Snowboarding and Skiing Terrain Park Safety

The sun is shining on the freshly groomed park, your iPod is cued to your favorite park playlist, and you are saying, “droppin” as you go. You have styled the first two kickers and feel like there is no stopping you now. You approach the third and final kicker knowing you will nail your trick. As you spin the final 180 of your rotation and look for your landing, you are horrified by what you see - some young kid on rentals making snow angels on your landing! By some divine twist of fate and your amazing skill, the child rolls out of the way just in the nick of time. He laughs while you curse and make your way back to the lift.

Terrain park safety sign

If this scenario sounds familiar to you, then please read on. There’s nothing better than styling out your favorite trick or finally nailing that new one you’ve been working on. And there’s nothing worse than ending your session with a trip to the hospital. Hucking yourself 20, 30, 60 feet in the air or towards a hard metal object isn’t the safest thing in the world to do, but with the right knowledge and skills, a Terrain Park can be made infinitely more safe.

Let’s start with the proper knowledge. Burton Snowboards and the NSAA (National Ski Areas Association) teamed up to create Smart Style, an initiative to promote safety in Terrain Parks. According to Smart Style, there are four things we can do to promote a safer park:

These points were pulled directly from the Smart Style website You can visit that website for more on Smart Style and Terrain Park safety.

Kid jumping off a rail in a terrain park.

When trying to develop the proper skills to use in the terrain park, one must know where to start. Use the resources that are readily available to you. When looking for advice, remember that the Snow Sports School at the mountain has instructors waiting to help you. Also, check with the Terrain Park attendant on duty for clarification on rules, where to find certain features, or the best staging area/place to sit.

Maybe none of these ideas are new to you. If this is the case, and you’re still cursing the brat that almost messed up your landing, I still have a few points to make. First, you should reread number two and number four above. Then I beg that you shelve your pride and involve yourself in the effort to create a safer Terrain Park environment. Knowing the etiquette and applying it is only half the battle. Please help spread the word. The next time you find yourself in a situation similar to the first paragraph, edit the last sentence to read something like this: You pull off to the side, visible from uphill, and ask the kid to come to you. You then explain to him the danger of the situation at hand, how to avoid it, and the location of the signs that display proper park etiquette.

Get the knowledge. Get the skills. Get involved. See you on the hill.

Liz Moore is the terrain park supervisor and Director of the Snowboard School at Timberline Four Seasons Resort, WV.