Starting from raking parks for free at Nordic Mountain eight years ago, Scott has shown immense growth and passion for the industry. He currently manages nine terrain parks between the three resorts and three different park crews. Scott spends his winters travelling between the three resorts and does all of the building with the help of his three crews. He continues to grow and improve his skills and has an effective balance between building innovative and creative features and park layouts while maintaining great awareness of rider safety, risk management and progression. When Scott is not in a cat, he can be found, rake in hand, in any of his nine parks talking to skiers and riders to get his next big idea or feedback about what he has built. Scott is an exemplary manager and is going to go far in the ski industry. We are proud to have him on our team.
—Rick Schmitz, owner, Nordic Mountain
Tell us about your approach to terrain park management: how do you work to create a safe and fun environment for guests and employees alike?
Managing parks at three ski hills throughout Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, it’s very important for me to engage with the local park riders at each of the areas in order to find out what kind of features we should be involving in the parks. The level of riding ability at each of our ski hills differs drastically, so I really need to cater to the needs of each individual hill. We have small, medium, and large parks at each of our resorts, so finding the right combination of fun features in each one generally keeps riders entertained to their ability level without feeling the need to jump into a larger park that they may not be ready to handle.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I personally enjoy the freedom of creativity that comes with building parks. When I jump in the cat and start pushing snow around I feel on top of the world, and then at the end of a build when I idle down and take a look at what we created as a team, I just feel so good!
What skills does a successful terrain park manager need to have? Are there skills you've developed that you didn’t expect to?
The ability to relate to every single person you encounter. Keeping the parks safe means being able to proactively inform guests when they might be doing something that could endanger themselves or others, without coming across as a jerk. Managing volunteer park crews to try to keep overhead down at small hills is pretty difficult as well. You have to find local riders who are so in love with the sport that they will volunteer their time and effort to help build and maintain parks at a high calibre just for the sake of being a part if it.
What was your biggest career win or moment?
Any time we get compliments on our parks is a win for me.
Do you have any advice for future 10 hopefuls specializing in terrain park management?
Keep it fun, and take a notebook to Cutter’s Camp!