Cutter's Camp 2013 Wrap-Up

SAM Magazine--May 22, 2013--Timberline, Mt. Hood--The 2013 Cutter's Camp gathers over 80 campers and panelists at Timberline Lodge, Ore., for SAM Magazine's 11th annual Cutter's Camp--a hands-on education and networking event that gathers like-minded individuals who all share a passion for the progression of freestyle terrain. This was the western installment of the camp (the East was held last month at Carinthia, Mount Snow). Together, the camps drew over 130 resorts from North America and some overseas.

Cutter's Camp East Gallery below...

Both camps kicked off with the Transworld Business Fireside chat led by industry experts Mike Lewis of Transworld Business, Peak Resorts' Elia Hamilton, Timberline's Logan Stewart and Joe Hession of Hession Design. The panel shared a look at current participation numbers and how park managers and their staff can help shape and even lead the next evolution in snowboarding by providing features and terrain that engage more sliders at every age and ability level to have fun learning and progressing on freestyle terrain.

Day one at camp started with small break-out sessions where campers exchanged best practices with fellow campers and industry experts on a number of topics including: park design, flow, daily maintenance and safety procedures, interdepartmental communication, vehicle maintenance and operation, snowmaking and snow science in the park, freestyle air bags, events and competitions, feature construction and maximizing social media in the parks.

The passion and dedication that campers bring to this open dialogue format has been key to the success of Cutter's Camp. As one camper noted, "The connection and opportunity to discuss issues with other managers and freestyle terrain staff makes this conference a tremendous resource to freestyle terrain and its future. Sharing helpful information and not competing is key."

In the afternoon, members of the ASTM Terrain Park Task Group lead discussions in the classroom and on-hill about the latest tools, definitions and tips being discussed in the F27 ASTM committee. While the final ruling from this committee is far from decided, it was helpful to campers to know about some of the material being reviewed for possible implementation in their parks.

Both camps also devoted half a day to the latest information on terrain-based teaching. In the East, Joe Hession, Jay Scambio of Boyne Resorts and Craig Simmons of Jay Peak, Vt., discussed successful models and basic principals of start parks, Riglet Parks and terrain-based learning (TBL). At the western camp, Joe Hession was joined by Chris Chris Hargrave of Woodward Tahoe and JP Martin of Park Diggers. The session began indoors where Hargrave and Hession discussed how TBL can increase our retention rate by making the learning experience less initimidating for sliders. The specially-designed terrain does all the work for our customers to help build their confidence, learn balance and edge control and, above all, have fun and come back for more. JP Martin walked campers through the process of how planning, building, finishing and maintaining these smaller features well is key to a guest's experience and can help grow the sport.

Other sessions included "Accident Investigation, Logs, Claims and Trends," led by experts from Wells Fargo and Willis and ASDA attorney, Brad Stanford, and a session on the latest version of the Terrain Park Notebook led in the east by Mark Petrozzi of AlpenRisk and in the west by Sierra-at-Tahoe's GM, John Rice. The new version is due out later this year.

While the classroom sessions were the same for the two camps, the Timberline camp was two days longer and featured an on-hill building component using the latest machines on the market from PistenBully (PistenBully Pro Series 400 & PB600 Polar) and Prinoth (Bison X). Overall there were thirteen cats on-hill.  On-hill coaches rode along with campers and helped to refine campers' building techniques in a series of stations including small and medium jumps, large jumps, rail installation, 13-foot and 18-foot zaugg stations for pipe and quarter pipe cutting, dozing 101, and finish work on a photo feature.

Of course, an important part of any camp are the the meals together and the evening activities that allow for networking and relationship building. Campers enjoyed a trip to Windells for a dodge ball tournament; games hosted by Burton, including a contest to build a park feature from ice cream; bonfires and marshmallows; and races on kid-sized snowmobiles.

Cutter's Camp 2013 sponsors included: 1Risk, AirHole, Burton, BagJump, HKD Snowmakers, PBR, PistenBully, Prinoth, Slope Lights, Smith, Transworld Snowboarding Business, and Wells Fargo.