Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding

Most resorts now have a terrain park and many big resorts even have multiple options – and for good reason as they're a serious amount of fun!

Parks may seem a little intimidating on first glance, with big kickers and solid metal rails scattered across the mountain. But with a bit of know-how and a keen eye for safety (see below), spending some time in the terrain park will take your holiday to the next level. There's quite a lot of lingo to get used to, so to help out here's our in-depth guide.

Features in the Terrain Park

Every snow park has a different variety of features but some, such as kickers and rails, are pretty commonplace. Features offer a platform for performing different tricks or combinations of tricks and this is where the snow park really comes into its own, offering a different sort of riding experience than you will find on the piste or in the powder.


Kickers range in size and difficulty, from small jumps to larger snow ramps that launch you into the air in order to do aerial tricks. The landing zone is lower than the take-off which allows you to safely complete a trick.


Rollers are a good stepping stone towards kickers, pipes, walls and spine ramps. Often found directly next to a kicker, a roller is an undulation in the terrain. If you jump at the righ tmoment, it is possible to get enough air to perform tricks. They are an integral part of ski and snowboard cross courses.

Half Pipe

The staple in the pipe family. The half pipe lets you do a series of tricks in one run off the top or “lip” of the walls on each side, with the transition areas between allowing you to maintain momentum down the length of the pipe.

Super Pipe

The super pipe is the half pipe’s big brother and, as the name suggests, everything including the height of the walls, length of the transitions and length of the pipe itself is larger. Super pipes are a popular choice at pro events such as the Winter X Games.

Quarter Pipe

The quarter pipe is a cross between a kicker and the halfpipe. Consisting of one shorter side of a halfpipe, there is one transition to the lip of the wall but instead of clearing the feature (as on a kicker), you land back on the same transition you took off from.


Rails vary from the conventional straight flat type to everything from s-shapes and rainbows to downwards, kinked features – every snow park will offer something different. Their construction will also be different, ranging from a single barrel or flat bar to a double or triple barrel.


Boxes refer to any box-shaped object that snowboarders and skiers can jump over or slide across. Because of their width, they can be good to practice on before moving on to the more technically demanding rails.

Table tops

A table top owes some of its being to a kicker but unlike its relative, the ramp leads you to a flat deck area – the table top – which you jump over to reach an equal and opposite landing zone on the other side of the feature.


Walls are also related to the quarter pipe but, as they are constructed from materials like wood, the style of riding is different. This can range from stalling or sliding on the top edge, to planting on the main body of the wall.


Terrain Park Safety

A lot of it comes down to common sense and respecting the other riders around you but there are some general tips to bear in mind.

If you’re new to the snow park, it’s a good idea to start out on the smaller, beginner features. Most resorts build beginner-friendly features, often marked with colours or signs for difficulty, and some resorts even offer dedicated beginner snow parks.

As your skills and confidence grow, remember to still ride within your ability level and know your limits. If you want to ramp it up a notch then you could look into freestyle courses either in resort or at UK real snow and dry slopes.

Just like the piste, the snow park can be affected by changing snow conditions, usage levels and grooming. If you see that a feature, or even the whole snowpack, is out of bounds, it’s advisable to respect the warning.

Make sure you assess a feature as well as its landing zone before you approach it or “drop in” so that you’re familiar with what you’re attempting. This may mean riding through the snow park to scope out the terrain first or using your first run as a warm up.

Once you’re ready to have a go, check the feature and its landing area are clear and alert other riders (raising your hand is a common gesture) before you drop in. Maintain control as you carry out your trick and then quickly clear the landing area for other riders.

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