A snow park, also called a terrain/freestyle park, is an area of the mountain dedicated to freestyle skiing and snowboarding.
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.
The Snow 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.
Aerialists ski off 2 to 4 meter jumps, that propel them up to 6 meters in the air (which can be up to 20 meters above the landing height, given the landing slope). Once in the air, aerialists perform multiple flips and twists before landing on an inclined landing hill.
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.