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Whistler-Blackcomb creates ‘controlled’ park


Super Park among the changes for 2001-2002 season

When Whistler and Blackcomb mountains open for the season less than three weeks from now, skiers and snowboarders can expect a few changes.

The most significant of these is the controlled separation of the terrain park on Blackcomb Mountain this season into amateur and expert zones.

"The goal of the Whistler Blackcomb park and pipe areas is to provide a park experience that allows a complete progression for all users," says Doug Forseth, senior vice president of operations. "Riders and skiers can improve their skill levels in each park before moving onto the next level. Guests will be able to pick a park that suits their ability level and learn in a controlled area."

The Super Park, which is part of the Nintendo Game Cube Terrain Park, will be divided into two sections, one for experts and one for advanced riders. Riders will not be allowed into the Super Park without signing a special waiver and obtaining a pass that indicates that they know the risks and are advanced in their abilities. If riders are under 18, a parent will have to sign the waiver before they enter the park.

The Super Park will be fenced off from the rest of the terrain park, and riders will have to show their pass to get in. The basic idea is to weed out less experienced and less committed casual riders from the advanced features, and to make sure parents know what their children are doing before they do it.

At the same time, more serious riders won’t have to share the advanced and expert features with beginner riders.

There will be two "hike a rail" sections separate from the jump sections in the Super Park, which will include some of the most challenging rail shapes and configurations in North America for experts boarders. Other advanced and expert features include big tabletops, hips, spines, a snowcross track, and the superpipe.

There will be a beginner park on Whistler Mountain and the halfpipe located off of Emerald Express will be reintroduced this year, although the Super Park on Blackcomb is the only park designated for advanced and expert riders.

Whistler Mountain will also continue to turn the Green Acres run on Whistler Mountain into a Family Zone, featuring a large slow zone. The area allows skiers and snowboarders to descend at a slower pace to increase their experience and build confidence before exploring the rest of the mountains.

In addition, work crews spent the summer making significant slope improvement. Many trails and ski-outs from the mountain were widened and shaped.

Snowmaking around the Olympic area was expanded and summer grooming and snow fencing was added to the area to ensure good early season conditions for beginner skiers and boarders.

The mountains are scheduled to open on Nov. 22.