New School for Dummies
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Rather use that midslope picnic table for lunch on a warm spring day? Can’t hit a 50-50 over the kink rail? Don’t even know what the hell a kink rail is? Evidently, you’re not alone. “Ninety percent of people who go into a terrain park aren’t that good, says Chris Gunnarson, founder of Snow Park Technologies, the company that designs parks for Booth Creek resorts, ESPN’s X Games, and the U.S. Open of Snowboarding. “Advanced riders get you the hype, but to get new people in, parks need to cater to the whole gamut of skill levels.
To that order, this season, resorts such as Breckenridge, Mammoth, and Keystone are developing “progression parks—complete with ground-level rails, smaller kickers, and “learning pipes made for riders who want to jib but aren’t quite up for launching out of the 18-foot-high lip of a superpipe. In fact, The Canyons, Utah, plans to eighty-six their superpipe altogether in favor of a kinder, gentler park in Snow Canyon. The dumbing down (or smartening up), says Park City’s Jim Mangan, is essential: “There should be separate parks for every skill level, so that newbies don’t feel pressured to hit big jumps, and people who don’t understand park etiquette don’t get squashed.