New terrain park manager Adam West likes blunt 3's, tube jibs, and working in the shadow of Lone Peak. Check out the full Q&A for more info on Big Sky Resort Terrain Parks. Then like Big Sky Resort Terrain Parks on Facebook and follow @ridebigskyresort on Instagram.
Where'd you come from?
Seven Springs, Pennsylvania. And I worked at Hidden Valley. They're in the southwest of Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh. Every year I thought about moving West so I kept looking for the right opportunity. Big Sky certainly gave me that.
What did you do at Seven Springs?
Running terrain parks. Terrain parks are all the draw back East. You could say it's because they are not in the shadow of Lone Peak.
How long have you been working on terrain parks?
This is my eighth season.
What do you like about terrain parks out West?
I like that they are all spread out even though that makes work a little harder. They are all over the mountain, which is good because if you're cruising down Headwaters you can still go down to Zero Gravity. Or if it's too windy and a lift is on hold you have Swifty 2.0 at the base area. And I enjoy not pushing ice around that is for sure.
Tell us about changes that will be made in the resort's seven terrain parks this year.
Freestyle Forrest has been revamped top to bottom. We have a new wall ride; new launch ramp, which is like a North Shore bike ramp; dirt work on the jumps; and all the logs have seen an upgrade on their sliding surface.
What did you like about Big Sky Resort when you first started?
We have a tremendous rail fleet. They've done a good job over the years of building up the larger features and now I'll take a focus on the smaller ones.
What is the hardest feature to build?
A well-built jump. You have to take into account the pitch of the parent slope and the amount of snow you have. Sometimes you have to be realistic about what can be built over what you want to build. And that's really pertinent to this year. The biggest change to the parks this year without making promises of jumps would be adding a focus on flow throughout the terrain parks: How features ride together instead of how large or gnarly individual features are, but how they fit together in the whole picture.
What kind of education have you gone through to become a terrain park manager?
It's mostly all experiential. I had an opportunity to go to Cutter's Camp at Mt. Hood in 2013, and that showed me the risk management side of the game.
Did you do well in physics?
I did not do well in physics, no. I do well in applied physics. *laughs
In an ideal world, what would you want to build at Big Sky Resort?
A consistent, medium-size jump line: A Three Pack with rails leading into it. Classic Slopestyle.
The first terrain park ever was at Bear Valley Ski Area about 25 years ago, which was not that long ago. They built it just to get snowboarders away from skiers so it was a snowboard park.
When I was young I was fighting those ways. I remember these little mountains in Pennsylvania and I was trying to go into the snowboard park as a skier and kept getting kicked out. But by the time I started working parks we'd moved past that "skiers suck" mentality.
What is your favorite trick?
I love blunt 3's. And we need a jump to do it.
What is your favorite rail?
Any tube jib. Lift tubes, down-flat-down tubes. We have a lot of tubes.
What events are you most looking forward to this winter?
I can't wait for Snobar.
What made you choose Big Sky Resort?
The opportunity. It's a big shot for me to come out West and bring my image of terrain parks that Iv'e grown up with on the east coast to a bigger canvas.
Adam West building Swifty 2.0.
Photo: Adam West
"Oh! The snow, the beautiful snow. Filling the sky and earth below. Over the housetops, over the street, Over the heads of the people you meet. Dancing, Flirting, Skimming along." -J.W. Watson
A few weeks ago, BBC published an article titled: "Why do we get so excited about snow?" The article caught my eye for two reasons: 1) I do get excited about snow and cannot always articulate why; 2) I did not know why the British, of who most don't live in the mountains, get excited about snow?
From what I can tell those who do not live in the mountains get excited about snow for some of the same reasons as those who do live in the mountains: Feeling of nostalgia, holiday season, outdoor activities, and its uniqueness to certain parts of the world. However, the BBC article also pointed out that this sentimental feeling toward snow is relatively new for human beings. Skiing has only existed in the modern form since the 1700s and snow used to be something to fear. Then why do we love snow so much now?
The most unique answer the BBC arrives at is that our weather memories are short and mostly positive. We remember shredding Shedhorn laps last March with glee, but have already forgotten when the least snowy day of the year was last year. We enjoy snow. We look ahead. We keep skiing.
Photos © Ryan Day Thompson, 2014 | www.ryandaythompson.com
Good things come to those who wait. We've been waiting for winter since summer ended and are so glad she's here. Early morning corduroy, skiing with friends, trying new tricks, and enjoying the outdoors are just the tip of the why-we-ski iceberg. I had the chance to tag along for a portion of the filming for this video and we had as much fun as it looks.
Skier: Corey Seemann Video: Michael Jezak
Turkey for a Ticket came about through the leadership team at Moonlight Basin in 2007. They wanted December to be a month of giving, and were aiming to build the day into a clothing and food drive, but were so successful at the food part it stuck. Since the first Turkey for a Ticket the fundraiser has collected 188,788 pounds of food for the Gallatin Valley, Madison Valley, and Big Sky Food Banks.
Last year I had the opportunity to help out with Turkey for a Ticket. After lots of smiling, collecting pounds and pounds of food, and handing out free skiing, I had time to reflect on how amazing this food drive is.
Not only does it feel good to give to our neighbors, but Turkey for a Ticket is such a fun way to do it. Over the years I've participated in clothing drives, food drives, and toy drives during the Holidays, but never have I seen this much collection in one day in one place. I'm proud to be a part of a company that stocks the food banks, and proud to help out with another year of Turkey for a Ticket.
Turkey for a Ticket 2013 at Madison Base Area. Look at those beautiful birds.
Week one at Big Sky Resort has been a solid week of awesome skiing. Just prior to opening week I heard my first avalanche bomb of the season go off (thanks to our awesome Ski Patrol) while sitting in my Huntley Lodge office. It's like the racer's starting gun signaling the start of a great season.
After Opening Day almost twice as many runs at Big Sky Resort opened up, which gave me the chance to do a few Lobo, Calamity Jane, Crazy Horse, and Tippy's Tumble laps on my lunch break. I used to be frustrated by the amount of time it took to change into ski gear and carry my skis and poles to the lift just to turn around in an hour and get back to work. My sentiment has changed drastically after a winter season like 2013-14: We are meant to be skiing and I'm lucky enough to have a job where I can do that every day of the season. It also doesn't hurt that I have my quick change into ski gear down.
With one week of skiing under my belt I look forward to watching the snow accumulate, Challenger Lift opening, Uncle Dan's Cookies at the Tram, and taking my first Liberty Bowl leg-burner of the season.
The feeling of waking up to fresh snow on the ground and hearing bombs from my house in Town Center is how the first week back on skis feels. We may only be skiing Mr. K and Calamity Jane for the first few days, but that feeling never gets old.
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