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
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
Stoked for winter? I am too. And what better way to sustain that stoke for the 65 days until Opening Day at Big Sky Resort than to catch as many ski and snowboard movies as possible this fall. Here's a look at my fall of 2014 favorites:
1) Matchstick Productions' Days of My Youth
Big Sky Resort will be at Days of My Youth premiere in Missoula Oct. 3 and Big Sky Oct. 18. Come say hi!
2) Jeremy Jones' Higher
Jeremy Jones has been blazing a snowboard documentary trail for five years now as he explores the limits of what big mountain freeride snowboarding means in Deeper (2010), Further (2012), and Higher (2014). Check out Higher in Bozeman on Oct. 9 and Missoula on Oct. 10.
3) Teton Gravity Research's Almost Ablaze
TGR continues to impress with film from athletes Angel Collinson, Dana Flahr, Ian McIntosh, and Sage Cattabriga Alosa. See it with Big Sky Resort Sept. 26 in Big Sky.
4) Warren Miller's No Turning Back
Anything Warren Miller produces hits close to home as he resides in Big Sky so much of the year. Just hearing that iconic voice of ski movies makes me want to ski. This year it's no different. Check out No Turning Back in Helena Oct. 24, Missoula Oct. 25, and Bozeman Oct. 26.
"Where are all the female skiers?" This is not a slam on the Big Sky Shootout (or on any female skiers, including myself), but a reminder that I am not just an observer in this community, I'm also a participant. With only one female skier on screen (Hannah Holst, who absolutely killed it with those ‘80s eyes and ripping turns), why didn't more of us ladies make movies for the first annual Big Sky Shootout? For me I think it was the time constraints, or my fear of the editing room, but mostly I didn't make a film because it did not even occur to me to make one. This stalwart mentality to age-old customs of female creative insecurity is inexcusable. Female or not, perhaps you're also kicking yourself over not making a film. Needless to say, I have nothing but respect for the four films, filmmakers, and riders as they put everything out there for us to mock, cheer, and vote for, and that takes guts. Lone Peak Cinema's first annual Big Sky Shootout sponsored by Big Sky Resort was so much fun to attend. The sense of camaraderie in the sold out theater enhanced each films' storytelling ability as they were our stories shown to us from our peers (except perhaps winning film "Higher Love," which I hope is no one's story). For those who didn't get a ticket in time or just want to watch great ski films again, here they are in order from fourth place to first. Revel in the guts, glory, and gooberish stories shot in seven days and edited in two.
4th Place: "Natural Born Doobies"
**This video contains explicit content (profanity)
3rd Place: "No Name Movie"
**The music in this video contains explicit content (profanity)
2nd Place: "Fra-Breeze"
1st Place: "Higher Love"
Love the Big Sky Terrain Parks? I do too, even if I can't hit many features. Here are a few facts and tidbits from our own terrain park expert, Nate Bell, Big Sky Resort's Terrain Park Manager:
How long have you worked at Big Sky Resort?
How many parks do we have now?
Eight terrain parks total. Three large, three medium, and two small parks.
What new features are you most excited to a) build and b) hit?
We just finished a new feature called a lollipop that has become a huge hit in Zero Gravity Terrain Park. I'm most excited to hit The Ambush Jump Line on the far left of Ambush below Ramcharger Lift. They are decent sized and really fun.
The Lollipop now in Zero Gravity Terrain Park.
What can last year's terrain park fans expect differently out of this year's parks?
A new look to all of our features and a massive feature count of more than 100.
Can we expect to see any pro or semi-pro athletes in the parks this year?
They are always around you just have to keep an eye out for them. Two days ago our park crew spotted Nicolas Müller a Swiss pro snowboarder lapping Zero Gravity.
If any athlete could come, who should come and why?
The Traveling Circus crew, because they travel the entire country but rarely to Montana.
What's your favorite feature and your favorite park?
The 42' up-down rail in Zero Gravity Terrain Park.
Check out the Smokin' Aces: Ace of Hearts Slopestyle competition on Saturday, March 8, starting around noon at the Zero Gravity Terrain Park.
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