I was out skiing the other day, taking some photos and enjoying the spring conditions. I hit the usual suspects to warm up the legs (hot laps on Recoil and Trigger), then decided to mosey on over to Blundersmoke to check out the scene over there. I'm not a park rider by any stretch, but I love witnessing the evolution of Gunstock's park trails as the season rolls on. The spring, in particular, is a fun time of year over there. With warm temps, slushy jumps, and Closing Day in sight, there is a healthy population of tee shirt clad skiers and riders adding onto their tallies of seconds spent in the air and on the rails this season.
As I approached the bottom of Blundersmoke, I noticed that a mini hike park had been built. There was a group of skiers and riders of all ages sessioning the small features so I stopped to observe and chat with a few of them.
Colton Marquis is 11 years old and just started really getting into park skiing this winter. He and his friend, Jack, were looking to play on some smaller features and saw some corrugated pipe and small rails at the base next to the Park Barn.
“We asked if we could put this stuff in the snow and try to hit it and a couple of the guys from the Park Crew came over and we all built it together. That’s why I like the park. It’s like a big community here. Everybody is really supportive and excited to do what they’re doing and they’re just as excited to teach you new stuff and see you get better at it. They have really encouraged me to stick with it.”
Colton looks forward to maybe working on the Park Crew someday.
Max Ford, 17, has been riding at Gunstock for 10 years.
“The Gunstock Park Crew builds some really cool features, they’re creative with it, and they let us help them build fun stuff like this from time to time. You’ll see a lot of people coming into the park this time of year to mix it up and try new things. You’ll probably see me here tomorrow hitting a different set of features, it helps keep things interesting late in the season.”
Will Baldwin, 23 has been on the Park Crew for 4 years.
“We’ve put this stuff on the side of the trail for the past week so we can build different features every day. People can choose how they want the setup and we can help them build things the way they’d like to see them. It’s nice and soft in the spring so it’s easier to try new things when the snow is a little more forgiving. Everybody gets a little more creative this year with how they’re building features and with how they’re hitting them.”
Again, I'm no park skier, but if you'd asked me what corrugated pipe was when I was 11 years old, I would have no idea what you were talking about. Maybe there's something else to all of this play in the park... they say healthy brain development comes from play in many cases, and I think the park is a prime example of the growth that can happen in the people riding it as the park itself evolves.
The metamorphosis of the Terrain Parks over the course of the season is truly something to be celebrated. Shout-out to our snowmakers and groomers for delivering the goods, setting the stage, and helping build some gems out there. And many thanks to our awesome Park Crew for building features, making them pretty, keeping them safe, keeping them fun, tearing them down, and always, always, keeping it interesting.
PS-- If you're not already following @gunstockparks on Instagram, you should be! Check out their account and follow on for awesome park content.