Terrain Park Etiquette

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A snowboarder does a trick on a feature in a terrain park

Freestyle terrain parks range in sizes and may include both natural terrain as well as man-made features, such as jumps, boxes, rails, half or quarter pipes and banks. It's fun. It's challenging. You get to experess yourself in your own unique way. In this article, we’ll provide you tips for your first time hitting the terrain park. Before hitting a freestyle terrain park, make sure you’re comfortable on your skis or snowboard and you can stay in control.

 

Follow the Rules

Read the signs at the terrain park entrance, which provide reminders on how to stay safe and share the area with others. Ski areas participate in a safety initiative for terrain parks called Park Smart that provides common sense guidelines for how to use the parks. The acronym stands for:

  • Start Small: Work your way up and build your skills.
  • Make a Plan for every feature you plan to use, every time.
  • Always Look before you drop.
  • Respect the features and other users.
  • Take It Easy: Know your limits. Ride within your ability.

 

Ride or Ski a Park Within Your Ability

Orange and black terrain park signage

Know your surroundings and where you’re headed. If it’s your first time, pay attention to the size of the park. Most freestyle terrain parks are labeled with an orange sign that tells you the size of the features, ranging from extra-small to extra-large. If you’re just starting out, aim for the smallest park available, which generally has introductory terrain and less difficult features. Work your way up to larger features.

 

Watch Others

You can learn a lot by watching others hit a rail or jump before trying it yourself. Where did they start? How many speed checks or turns did they make?

 

Check Out the Feature First

A snowboarder practices a tail press on the ground before trying it on a box

Ski or ride alongside the jump, box or rail to scope it out on a test lap before hitting it. Many terrain parks have an area or unofficial “lane” out of the travel path that’s specifically for people who aren’t hitting the features to watch.

 

Know Where to Start and Finish

Most features have a designated staging area where you start and land the trick.

 

Don’t Cut Across a Feature

Avoid cutting in front of takeoffs or across the bottoms of landings. You’ll likely ruin someone’s line, or worse: force someone to crash into you. 

 

Call Your Drops 

There’s usually an area at the top of a rail, jump or pipe where people line up. Scoot your way forward with the crowd. When it’s your turn, call out “dropping” or “dropping next” or simply put your hand up. Make sure to give the person in front of you enough room to clear the feature before dropping in. 

 

Wait Your Turn

Don’t be the one who snakes the line or interrupts another’s flow by cutting in the middle of a series of features.

 

Clear Landings Quickly

A snowboarder ollieing off a box

If you fall, try to get up and get out of the way as soon as you can. People dropping in behind you may not be able to see you or stop in time. If you see someone else fall, make an “X” in the air with your arms to signal that that feature is closed.

 

If You Don’t Know, Ask

It’s common and totally OK to ask someone in the park how a feature works. That’s part of the community. 

 

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Contributing Experts

Amy Gan

Amy is a PSIA-AASI national snowboard team member, and the lead snowboard trainer at Mount Snow Resort in southern Vermont. Amy spends her off season mountain biking as well as teaching mountain biking.