Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR) is taking the unusual step of removing all the jumps from their terrain parks this season in an effort to make their mountain resorts safer.
“All man-made snow jumps will be eliminated from RCR terrain parks this season,” said Matt Mosteller, senior director of business development for RCR.
“We have found that one of the main issues that increase the likelihood of serious injury on our mountains is big air. When we are making decisions about safety at our resorts, the big jumps in the terrain parks always come into the equation. We decided to make a change.”
At the same time RCR is adding new rails and features to its advanced parks, and creating beginners parks at several resorts. They have also added a Rail Jam Series to their calendar for this season, with contests at Lake Louise Mountain Resort, Fernie Alpine Resort, and Nakiska.
The changes will also apply to RCR resorts at Kimberley, Mont-Sainte-Anne and Stoneham.
Comments on a Fernie website were overwhelmingly negative. Several people suggested that the decision to remove the jumps had more to do with insurance and liability concerns than safety. They made note of the recent court case where a 27-year-old skier who was paralyzed while riding a terrain park at the Summit at Snoqualmie successfully sued the resort for $14 million.
Others complained that they bought passes to RCR resorts at least partly for the terrain parks, and wish they had that information before they bought their passes.
Still others noted that getting rid of the jumps would only prompt skiers and boarders to build their own jumps in and out of bounds at the resorts, increasing the risk of avalanches and injury and interfering with the public — all issues that gave rise to terrain park riding in the first place.
One rider from the U.K. complained that the timing of the announcement couldn’t be worse.
“This is absolutely devastating. I just arranged to spend the season in Fernie with a group of friends. We’re all traveling over from the UK. Rented a house, bought season tickets, everything and now one of the most important features on the hill gets pulled. I feel absolutely cheated. This should have been announced (sic) a long time ago so people like myself could have arranged to go somewhere that was existing in the 21 st century…
“As mentioned, a well maintained terrain park provides the best and safest environment for people to progress. It will be a nightmare when folk are trying to make all their own jumps onto sketchy landings off-piste.”