More learners to jib in new park this season
With more than 10,000 hours logged in a snow cat, Steve Petrie knows a thing or two about terrain parks.
He has been building Whistler-Blackcombs park for the past eight years and on Monday, Petrie and terrain park supervisor Stu Osborne saw their hard work pay off when they were presented with an award for Best Terrain Park by Ski Canada Magazine.
"Im stoked," said Osborne.
"Its an indication of how effective our team is."
Petrie, the terrain park grooming supervisor, echoed his excitement about the award.
"It lets you know where you stand in your own country, compared to other resorts," he said.
On hand to present the award was David Harkley, western sales and promotions manager for Ski Canada Magazine.
In the winter 2002 Best of Skiing in Canada issue, the magazine stated:
"Blackcombs Super Park is divided into intermediate and expert runs that allow the budding jibber to progressively ping off bigger, higher and harder-than-ever obstacles."
This year Whistler-Blackcomb is inviting even more people to check out their work, especially beginners who may be a little intimidated by the experts riding the park.
The new Big Easy Terrain Garden, near Catskinner chair beside the Childrens Adventure Park, is designed specifically for rookies and younger park users.
It is 3,116 feet long and has a vertical drop of 574 feet.
There are smaller rails, rollers and mini hits where learners can hone their skills before moving up.
Osborne said the park was designed with the idea of "progression" in mind.
"So people can work their way up," he said.
The Terrain Garden is for beginners to intermediates. The next step up is the Nintendo GAMECUBE Terrain Park, which is for intermediates.
The experts can tackle at least four or five 30- to 50-foot long table tops in the Highest Level Terrain Park, but they sign a waiver as well as wear a helmet at all times in the HL Park.
Osborne said the park will have more rails in new shapes this season.
There are more step up and step down features as well as new jibs on jumps.
The groomers have also improved the Snow Cross Track, which is rated intermediate to expert. The track is now wider, so there are more passing sections. There is also more variety to the course this year.
Another big change is the removal of the bus, a familiar landmark at the base of the half pipe.
"It just ended up being in the way all the time," said Petrie.
"Its gone to a scrap yard in the city. Its good to see it go."
Whistler-Blackcomb has a special grooming team solely for the terrain park and pipes.
The Super Pipe is on Blackcomb and the Half Pipe is on Whistler.
About 15 per cent of the park terrain on Whistler-Blackcomb is rated beginner, 50 per cent intermediate and 35 per cent advanced or expert.
Tomorrow when Blackcomb opens for the season there will about four or five rails in the main GAMECUBE park ready to ride and the half pipe may be open too. It all depends on the weather said Osborne.
The whole park will be operational by Christmas so that riders and skiers can check out first hand why Ski Canada Magazine ranked Whistler-Blackcombs terrain park as the best.