Shaping Smugglers’ Notch Resort’s Terrain Parks
Karen Boushie, email@example.com
SMUGGLERS' NOTCH, Vt.
Rick Witham joined the mountain operations team at Smugglers’ this Winter as terrain parks manager responsible for conceptualizing, building and maintaining the park features at Smugglers’. Although new to this position, Rick is a familiar face on the mountain. He has been a part of the park events team for several seasons helping with park events and has been actively involved with the Smugglers’ Notch Ski and Snowboard Club’s youth training program for over a decade, including four years as head coach of the snowboard program.
Rick’s involvement with events, the club, and his own family’s interest in snowboarding (his son Greg was in the club’s snowboarding program from age 10 to 18) has given him a unique and broad perspective on the communities who enjoy Smugglers’ terrain parks. His primary goal as terrain parks manager was to create a progression park system – featuring four separate parks – in order to accommodate a wide range of rider and skier ability levels and perhaps entice more skiers and riders into trying the park experience. Rick says, “I really wanted to develop parks that would start with one designed for guests to become comfortable with park features, and progress from there to the next park as their skills increase.”
Rick has expanded the progression park experience at Smugglers’ to four parks:
Log Jam Park for beginners features spines and rollers with a fun box. Log Jam is in the Morse Highlands area, a pod of trails for novice skiers and riders with its own dedicated lift.
Prohibition Park on Madonna Mountain’s intermediate Playground trail currently features two rails and three jumps for intermediate skiers and riders.
Birch Run Park on Sterling Mountain is a mid- to higher level park currently featuring six rails and five jumps.
The Zone Park, also on Sterling, developed for experts, currently features four rails and seven jumps. The Zone is served by a rope tow and is most often the site for Smugglers’ park events that include rail jams, slopestyle and big air contests.
Rick is working to keep communication and feedback flowing with park users. He teamed with other representatives from Smugglers’ mountain operations and ski school to hold an open forum early in the season to share information about Smugglers’ park development and respond to questions. And since accessibility if of most importance to park users, he’s trying hard to keep each park accessible to its particular fans while still pursuing regular upkeep and maintenance.
The Zone at Smugglers’ will host a slopestyle event on February 12 and a big air final event on April 2. A special rail jam will be held on March 5 to benefit the Molly Rowlee Fund supporting families with kids undergoing treatment for cancer.
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