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Events and Terrain Park Manager, Silver Star Resort, B.C.
Hometown: White Rock, B.C.
Words to live by: The ski and snowboard industry is fueled by passion. When that no longer exists, neither will we, the passionate.
A committed hockey player, Paul Kenward spent more time on the ice as a kid than in the Canadian pow. Toward the end of high school, though, something changed. Paul got a job parking cars at Silver Star. He has not missed a winter season there since. After working his way through several departments, Paul found his passion in terrain parks and grooming. As the events and terrain park manager—a combination that Paul says “works surprisingly well”—Paul is now at Silver Star year-round. He is equally likely to be setting up an event as to be out scoping the slope with the park crew.
You wear two different managerial hats—how do you merge them?
We have a small events team. So I think a huge benefit is that we can take the terrain park staff and use them for things like digging, especially for the terrain park-related events that we do. And then the same thing with the events team, if the park guys need an extra hand shoveling when there has been a huge snowfall, we can get the events people out there. The roles go hand in hand.
What's a hot button topic in your department right now?
Style events in the park. It is an interesting area in the ski industry right now. We are definitely seeing a decline, at least in our area, of people entering slopestyle, big air, and things like that because they already know who is going to win. People are looking for family-oriented events with a freestyle aspect to them.
What trends are you seeing in terrain parks?
Looking at terrain parks all across North America right now, the trend is going toward less gnarly features. As far as rails and things, not being so high off the ground anymore. And people are building more transitions—going back to that skateboard style. That is going to help bring people back into the sport because they feel safe doing it, but they are having fun.
And education is a huge part of it as well—trying to educate guests. We see a lot of young kids arguing with older people who come in and don’t see the park the same way.
How do we improve park education?
We went and made up signs that say “No Carving Zone” and put them right across the entrance to the park. Terrain park staff were up at the top, and people stopped and asked questions. That gave people the opportunity to talk with and learn from us. We were able to explain that everyone is welcome in here, but you can’t be carving down the landing, and things like that.
What is the biggest issue facing the industry?
Retention and getting new people, for sure.
How do you see resorts tackling retention in the next 10 years?
A huge part is pricing going up for season passes and day tickets, but people aren’t making more money. We definitely need to look at making it more affordable for people to get into the sport.
And also having events that aren’t just ski- and snowboard-related. In the winter we do this annual “Light Up,” where we turn on all the Christmas lights. It’s definitely one of my favorite events, and one of the busiest nights at the resort for the whole season.