If you’re a parent, you’ve probably followed your brood at least once into the strange and pole-less world of the terrain park. And when you first looked at the metal rails and massive gap jumps, you probably also experienced dark and swirling thoughts about your insurance deductible and the sound a shoulder might make when it separates. Then, on the small chance you did summon enough courage to, say, slide a box (“Send it, Mom!” said no park rat ever), you probably skated away with bruises on your hip that didn’t hurt nearly as badly as those on your ego.
This year, though, Mt. Bachelor, Ore., unveils its new Woodward Mountain Park, designed to take the fear (and pain) out of learning freestyle at the park. It’s all about progression—with 15 zones that range from a flat-ground Start Park for never-evers to the Performance Venue with huge competition-grade features, where local pros Lucas Wachs and Sage Cattabriga-Alosa get sendy. (You can also watch them huck from the safety of the Clearing Rock Bar deck, while holding onto a beer for added support.) The new Woodward Mountain Resort Park is unique to POWDR owned resorts, and Bachelor has increased its Woodward Terrain Park staff by 50 percent to ensure all the zones will be perfectly buffed out.
Progress through freestyle skills
The Woodward Start Park and the adjacent First Rays, located at the base just outside the Sunrise Lodge rental shop, have a covered magic carpet to take first-timers up to the zone. Coaches are on-hand to offer free guidance through the features, which are gradual banked turns that teach riders how to control their speed using the terrain. The park is free—yes, free—for even those who don’t have a season or day pass. Just go to the Sunrise Lodge and pick up a ticket.
From there, riders can progress to the next level, starting with mini pipes, rollers, and small jib features that are just inches above the snow surface. Then they move up to “stop and drops,” slightly bigger features separated by fencing so riders can take them one at a time and fully master each one before moving on.
Each zone is rated by feature size, so skiers and riders can continue to work up in small steps from there. “Before Woodward, we saw gaps in progression with our terrain park zones,” said Leigh Capozzi, Bachelor’s brand and communications director. “After the Short Sands park, the jump to the next feature set was significant. Now, with Woodward, there’s a natural progression that is ultimately controlled by each guests own goals and individual style, making it way more fun for everyone.”
All of the zones are integrated into the mountain and are designed to complement the natural features Mt. Bachelor’s terrain is known for, said Capozzi. “We’re an exposed volcano, with wind and weather that creates naturally playful terrain with plenty of wind lips and side hits. The Woodward park elevates that experience to the next level.”
To that end, one of the most unique Woodward zones is the Peace Park, which incorporates only natural terrain—like banked turns and tree-stump hits—all with an organic flow. The zone was designed by pro snowboarder and X Games gold medalist Danny Davis to be a place where skiers and riders could freely and creatively express themselves on the hill, with terrain for everyone—even beginners. “It’s a really playful terrain zone designed to for intermediate to advanced skiers,” Capozzi said. The Peace Park is accessible via the Skyliner lift.
Freestyle with the Family
Another innovative zone is Family Cross, a gentle groomed trail with a low-level race track of mellow banked slalom turns and tame skier-cross features. It adds a huge element of fun to skiing with the clan (because we all know that endless groomers can get a little old after a while). “The intention is to create terrain that the whole family can enjoy,” Capozzi said. “Kids and parents will be skiing side by side having fun.”
Family is, after all, what the new Woodward parks—and Bachelor as a whole—is all about. The resort has a huge local base of multi-generational skiers who all rip around together, Capozzi said, giving it a different vibe from resorts where kids go to the park and the parents link back up with them at the end of the day. “The culture here is all about integration, and we’re really intentional about that. We have a ton of rad dads and moms who ski with their kids—and even their parents, too. Woodward is going to cater to that, because it’s accessible to everybody.” So, parents, book now and thank us later—because finding joy on the hill with your kids is the closest thing we can find to the point of it all. And for us, “Send it, Mom!” might just be the sweetest words we’ll ever hear.