SAM's 11th Annual Terrain Park Contest

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SAM's 11th Annual Terrain Park Contest!

This year once again SAM asked you, our loyal readers, to submit entries for our 11th annual terrain park contest. From unique features to over-the-top event setups, we received more than 30 entries from across the globe. Proving once again that if you hold a contest, entries will come.

Beyond the usual deluge of feature submissions, we received an overwhelming number of event submissions.

The winners from both our Events and Features categories will receive prizes from Burton Snowboards. So, look through the entries and VOTE!  

Sponsored by:



The staff at Wachusett Mountain, Mass., acquired a few empty kegs from the nearby Wachusett Brewery and came up with the idea to create this unique feature. After two days of help from some welding students at Worcester Technical High School, the 18-foot keg feature came to life. Needless to say, it quickly became a crowd favorite.   With assistance from an ice carving artist, Stowe Mountain Resort, Vt., brought this clever rail concept to life. The feature, created for the University of Vermont’s freestyle ski team rail jam, withstood the elements for nearly two months. The carving artist constructed the base of the ice rail, while the park crew added the double barrel rail on top. The carving, including the Stowe Parks logo freehanded with a chainsaw, took around five hours to complete. The park crew then spent another three hours finishing the build, grooming and adding the takeoff. A string of Christmas lights was added to complete the overall look.

Kevin Sprecher, the terrain park supervisor at Snowshoe Mountain, W.Va., designed this fun jib feature. During the six-hour build, the Mountaineer park staff built the pad, set up the fence and rail, installed and leveled the corrugated steps, and pushed and shaped the takeoff. The setup was constructed using a piece of an old chain link fence, recycled corrugated culverts, and a 25-foot down rail made of an eight-inch repurposed snowmaking pipe.   The team at Snowmass, Colo., built this rail plaza complete with numerous rail options, picnic tables, and a putting green as way to bring life back to the park’s Freestyle Fridays events. The almost 20-year-long event series saw a huge increase in participation after the resort switched gears from big air contests and began hosting rail jams in the plaza. Snowmass’ rail fabrication crew spent almost three weeks on this project, followed by several days on snow. All-new materials were used to give the setup a fresh look. To keep it looking fresh, new tweaks and rails will be added this season.

Faced with less than ideal conditions last season, Mt. Hood Meadows teamed with Snow Park Technologies to build a one-of-a-kind flow park for riders of all skill levels. The park was home to 36 features, including a variety of boxes, rails, tubes and multiple snow features. The complete setup took almost five days to build, with seven cat operators working 12-hour days. An 18-foot Zaugg was used to shape the hips, mini pipe, jump mounds, and rail pads, creating endless options for skiers and snowboarders.   Inspiring kids young and old, the team at Little Switzerland in Slinger, Wis., parked this Volkswagen van right inside its terrain park. The sign panels were constructed from high-density polyethylene and backlit with LED lights. The van also had headlights, taillights and side marker lights that flashed with music. Swag Promotions sponsored this feature, which was powered by a car battery hooked up to a solar charger. To complete the overall look, a local graffiti artist added the final touches.

The Whistler Blackcomb parks crew built two features—a 60-foot step over jump and a 25-foot step down jump—inside Symphony bowl for Level 1 Production’s new film, Small World. The two exclusive jumps required 70 hours of building time from five employees—two drivers (one to push snow and one to shape), along with three additional crew to hand-shape the jumps. Two PistenBully winch cats were involved, along with lots of hand tools and salt.   There’s no denying kids love pizza, a cultural phenomenon that inspired the park crew at Chestnut Mountain Resort, Ill. This pizza wedge, featuring three down rail options, was designed (appropriately enough) for a pizza party at the mountain. The concept was to bring local riders out for a fun and relaxed rider-judged competition, fueled by pizza.

For the upcoming 2015-16 season, Luke Mathison and Ian Brown at Waterville Valley Resort, N.H., are constructing a new woods park in the Sugar Shake Glades. Since the resort is located 100 percent on national forest land, the boys were hard at work in September and October, constructing log features for this natural park. All six features, including the battleship log, a flat log slide, and quarter pipe built into a large stump, have been constructed from trees sourced on the resort’s property.   While filming for its new video 2032, the thirtytwo team stopped at Copper Mountain, Colo., to test this monstrous transition. The idea for the feature arose during a roundtable discussion. Between the hand and cat crews, it took five staff members to bring this 21-foot tall feature to life. The transition was cut using Copper’s 22-foot Zaugg machine. The total build time spanned four nights and involved many hours of work with a chain saw. Following the photo shoot, the feature remained open to the general public.

The staff at Buttermilk, Colo., works hard after the resort closes in April to farm all of the snow used for the X Games and preserves it for the area’s summer camps. Run in conjunction with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club (AVSC), the camps feature race and freestyle lanes. Greg Boyd, Aspen’s terrain park operations manager, works solo on the camp setup from May to July, spending two weeks pushing the snow and reserving an additional seven to 12 hours a week for cat maintenance. In July, coaches from the AVSC assist with setting up the dozen or so rails. The camp setup also includes a jump line complete with two airbags and a mogul lane.   Killington’s NeffLand terrain park is definitely out of this world. Now in its third season, all 15+ features, ranging from jumps to boxes and rails, look like things you’d see in outer space (that is, if you were a cartoon character). One of three rocket ships in the park, this feature was made from a recycled propane tank. The fin was created using a flat bar rail, and the two wings on each side were welded together, creating the ship. A graffiti artist added the final touches.

To help close out its 2014-15 season on June 14, the crew at Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin created this four-foot stunt ditch. The idea behind it was to pay homage to snowboarding’s early days and prove that you can still have fun with smaller features. Gathering the remaining snow from the terrain park, three staff members spent a day building this mini halfpipe. The ditch, which was open for only three days, had features built right into the walls. Pole jams were placed at the top and bottom of the pipe, and a box was built into the top of the coping.
  At Sugarbush, Vt., the staff decided to create a plaza with skate park-style features. The idea was to allow riders to experience the creativity and flow of being in a skate park. The plaza was home to eight features, including a waterfall rail, a creeper wall, a down tube and a flat rail. The eight-hour build involved a groomer and four park staff members. The crew used a snowcat, rake, shovels and 4 x 4 railroad ties to make a retaining wall.


Held the Friday before Thanksgiving, the Back In Blue rail jam is the southeast’s earliest on-snow contest. Snowmaking beings in early October, thanks to SnowMagic. The contest is held in the area’s 300-foot by 100-foot tubing area, allowing ample room for spectators. The event is always built the night before the contest using two snowcats and six diggers. The setup traditionally includes four to six distinct features, such as rails or boxes taken from the terrain park inventory. The 2015 edition of Back In Blue is scheduled for Nov. 20.   The annual Climb and Rail Jam at New Hampshire’s Abenaki Ski Area is traditionally held during the third week of April. By this time, most New England resorts have shut for the season, and Abenaki’s own towrope is often closed. The idea behind the event is to offer a fun end-of-season contest where riders have to hike up the terrain park in order to hit the features.

Given all the snow Wachusett Mountain received last February, the park staff hosted its third annual Cinco de Mayo contest on May 5, 2015. The resort was even able to keep a chairlift running this year, marking the first time the state of Massachusetts saw lift-accessed skiing during the month of May, according to the resort. Using snow from the terrain park, five staff members worked on the two-day build, putting together 30 features. More than 500 skiers and riders attended the event and competed to take home their fair share of the prizes, which were stashed in piñatas.   Each winter Newfoundland’s biggest terrain park contest is held during the winter university break. For the 2015 edition, the Marble Mountain park crew installed this new feature as a hitching post. During the contest setup, a local artist was called in to spray-paint the chair. The recycled chair was originally part of the Governor's Express lift, which got hit by lightning and burned to the ground last summer.

The park crew at Snow Trails, Ohio, bid farewell to winter with this tropical-themed contest. The blue swimming pool, measuring 120 feet long by 25 feet wide, contained seven features--including a flat rail and down rail away from the water, a down rail where riders had to skim the water to hit it, a bridge box, a rainbow rail, a pole jam, and a jump in the center where riders had to clear the pool or risk getting wet. Three park members spent two days using a backhoe to dig out snow for the pool. From there, they lined the pool with a tarp and used blue dye to color the water. Snow Trails kept the contest features set up for an extra two days, which turned out to be the final days of the season.   This unique event, conceived by Red Bull four years ago, combines elements of a slopestyle contest and a pond skim. It was held in late April at the base of Copper Mountain, as it has been in prior years. The 2015 Slopesoaker event featured two pools. The upper pool measured 25 feet by 20 feet, while the lower pool was 40 by 40. Rubber liners were used to construct the pools. The entire setup required four days of work.

For the sixth annual Light the Night contest, presented by AMP Energy, the Okemo park crew designed and built a rail garden. The event features included a ledge rail, down rail, cannon rail, a picnic table and down-flat-down rail made from steel and plywood skirting. The evening event was held under stadium lights and drew more than 100 athletes, all of whom aimed to win their share of the $5,000 cash purse.   Arizona Snowbowl partnered with Rome Snowboards to bring guests The Bushwood Open, an idea born at the SIA trade show, is a golf-inspired and rider-driven contest. Competitors were grouped into foursomes, and each group tackled nine features. A pre-determined trick was assigned to each feature and given a par (example: A front board on the 30-foot tube was a par three). Like golf, the goal was to have a low score. Five staff members and two snowcat operators built the course in one day. Most of the large tube rails were made from an eight-inch remnant snowmaking pipe, and a retired golfer donated the golf carts. The course contained two golf-themed features: a 30-foot rainbow box over a golf cart with a fake putting green, and a BMX gap jump over a golf cart where the best-trick competition was held.

Home to one of the longest snowboard seasons in Canada, Sunshine Village hosted its second annual Slushine Rail Jam on May 16, 2015. Ben Suurallik and the terrain park staff expanded on the course from last season by widening the pond by 10 feet, adding a pole jam over it, and including a 40-foot waterfall tube. The pond itself measured 50 feet wide by 20 feet long and was three feet deep. A large tarp was used to construct the pool, and 2 x 4s helped anchor the tarp. The total build and manicure time took eight hours.
Photo credit: Luke Sudermann
  Holiday Valley partnered with the Red Bull All Snow series in February to host this contest, in which all features are constructed with snow. The skate-style course challenged riders to get technical on the volcanoes, hips, jumps, quarter pipe, snake-spine and massive bowl at the bottom. With the use of two groomers and a Zaugg machine, seven staff members worked for a week to complete the overall course design. Afterward, the features were open to the public for the remainder of the season.

For a second year, Mat Galina and the merry park crew at Thredbo spent a week shoveling to create the Transfer Banked Slalom setup. Corner one of the course, called The Eliminator, was a complete tube, shaped and colored like a wave with a shark. Snow sculpture guru Andrew Grassi Kelaher spent almost 15 hours constructing this part of the course. The entire event setup required two cat operators, eight diggers and a sculptor. Recycled rail panels were used to create contest signage.   Steven’s Pass has been hosting its Ice Fest Rail Jam in downtown Leavenworth, Wash., for the better part of ten years. Taking place under the Christmas lights in this Bavarian inspired village, the Top Phlight terrain park crew spent almost 24 hours installing a few resort features in the town square. A flatbed truck was used to transport the rails, and a skid steer helped put them in place. The 2015 setup even featured the unofficial mascot of Leavenworth himself, Mr. Woody Goomsba.

Since 2008, the all-ages Hot Iron Night rail jam has become an end-of-season tradition at Pomerelle Mountain. The contest takes place under the lights at Pomerelle’s base, located at 8,000 feet, so there’s always lots of packable snow available. Music and a bonfire add to the festive atmosphere. The 2015 setup contained two rail options, allowing riders to get creative. The park crew spent two days perfecting the course.   Loon’s terrain park manager Brian Norton had been brainstorming the Whale Watchers idea for a few years. Relying on the resort’s snowmaking system, Loon created a series of three-story “humpback whales” in roughly 48 hours. No heavy equipment or snowcats were used, although the take-offs were shaped with shovels and a rake. The contest was held similar to a surf event: that is, the event was loosely scheduled to take place during a 30-day window, from mid-December to mid-January, with the specific date selected to coincide with excellent weather conditions. Social media posts kept competitors updated. The contest took place on Dec. 31, 2014, and allowed riders to showcase their creativity on the humpback terrain.

The Monster Energy Shred Show is regular fixture at Whistler Blackcomb’s World Ski and Snowboard Festival (WSSF). For 2015, this high-energy two-day event included Boarderstyle and Slopestyle competitions. In Boarderstyle, four riders race head-to-head on a snowboardcross-style course complete with banked turns, jumps, and a pond skim that leads right into a dodge-the-barrel section. For the Slopestyle competition, riders showcase their skills in a rail plaza and on 65- and 68-foot jumps. To create the contest courses, the WB park team used a PistenBully 400 Park Pro and lots of hand shaping. Constructing the Boarderstyle run required a few unconventional materials, such as plastic barrels filled with water, the pond skim relied on tried-and-true tarp and sandbags.   Every April, the Whistler Ski and Snowboard Festival hosts the World Skiing Invitational (WSI) in conjunction with the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) World Tour Finals. This three-day event series includes slopestyle, halfpipe and big air competitions. For the 2015 edition, the 65-foot Gibbon’s Big Air contest was relocated from the base of the mountain to the terrain park. The WB parks crew spent a total of 30 hours creating all the event setups for the festival. After it officially came to a close, the slopestyle and big air jumps were open to the general public.

For the first time in 19 years, Snowboarder magazine’s Superpark, presented by Nexen Tire, was held on the East Coast at Seven Springs Resort. The invite-only event attracted 300 riders for a week of progressive snowboarding. The Seven Springs park staff pulled out all the stops: features included a massive double-sided hip, a huge booter, and a pond skim to close out the week.   One of the largest ski and snowboard competitions in Ontario, this weeklong event descended on Blue Mountain during March break. It’s an ambitious combination of slopestyle, halfpipe and big air contests, but the Blue park crew, consisting of three cat drivers and five shapers (who worked shifts) managed to pull it off. The halfpipe was built in two parts: 10 days were required shape the stunt ditch, while an additional two days were needed to cut the pipe. The slopestyle course, consisting of a 45-foot, 55-foot and 65-foot jump line with two takeoffs, also required five days of construction. To complete all the setups, Blue relied heavily on its park fleet, consisting of a Prinoth Bison with a 22-foot Monster Zaugg, a Prinoth Bison X Cat, and a Bombardier 350 winch cat.

Killington teamed with Burton Snowboards and Darkside Snowboard Shop to host the second annual Slash & Berm Banked Slalom in The Stash terrain park. Running from the top to the bottom of The Stash, the course contained several natural features, such as a snow tunnel that shot riders into the woods. A crew of eight created the course over a three-day period, with the assistance of a PistenBully groomer, shovels, rakes and a chainsaw. The course and snow tunnel remained in place and open to all comers for the week following the contest. The contest itself raised funds to support Molly’s Fund, a non-profit organization that assists families with children who are being treated for cancer at the Dana Farber/Boston Children's Hospital.