SAM'S 12th Annual Terrain Park Contest
Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry this year! We received nearly 30 great feature and event entries from around the world. Congratulations to this year's winners who will receive a generous bag of loot from Burton and 360 days of bragging rights!
Feature Category Winner:
Snowshoe Mountain, W.V.
Event Category Winner:
Wachusett Mountain, MA
Since the 2008-09 winter season, Killington, Vt., has been home to The Stash. Most of the features found in this terrain park are built from natural materials, such as trees, stumps, logs, and exposed rocks. To the untrained eye, this six-foot-by-six-foot boulder just looks like a large rock. But to the savvy skier or rider, it allows for endless options of creativity using the snow transition as the approach point.
The folks at Mountain High in SoCal spent four weeks building this crazy feature for the second annual Buck Off pre-season contest. Combining six different features into one setup, the left side has a pyramid box and a flat ledge. In the middle is a flat-down round rail, and on the right side are three ledges. The feature can also be split down the middle, turning the left and right sides into two separate features. The construction tools needed to complete this job included a steel frame, Lexan top sheets, plywood siding, Astroturf, and a vinyl wrap.
For the 2015-16 winter season, the crew at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows built a creative and fun progression park for riders of all ability levels. The Gold Coast jump line included five jumps of various sizes. The first jump was roughly 25 feet, and the second set of angled takeoffs ranged from 30 to 35 feet. Jump three was approximately 40-45 feet. The two angled takeoffs on the fourth jump ranged from 45 to 50 feet, and the fifth and final jump was 50 to 55 feet. The jump line also offered several creative features, including a road-gap step-down, quarterpipe side transitions, and a hip-style takeoff. Led by grooming supervisor Brandon Dodds, this project took one week to complete using a robust hand crew and three cats.
Each year, Whistler Blackcomb seems to outdo itself. In the spring, park builder Charles Beckinsale built a huge four-jump-to-table feature in the 7th Heaven area on Blackcomb. While Matchstick Productions came up with the rough idea for the feature, Beckinsale brought it to life after eight days and 85 hours of grooming with two cats. The two side jumps were about 65 feet to the knuckle, and the inside jumps were roughly a 25-foot gap to the butter box, then a 20-foot step down to the landing. The unique thing about this feature is it allows for several athletes to hit it simultaneously.
Built for versatility, the Thunderdome at Mt. Hood Meadows allows riders to access it from any angle. This massive feature contains two double c-rails on the left and right side, and has four rideable surfaces. While the Meadows park staff came up with the Thunderdome idea, Kurt Heine constructed the rails. Overall, it took two months to complete this 20-foot long, 12-foot wide, 6-foot tall feature. It took one night for Meadow’s lead groomer and a five-man hand crew to build the table and deck using a PistenBully, and place the feature in the Forest terrain park.
During the winter of 2016, Australia’s Mt. Hotham Alpine Resort teamed up with the Rusty Toothbrush crew—a group of pro snowboarders, filmmakers, and photographers—to create a next-level terrain park. Located in the central hub of the resort, the park included features such as a 25-foot hip and 32-foot tunnel combination. Several wooden features were also built, including a six-foot rainbow rail and a six-foot flat bar. Using shovels, rakes and a push cat, the Rusty Toothbrush terrain park took four days and two nights to build with a crew of 10 people.
Sierra-at-Tahoe pro athletes Maddie Bowman and Nick Poohachoff were featured in a private photo shoot that took place in a custom, top-to-bottom, natural feature terrain park at the resort last spring. Relying on natural terrain to help shape and build the features, the park included several rock gaps, a 70-foot-by-40-foot hip, a replica of the Holy Bowly, an 18-foot halfpipe, plus numerous jib and natural features. Twelve staff members spent two weeks bringing it to life with one cat and lots of handwork. Their hard work paid off, and the shoot was a success.
In April, Stoneham, Que., hosted a private video shoot featuring freestyle skier JF Houle, Olympian Sebastien Toutant, and a dozen of their closest friends. JF had dreamed about doing a private shoot at Stoneham for a few years, and with the help of his brother Nicolas—Stoneham’s snow parks manager—the idea came to life. This 60-foot jump and 50-foot hip setup took roughly 36 hours to complete using a two cats and three diggers/shapers, who built the spine landing by hand. Stoneham’s terrain park consultant, Today’s Park, designed the jump with the side hip option, and added some personal touches to the shape and cut.
Erik Clark, terrain park manager at Wyoming’s Snowy Range Ski Area, had always wanted to build a welcome-sign feature that looks like the sign marking the entrance to Medicine Bow National Forest, in which Snowy Range operates. With the help of his friend Nick Roma, the idea became a reality. With Nick’s fabrication work, they spent 24 hours creating a 70 percent scale model of the sign, but changed the text to read Medicine Bow Terrain Park. To build it, they used one- and two-inch square steel framing and a variety of lumber, along with a welder, grinder, and some woodworking tools. The sign itself is roughly eight feet long and five feet wide. The rainbow box on top is one-foot wide and 24 feet long, and is easily removable.
With 170 features spread across eight terrain parks, the staff at Mount Snow’s Carinthia Parks in Vermont is pretty creative when it comes to building new things to ride. Rory Bruder, the head feature fabricator, repurposed some springs from an old chairlift by welding them to a rail. Using tools like a plasma cutter and a grinder, a week of trial-and-error testing produced this one-of-a-kind, 24-foot spring rail. Needless to say, this wobbly feature caught a few riders by surprise and definitely kept them on their toes.
At Timberline Ski Area, Ore., the Paintbrush trail was a less than ideal area to build a flow park due to its inconsistent grade, strange cants, and holes—but that area of the mountain gets a ton of snow, so the park crew persevered to create the Paintbrush Flow Park last winter. Influenced by Portland’s concrete skate parks, Logan Stewart and Caleb Hamilton came up with the idea. Using a park cat and an 18-foot Zaugg, the grooming crew built rollers, spines, tables, hips, and bowls, all within one week. Once complete, the Paintbrush Flow Park was full of features rarely seen on snow allowing riders to have numerous options when choosing their lines.
Aiming to create the ultimate technical feature with sections linked by a single takeoff, two staff members from Mountaineer Parks at Snowshoe Mountain, W. Va., brought this baby to life. Located in the area’s medium terrain park, the feature includes an 8-foot-by-12-foot wall with a creeper ledge, a 24-foot down tube with expanded metal skirting, a 10-foot jersey barrier rail sided with perforated metal, and a six-foot-by-four-foot perforated metal fence. Total build time once on snow, including transportation, setup, installation, and shaping the takeoff, took just four hours.
Like many park feature ideas, this unusual “up-up-up” rail started out as a sketch drawing on a bar napkin, but it quickly became a big hit at Windham Mountain Resort, N.Y. The park staff spent eight crafty hours bringing this rail to life, using a three-inch steel round pipe, and two-inch square tube supports with three-quarter inch plywood that was rounded at the corners and painted. Riders can approach the obstacle at different speeds and test out various trick combinations. Later in the winter season, the park staff buried the blade of the rail just slightly and placed it on a steeper grade, turning the feature into a nice and easy down-flat-down rail.
The team at Whitetail Mountain Resort, Pa., created a bowl-to-pipe-tunnel as a signature feature. The bowl looks similar to an in-ground pool feature commonly seen in skateboard parks. Located 40-feet above the entrance of the halfpipe, the bowl is 50 feet wide and roughly 10 feet deep. While riding the bowl, guests can either launch out of it, or gap from the downhill end of the bowl directly into the halfpipe. Mid-way down the halfpipe, guests can opt to ride through a 12-foot-tall, 12-foot-wide, 30-foot-long tunnel made from galvanized pipe. Both the tunnel and bowl were built over the course of three eight-hour night shifts. To cut the pipe and shape the bowl, Whitetail used a Prinoth 350 and Prinoth 275 Park Cat with a Zaugg.
Looking to start an annual contest with room for growth, Windham Mountain, N.Y., started the Nightmare Before Christmas. Features used for the contest included a steel El Nino tombstone made from 1.5-inch steel pipe, a steel tube elbow, two-inch square tube for the base, and some scrap sheet metal from an old oil tank. The tombstone, which took five hours to build, was used as pole jam. Death’s Scythe up-up-up rail was constructed from a three-inch steel round pipe and required eight hours of building time. Meanwhile, Johnny O’Connor rolled up to the resort with the Christmas tree on the roof of his car. Given the lack of snow, the contest was held using a hike park and the setup was built to follow how the snow guns had shaped the terrain. In the end, close to 60 riders competed.
Each Christmas, pro snowboarder Chris Grenier returns home to Wachusett Mountain, Mass., to host a contest for the locals. However, due to the lack of snow, the 2015 edition of Holiday Hammers was delayed until February. This fun, jam format contest pins 80 riders in a competition against a group of pros, as well as take part in a one-footed race. The course setup includes a few rail options, a jump and a hip. The overall signature feature is an eight-foot-tall hammer made from recycled plywood and corrugated piping. Using a Prinoth BR350, terrain park manager Andrew Roy and his team spent two nights getting everything ready. With a portion of each entry fee donated to Boarding for Breast Cancer, the event raised $750 for charity. Even Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made an appearance.
Since 2012-13, Roundtop Mountain, Pa., has hosted a grom event for skiers and snowboarders ages 6-to-12. However, after noticing a lack of encouragement for the younger generation, in 2014-15 the resort expanded its grom contest into an event series. Four grom-specific contests are held annually, traditionally on every other Saturday in January and February, with one event scheduled at night. The park crew builds a new park setup for each contest with a maximum of six features. Complete with a live DJ, photographer, and a one-hour coaching session before the contest kicks off, Roundtop has created a clever way to attract an underserved audience.
SAM’s November 2015 Bushwood Open cover boys are back at it again, this time with the Cacti Jam. The idea for this event came up when Arizona Snowbowl’s freestyle terrain supervisor Josh Heydon and Overthrow Clothing owner Andrew Reid wanted to create a contest that could showcase the unique environment of the resort, and tie-in some of the clothing brand’s core concepts. The second annual Cacti Jam, held on Feb. 27, 2016, featured more than 40 riders competing for $5,000 in cash and prizes. The centerpiece of the event, a giant 20-foot Saguaro Cactus made from a 12-inch diameter remnant snowmaking pipe, required 19 hours to complete. The cactus was used as a hitching post during the event, and it remained in the terrain park for the rest of the winter season.
In March, Snowboarder magazine and Okemo Mountain Resort, Vt., teamed up for the Adidas Over/Under event. Featuring two limbo stick setups, the end goal was pretty simple—see who could ollie the highest and limbo the lowest. More than 50 riders ollied up and over the bar, but in the end Ralph Kucharek was crowned the champ for reaching an impressive 3.5 feet. Following the ollie event, riders perfected their euro-carving skills by limboing underneath the stick. Given the lack of snow last season, this high-energy event didn’t require much setup aside from creating a start area and installing 100 feet of fencing.
Killington, Vt., is one of three resorts in the United States with a Neff Land terrain park. Given the outer space theme of the park, Killington and Neff joined forces to host the inaugural Neff Land Space Jam. With $2,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs, along with a Neff sponsorship for the top grom, more than 100 riders came out to play. Pro snowboarders Scotty Lago, Tim Humphrey and Ian Hart even served as guest judges. When competitors returned to earth, River Williams walked away with a new softgoods sponsor.
In 2011, the folks at Monster Energy concocted an idea for a new snowboarding event called Boarderstyle. Combining elements of snowboardcross and slopestyle, four riders simultaneously race head-to-head down a course with banked turns, berms, and a pond skim. However, before crossing the finish line, they must perform a mandatory rotation on the final feature, which is often a jump. In 2016, this fun and competitive contest stopped at Fernie Alpine Resort in British Columbia. Approximately 100 competitors showed up to test their speed through the course, and show off their skills on the 30-foot jump. Top honors for the men’s and lady’s categories went to Charles Reid and Jamie Warner, respectively.
As one of the longest running snowboard contests north of the border, 2016 marked the 19th edition of the Showcase Showdown at Whistler Blackcomb. While past editions of the event featured a big air, halfpipe, or slopestyle contest—or a mix of all three—the WB crew decided to reinvent the wheel once again. The 2016 edition was labeled as a family reunion jam for riders young, and young-at-heart. From a 50-foot step-over jump, to the grom zone with mini sized features for little rippers, and a hand-dug quarter pipe for the old dogs, there truly was something for everyone. It took four days to prepare the contest setup, and eight hours just to dig the pipe. Nearly 100 riders of all-ages showed up, so the effort was well worth it. Photo credit: Rich Glass.
In March, Red Bull sent a few of its world-renowned team riders to compete in the first NordiX event on North American soil at Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. NordiX is essentially a ski cross contest where competitors wear cross-country skis. The 800-meter-long course, complete with drops, berms, rolls, and an uphill section, took five days to build. Slopes manager Bryan Kroker and his park crew used Prinoth snowcats, winch cats, and lots of hand shaping and raking to perfect the course.
Stevens Pass, Wash., extended its 2015-16 season for an extra weekend in April to host the 2nd annual Rhythm N’ Bruise contest. Working alongside one of RNB founders Zak Basher, the resort overhauled its terrain park to incorporate elements often found in mountain bike trails, such as a giant banked slalom and a pump track. Together, they also designed a toilet bowl feature that was a mix of a hip and a pole jam gap. Ten park staff members worked around the clock for four days using two PistenBully 400s to put everything in place.
In January, Stoneham, Quebec played host to the Empire Games presented by Burton. Empire Boardshop was looking to host a snowboard contest where two riders each had their own track and would ride a mirror version of the course. Working with Stoneham’s park consultant, Today’s Park, they created a unique setup complete with multiple tunnel bridges that riders could ride on top of or through. The tunnels were created using a combination of recycled and newly purchased tubes. Each tube was cut in half and screwed into a metal arch to hold it in place. A crew of five guys, including one cat operator and four shapers, spent three days constructing the event setup.
Thanks to Krush Kulesza at Snowboy Productions, Loon Mountain was the place to be in late-March 2016. With a handful of invited pro riders including Scott Stevens and Mike Ravelson, and a few key members of the press, everyone rolled into New Hampshire to take part in a three-day private shred session. The over-the-top park setup had six distinct zones featuring wall rides, a channel gap, and more obstacles than you could count. As photos from the exclusive event started getting leaked online, Loon decided to keep the park open for a fourth and final day and invited the general public to come out and play.
The team at Thredbo Parks sure knows how to throw a party. In August, the Australian resort hosted the third installment of the Transfer Banked Slalom, otherwise knows as the “Tournament of Turns.” The first turn of the course featured an over/under style toilet bowl, where riders had to do a full 270º rotation to exit through the “drain.” From here, riders made their way through a series of tight turns and a rhythm section where they were greeted with a wall ride. Following that was more hips, berms, a second rhythm section and a natural halfpipe. Constructing this monstrous course required six days of pushing snow, chain sawing tunnels and hand shaping features. As for the colorful mural designed by Andrew “Grassi” Kelaher, that took six hours to complete from start to finish.
Last winter, Minnesota’s Spirit Mountain hosted one of eight stops of the Tow Up, Thrown Down rail jam. This unique Midwest contest series is based on riding towropes. Even though Spirit Mountain doesn’t have a towrope, that didn’t stop it from hosting the event. With the help of three snowmobile drivers, riders were towed to top of the course in no time. The contest setup included four rails for riders to choose from, with one of them being a newly constructed 40-foot tube. The tube didn’t have any center support making it overly flexible. Spirit Mountain spent one week constructing the tube and preparing the course with the assistance of a PistenBully 400 Park Pro and several park crew members doing rake work