Terrain Park Jobs
Alley oop. Corked 540. Switch 360. Mute grab. Back flip. D spin. Tail grab. Straight air. Daffy. Indy. Lincoln loop. These are all freestyle skiing or snowboarding tricks that can be done in a freestyle terrain park. To do these tricks, there must be a professional terrain park crew working behind the scenes.
Terrain park teams consist of designers, builders, managers, and crews.
They are responsible for designing, building, and maintaining the takeoffs, landings, and manmade features of the terrain park. It’s an exciting and innovative job that helps bring guests to ski resorts.
Freestyle terrain parks have grown tremendously in size and popularity. They are at every major ski resort in the world. Breckenridge, Keystone, Mammoth, Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley), Buttermilk, Stratton, Park City, and Copper Mountain are regularly listed as having the best terrain parks in the world. These resorts hire top notch terrain park crews to push the limits and build the newest, most unique, features.
Terrain park features include rails, halfpipes, disco boxes, rainbows, fun boxes, kinked rails, recycled lift towers, wall rides, A-frames, tires, barrels, quarter pipes, and spines. Making these features safe is hard work because the snow deteriorates every single day. Takeoffs must be hand groomed, illusionary gaps must be properly spaced, landings must be smoothed, and halfpipes must be machine groomed.
Besides monitoring the features of the terrain park the terrain park crew is also responsible for the layout and flow of the park. The flow of the park is an important aspect of park safety. Without proper flow, skiers and snowboards will cross paths and it could result in some horrendous injuries.
Terrain parks can cover a few acres or an entire mountain. A terrain park designer is hired to design the layout of the park, features, and flow. Then terrain park builders construct the park from blueprints. Park construction takes time and snow. There has to be enough snow for 80-foot booters and 20+ foot half pipes. Each feature needs to be properly spaced and built.
After the basic features are in place, terrain park crews perform daily maintenance to ensure safety. They constantly fix landings, mark hazards with bamboo, flag jumps, and paint landing zones. Terrain park crews guinea pig the jumps to make sure they are not dangerous. They test the flow of the rail gardens and hit the sequential jumps. These test runs ensure the safety of the guests and are important for risk management.
The National Ski Area Association has developed a Smart Sliding campaign to help promote terrain park safety. If everyone follows the rules – Make a Plan, Look Before You Leap, Easy Style It, and Respect Gets Respect – the terrain park can be a place for everyone, not just adrenaline seeking teens in tall tees. Terrain park crews have helped terrain parks constantly evolve so that they push the limits and are fun for all abilities.
Terrain park work can definitely be a year round gig.
Over the summer, blueprints are designed, terrain must be graded, and innovative features are built. Spots like Mount Hood, Woodward, and Snow Park in New Zealand need terrain park crew in the summer.
Every resort needs terrain park workers each season. The daily terrain park crew might only make $10 per hour, a terrain park manager may make $30,000 a season, and a terrain park designer can make up to $100,000. Check out schools like Selkirk College or Colorado Mountain College for courses in terrain park layout and management.
Tune in to Winter X Games or watch big terrain park events to see if you’re inspired or terrified. If you still want to pull sick tricks, then apply for a terrain park job today.
Quick Facts About Working at a Terrain Park
Job Title: Terrain Park Crew, Designers, Builders, Managers
Office: Ski resort terrain parks
Description: Design, maintain, manager freestyle terrain parks
Certifications/Education: Knowledge of terrain parks layouts and features
Necessary Skills: Skiing or Riding skills
Potential Employers: Ski Resorts
Pay: Depends on position; $10 per hour to $100,000 per year