But don’t forget to make some turns. photo: Chris Garrison

Over the years I’ve noticed our population forgetting the beauty of the simple groomed trail, mistaking it as nothing more than a necessary evil to help deliver you to the top of a park.  Nowadays thousands of people blindly fly down the mountain to manmade parks with cheesy names like the Zero Gravity Zone or the Wicked Air Chamber, and then start doing tricks.   Completely missing the park all around them on the way down.

What many of you may not know, is that the modern “terrain park” is a relatively new concept.  Dang… Snoop Dog had put out two albums by the time all ski areas were building parks.  And just because mountains didn’t have parks, does not mean everybody strapped in and went straight down the hill.  Tricks were being done long before any cat ever pushed up a cheese wedge, and long, long before every other mountain had a cursive s-box.  Yep, it’s no chicken versus egg conundrum as to what came first here.  The trick gave birth to the park.

Thankfully pre-season snowboarding forces us to make due with our simple trails.  Every mogul, knoll, highway hit, snowmaking barrel and lift tower, offers a bounty of freestyle opportunities.  The great Stevie Wonder once said, “I work with what I gots to work with,” and so must we before our beloved parks get built.

May we all remember this lesson we learn during the preseason when Mr. Park comes to town this winter. I’m not suggesting anyone quits riding parks, all I’m saying is to make sure you continue to ride the hidden park all around you on the way down.   When your mind’s telling you to head straight to the park and ride a c-rail, ask your heart if you’re getting the most out of the t-rails (or “trails” as we used to call them) along the way.