SAM's 10th Annual Terrain Park Contest

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SAM's 11th Annual Terrain Park Contest is now accepting entries!

It’s that time of year again when SAM gathers together the innovative ideas, events and features from the 2014/15 season for our annual Terrain Park Contest. 

The 2015 contest will have two categories: FEATURES and EVENTS.

Each category will be voted on separately. There will be one winner in each category who will receive a generous bag of swag from Burton Snowboards and lifetime bragging rights. All entries will be featured in our upcoming November issue of SAM or online. 

Send a brief description of your feature or event, a high resolution picture and a video link if 
available to by October 1, 2015. 

SAM's 2015 Terrain Park Contest received 31 innovative feature and event entries from around the world and it was all about taking chances and pushing the creative envelope. After 6,777 votes poured in we would like to congratulate the winners of this year's contest... 

FEATURE CATEGORY WINNER: Hammer Time from Wachusett Mountain, MA

EVENT CATEGORY WINNER:  Toes on the Nose Surf Jam from Steamboat, CO 

Sponsored by:


An idea that has been brewing for years and a natural slope for a landing helped Dan Nyland and his crew at Schweitzer, Idaho, commit to the Lakeview Triple Chair jump for Level 1 Production’s new film, “Less.” With challenges like where to place a pick cat to winch the landing surface (since the lift terminal was in the way) and keeping the gap realistic (without spilling too much snow onto the loading area and operator house) made this feature a challenge. After 25 cat hours and 15 man hours of construction, the result was a 108-foot gap, lip to knuckle. Nine days of rain and snow required the crew to reshape the jump almost daily to prepare for filming.   Jay Rosenbaum and the Killington, Vt., parks crew were presented with a unique opportunity to build a feature for the Woodward Mini Camp Tour. Getting the inspiration from Aspen’s double pipe, which was built for a professional halfpipe contest, Rosey and crew turned Killington’s existing minipipe in the Timberline Terrain Park into a thirteen-foot wall, jib and transfer-friendly double minipipe. The scale made it accessible to many levels of riders, and it was dubbed the People’s Pipe. 

Built for Bear Mountain’s Hot Dawgz and Handrails event in early fall, which requires 140 tons of ice, this triple set, multi-option feature from Clayton Shoemaker and his crew at Big Bear, Calif., has a little something for everyone: flat to flat rail, flat to down rail, flat rail and two different box options with a triple stair set in the middle. (Say that three times fast.) The paneling features marine-treated plywood that’s digitally printed to give it the rock and paver look, with 3” round rails and 2”x 2” square rails for the framework and Lexan box tops. The feature will move up to The Red Bull Plaza for the upcoming season.    From the fertile creative minds of Joe Pope and his team at The Summit at Snoqualmie, Wash., comes this unexpected sliding surface, comprised of hundreds of golf balls. With their spherical shape, plastic casing and hardness, golf balls offer an ideal sliding surface—it’s almost impossible to catch an edge on a golf ball—with endless configuration possibilities. After building a small prototype, with positive results, the crew plunged ahead and repurposed an old fun box into a canted, 15-foot long, three-and-a-half-foot tall
feature. The balls are attached to a CDX underlayment with liquid nails and then spray-painted. The masterpiece quickly became a favorite in the park.

Wachusett Mountain, Mass., partnered up with pro rider Chris Grenier to create the annual Holiday Hammer event. The occasion practically cried out for its own unique feature. Park leaders Andrew Roy and Chuck Kostopoulos came up with the idea for this nine-foot-tall hammer made from recycled features and a scrap corrugated tube. It allowed for a plethora of tricks for pros and amateurs alike. From backflips to hand drags, the hammer has become a staple of the event.   For Sunshine Village, B.C.’s first annual Slushine Railjam, Ben Suurallik and his crew constructed a 20-foot by 40-foot pit that set the scene for three features, including the center “arch bridge,” which was slid into position over the pit. The arch featured a rainbow box, rainbow rail and a wide rainbow surface in between that riders could choose from during their sessions. The Slushine set up took a total of seven hours to build, palm trees included.

Chris Meyer and his crew implemented this feature, built to match the Telluride, Colo., logo, into the resort’s advanced park, located right below the area’s most popular lift, The Village Express. What was once a basic 24-foot rainbow rail, quickly turned into Telluride’s
signature feature, and a prime photo op with Wilson Mountain Range in the background. ­
  Day Franzen and his crew at Carinthia, Mount Snow, Vt.,
concocted this one-of-a-kind skate plaza for shredders. Built for The C.O.M.P. (Carinthia Open Mega Plaza) event, this massive array of features offers endless opportunities and encourages infinite creativity. While the feature set was later toned down for the general public, the majority of the build stayed open through closing day. The build took a week, including more than 200 man hours, 13 builders, two snowcats, one excavator and more than 15 rails, wallrides and bonks. Riders had plenty of options to connect lines and flow through the plaza; one line combined four separate hits. ­

This 12-foot tall, see-through light bulb was born from a collaboration between Mountain High, Calif., and Anenberg Clothing; the feature is modeled after the company’s logo. It took two weeks of construction to build the skeleton of the bulb from rolled 1” x 2” steel and wrap it with 1/4” sheet metal. The see-through sides are 3/4" plexiglass that were cut out with a CNC waterjet machine; vinyl was installed on the interior to give the effects of the threads and lightning bolt. The mobile bulb caters to intermediate to advanced riders, depending on the build setup.   After staring at hundreds of feet of old snowmaking pipe for the last three years, Ric Wilkinson and his crew at Beech Mountain, N.C., decided to do something with it. The crew managed to craft 17 features for the upcoming season out of 440 feet of 8” to 12” steel pipe. Not only are all the features recycled steel, the framework for the plywood skirting came from old 2”x 2” hand rails the crew took out of a stair set that needed to be rebuilt. The larger A-frame feature in the back was made from 20” pipe that was repurposed from towers of an old lift taken down four years ago.

The team at Sugarbush, Vt., built this feature as the gateway to their big park, an entrance to welcome riders into the park community. “The Gate,” as it’s called, is a key feature that, when added to a setup in the terrain park, is a unique element that brings together multiple features. It’s also great individually and remains a feature that can be used from many different angles. Open or closed, the gate swings and locks in either position, and can be changed daily. .   By recycling two 8’ x 8’ x 24’ cargo containers and stacking them atop one another, Afton Alps, Minn., was able to create its signature park feature, The Wall. A hip from each side and an open-ended top container allow riders to choose their own lines. Perforated metal was welded to each side and coupled with backlighting and speakers to make one heck of a giant boom box. The wall is the centerpiece of the new community village at the base of the park where visitors can watch skiers and riders hit the feature.

The Office Building at Nashoba Valley, Mass., was created by Keith Kreischer and his crew after being inspired by a Videograss movie, “The Last Ones.” Made out of steel substructure, plywood, lexan, and HDPE top sheet, all of the plywood was painted to look like brick and concrete block. The wall below the slanted box is plywood panels with 2’ x 4’ bracing that was bolted together to create the base wall. Snow was pushed up to fill in behind the wall. The “building” features three options for riding, including the back of the feature on the jump deck, which is a 16-foot creeper ledge; the very top of the feature, which is a thin ledge box 8 feet tall; and a slant box option on the right side of the feature. The “windows” are also safe to ride (they are clear lexan plastic), and office blinds hung on the inside pump up the look.
  A collaboration between Squaw Valley, Calif., Oakley and Snow Park Technologies produced this giant Oakley logo. Located in the resort’s Gold Coast Terrain Park, the giant feature stands 10 feet tall and 22 feet wide, with a 20-foot-long box top to slide over. The O fast became one of the area’s most popular park features. Skiers and riders performed a range of tricks, from jumping over the O to sliding the top box or literally jumping through the hoop.

Sierra-at-Tahoe, known for incredible tree skiing and iconic Red Fir trees, repurposes fallen trees around the resort to make features in the park. Whether the trees have hips built into them for easy bonk features or are laid down to make simple, yet super fun sliding surfaces, natural features are a theme here.   This year Mt. Brighton’s park saw big changes with the installation of the big Purple Base Hit which consists of three different wall rides, two back-to-back and a center ride-through. Mimicking urban settings of nearby Detroit, the close-out wall ride gives riders the option to ride back down the transition or Ollie to the opposite wall. And, as an added bonus, if riders hit the massive metal mesh grid just right it’ll buzz down the P-tex and spark your edges – ideally saving you a $30 base grind to boot. The feature was constructed from repurposed shipping containers that make up the signature's L-shaped design.

The crew at Dagmar Ski Resort, Ontario, wanted to do something their guests had never seen before. Pooling together everyone's ideas produced the ultimate plaza set up. Almost every feature in the plaza was made from recycled materials and included a corrugated pole jam, banked wall, round pole jam, a goalpost, stair set with round bar and toe ledge, a corrugated tunnel and a giant cement tank. With over 30 hours of cat work and hand work combined, the plaza was completed.   Last year, Sunday River teamed up with Simon Dumont and Snow Park Technologies to create a 15-acre promised land for parks patrons, T72. In October, the area turned to the athletes who know the park best for input: their social media followers. Sunday River created the Design-A-Feature contest in collaboration with Freeskier magazine and asked fans to design their dream features, which we would then build for them. With over 200,000 impressions across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, the contest produced a vast array of concepts and themes. Judges Simon Dumont, Freeskier magazine, and the Sunday River parks crew were most impressed with 16-year-old Nick Hall and his self-taught Google Sketchup skills. Nick presented an urban plaza design, which would ultimately elevate T72. Sunday River’s terrain park manager, Morgan Rudd, met with Nick to plan out how to build the feature, then took over the operations garage and went to work.  After weeks of construction, the urban plaza was assembled in the park and Nick was invited up to join the park crew.

The crew from Keystone, CO, designed this feature for the Trans AM event in order to incorporate some air time into the rail jam contest. The steel-framed wall came with a clear lexan slide surface which featured wall paper underneath to make it resemble a wooden texture. The feature was built specifically for the event, but popular demand forced the park crew to build a similar feature in the public park for guests to ride daily.    


Back for its second year, The C.O.M.P. (Carinthia Open Mega Plaza) descended on Mount Snow, VT, with creative jib lines, massive wall rides and heavy transfers. Designed to be a true plaza set up, riders hit features every which way on a beautiful sunny day in March. From elbow rail transfers into wallrides, to rodeos into down bars, contestants threw down for a piece of the $7,000 cash purse and prizes from Redbull, Skullcandy, Oakley, Bern Helmets and Snug Life Apparel.  The atmosphere maintained a laidback vibe throughout, with hundreds of spectators lining the deck of the halfpipe and cheering on the 100 athletes showing off for the judges. In the end, Max Lyons, Shaun Murphy and Levi Gunzberg all took podium finishes, with many more deserving honorable mentions.   College rivalry doesn’t get much bigger than the University of Michigan vs. Michigan State University competition. Literally situated halfway between the two campuses, Mt. Brighton is a neutral stomping ground for the ski/snowboard students. It was a no-brainer for Mt. Brighton to bring one of the longest-running American collegiate athletic rivalries to the slopes and from that the inaugural Collegiate Rail Jam was born, featuring the U-M/MSU rivalry, and adding numerous other local colleges to the fray (Eastern Michigan University, Wayne State, Schoolcraft College and a host of area community college campuses). A first-of-its-kind event at Mt. Brighton, MSU captured the 2014 Collegiate Rail Jam title, topping two teams from the U-M in freestyle snowboarding and skiing action in Mt. Brighton’s newly-built and highly-acclaimed terrain park. “MSU - 2014 champs” is now engraved on the Collegiate Rail Jam snowboard that hangs above Bruhn’s Bar in Mt. Brighton’s Ski Hill Grill and will keep score for years to come. Backed by Red Bull, GoPro, Salomon Skis and Summit Sports, the inaugural Mt. Brighton Collegiate Rail Jam was a big hit and will be back on the schedule for the upcoming season – with the Spartans looking to defend their title against the Wolverines.

After spending the summer working with Snow Park Technologies to redesign the terrain park, Afton Alps showcased their efforts through the “Jibbin the LZ” competition series. This 4 part series was open to skiers and riders of all ages and free to anyone with a lift ticket. Each session was completed in a jam format with winners selected from each age group and discipline. While participants were given the freedom to use the entirety of the 12+ hit course, each session also highlighted a new feature of the park with prizes given out for “best trick” and “most creativity” on the feature-of-the-week in addition to overall winners.  “Jibbin’ in the LZ” incorporated additional casual mini contests fun for any age such as: best dance moves, longest handstand, snowboard trivia, and fastest to order/return with a “downhill dog” from the LZ hotdog and pizza stand. Over the course of the year an estimated 300+ skiers and riders participated in the series learning new tricks and gaining confidence in a fun friendly environment.   Killington teamed up with Burton Snowboards and Darkside Snowboard Shop to host the first ever banked slalom race through The Stash terrain park. With the growing popularity of banked slalom events, it was essential to bring something new to the race. The course ran from top to bottom through The Stash and was loaded with signature wood features – no ordinary banked slalom. The event focused on bringing the East Coast snowboard community together for a weekend of great competition, all while benefiting The Molly Fund. The Slash & Berm was a huge success, raising over $2,700 for charity.

The event was part of Steamboat's 2014 Springalicious and hosted in conjunction with an end-of-season Luau, complete with hula dancers, a pig roast and palm trees. The contest centered around unintimidating snow features, with almost no metal. The resort built 20+ snow piles, a ¼ pipe and used a shipping container to create a tube ride. Over 50 contestants starting at 4 years old, dressed in shorts, flowered shirts and even wet suits, came out to show off their individual style including flips, slashes, hand plants and spins. In a wave jam style session awards were handed out for a variety of categories, but everybody was a winner.   Spider Surf Shop and Mountain High teamed up for the 7th annual Snowfest — an event that takes place in the middle of Hermosa Beach with over 70 tons of snow for snowboarders and sledders to enjoy. The course setup consists of 3 features in a row allowing the rider to link tricks from top to bottom. The Snowboarders finish up by selecting an overall winner for the rider who showed the best skills through-out the event. The contest was open to both pros and amateurs with certified judges on hand. The top rider took home $250 in cash and a shopping spree at Spyder Surf Shop of Hermosa Beach. Once the contest was wrapped up, the public had a chance to get on the snow and slide down the course on sleds.

Deemed "one of the most laid-back huck fests" by Transworld Snowboarding, Loon's Last Call event is a kind of homecoming for East Coast riders. It’s where some of the best pro and semi-pro riders launch themselves off innovative features for cash and prizes. Tricks are landed and bones are broken, it's where everyone sends it for one last time with the best people to be with. $5,000+ in cash, and tons of other gear was up for grabs thanks to GNU, Oakley, Analog, 32, Red Bull and Scion.   Wachusett Mountain partnered up with Chris Grenier last season to create Holiday Hammers. A rail jam that featured pro riders like Chris Grenier, Pat Moore and Mike Ravelson riding with competitors slashing rails and slapping high fives to create one heck of a good time before the Holiday break. The rail jam format was divided into pro and am categories. Prizes included a ton of product from 32Boots, Solomon snowboards, Change That Tape, Nixon, Dang Shades, Celtek, Crab Grab, etnies, Leatherman, LRG, Wachusett Mountain and Eastern Boarder for the Amateurs. The Pro category received money ($1000 for 1st, $500 for 2nd, $250 3rd). They also received custom Hammer Trophies made by Chris Grenier. Creative awards were also made to praise those riders who threw down all day such as the King Kong award.

For the second year in a row, Ski Sundown hosted Girls Rock the Park in March for gals ranging in age from 4 to their 50's. The event was more of a non-competitive event designed to stimulate trial – to get girls of all ages to give the park a try. Park features for the past two events have included rails and boxes of different sizes, and small jumps. Everyone was a beginner so the idea was to start smaller, gain skills and build confidence, and to meet the terrain park crew and feel comfortable asking them for tips and help the next time they hit the park. We also have several female instructors who teach Intro to the Terrain Park and they were on hand as well. Sponsored by Pom Pom, prizes were awarded to riders for attempts and for nailing a trick they had been working on.   Ober Gatlinburg's opening season rail jam is held on the Friday before Thanksgiving and is the earliest terrain park competition at a resort in the southeast, maybe even on the east coast? What makes this event unique is that it is held in the resort's tubing park, making a natural amphitheater with ample room for spectators, vendors, and a magic carpet for the participants. The event is free to enter and has live music, food, and adult beverages steps from the action. It's held at night and offers up a cash purse to draw competitors from all over the area. Park managers from neighboring mountains (last year was Cataloochee, Beech, Appalachian) are invited to serve as guest judges. Last year saw 68 competitors and over 130 spectators.

As part of the 86th Slush Cup week of pond skimming, the park crew put on the first annual Slushsine Rail Jam. Open to skiers and snowboarders all of levels and as young as 13, competitors faced an array of features that spanned the fridge pit, which was roughly 20 feet wide by 40 feet long. Features included a 24-foot flat box on one side and a 24-foot tube on the other with the signature "Arch Bridge" feature in the middle. The bridge was made up of a rainbow box, rainbow rail and a wide rainbow surface in between. Riders were judged on style, difficulty, execution, variety and dry boots. Needless to say, everyone had a great time. Congratulations to all the winners.   As one of the latest post-season events in the East, the annual May Day event at Big Boulder Park went down on May 3rd with over 500 skiers & riders from all over the Mid-Atlantic region being treated to this multi-faceted feature, curated by the BBP park crew. This three-day build featured multiple lines and transitional transfer options, topped off with the newly added Red Bull signature creeper feature, a joystick bonk feature and, of course, a shark-infested kiddie pool.