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More than 70 terrain park builders and industry experts gathered for Cutter’s Camp Fall Refresher at Mount Snow, Vt., Nov. 6-8 for a deep dive into season preparation and best practices for terrain park operation. More than 40 resorts from across North America were represented—including major destinations and small community operations. And with the winter season knocking on everyone’s door, the discussions were focused on actionable lessons attendees could apply right away.

This is first time in 15 years that Cutter’s Camp has been held just before winter, so a variety of new sessions were specifically designed for the Fall Refresher program. Among them was “Strategic Terrain Park Planning,” aimed at helping campers form strategic business practices to better serve guest visitation trends with corresponding park opening procedures. Another newly added session was the “Freestyle Terrain Resource Guide Live Survey,” where attendees participated in a real-time survey that helped the group learn about updates and available content that can assist their park programs. It was an eye-opening experience for everyone as it provided a platform for members of the industry to better understand the type of information resorts and park staff need to improve their park operations and how to make it more available.

In addition, the “Terrain Park Pre-Season Checklist” workshop was among the most popular of the educational sessions. The two-hour workshop focused solely on providing attendees with tangible information and expertise that they can immediately apply to their park program. The format included intimate brainstorming discussions led by industry experts, who helped campers create detailed checklists for every aspect of park operation. That was followed by a group discussion, which provided an opportunity for all to share fresh ideas with the group.

When it was all said and done, attendees went back to their operations armed with fresh ideas and energy, and strategies to get newly hired park teams the information they need to succeed this coming season. <

The new format was well received. "My Cutter’s Camp experience was incredible. Very informative and good to be reminded of a lot of the things we need to organize before our resort opens," said one camper.

Cutter’s Camp is one of the industry’s only open-forum events focused solely on terrain park operations. It would not be possible without the support of this year’s Fall Refresher sponsors, including 1Risk, Arena Snowparks, BlackStrap, Burton, HKD Snowmakers, PistenBully, Prinoth, Safehold Special Risk, and Snow Park Technologies. And the invaluable contributions from the industry’s leading terrain park experts bring it all together.

Cutter’s Camp will return to Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood, Ore., in the spring of 2018 for the annual weeklong camp, which includes one-on-one coaching for on-hill park building and an extended line up of sessions and workshops.


For the 15th consecutive year, terrain park professionals from across the globe gathered at Timberline, Mt. Hood, Ore., May 16-20 for a week of building, educational workshops, networking, and camp activities. More than 50 resorts were represented. With so many regions represented—from the East coast to the West coast, and from the Midwest to Canada—and with a wide range in resort size, discussions were lively and productive.

The week kicked off with 20 inches of fresh snow, perfect for grooming demos from PistenBully and Prinoth. While the snow fell, campers gathered for a "Fiireside Chat" centered on how to turn a passion into a career, followed by Burton's Welcome Party.

For the next three days, terrain-building was front and center on the agenda. Each camper was assigned a four-hour, one-on-one on-hill coaching block to work with an expert groomer on advancing their building and shaping skills and exchanging tips and shortcuts.

For campers not on-hill, that second day was devoted to risk management, planning, and logistics. Sessions dove into terrain park documentation, staff training and freestyle terrain staff guidelines, transition events, and planning for holiday weeks and milestones. That evening, campers experienced the Windells sports bubble and participated in the 5th annual Prinoth DodgeBall Tournament.

On the third day, campers broke into four groups and participated in the risk management-themed Park Challenge Workshop, which tested their skills in communication, jump measurement, incident investigation, and strategic thinking as they worked through real-world scenarios. The afternoon presentations covered a host of park topics, from feature construction and vehicle maintenance to snow science and events. The day finished with a session on progression as a business, followed by the annual PistenBully Snowmobile races and sumo wrestling.

The fourth day saw campers complete a second Park Challenge Workshop, this one on planning and logistics, followed by the popular Terrain Park Managers' Roundtable.

All of that served as fuel for what was the most beneficial aspect of camp, according the campers: the conversations that continue through the evening after the workshops end.

As one camper summed up the week:

"It has been so amazing, meeting all of these park professionals. I learned so much and gained many positive perspectives from the people I have met here. Everyone has been very supportive and helpful. I am excited to go home and apply my new knowledge and skills to my park back home. This camp really encouraged a positive and real vibe that feels like a family. My eyes have been opened. I hope I get to come back every year. I am forever grateful for this experience."

This important industry resource would not be possible without the expertise and guidance of our core panelists, some of whom have been part of Camp from the beginning: Elia Hamilton, Peak Resorts; Jay Scambio, Boyne Resorts; Kevin Laverty, Vail Resorts; Ken Gaitor, Snowshoe; Chris Hargrave, Windells and Logan Stewart, Timberline.

We also thank our Cutter's Camp sponsors, who have kept us going for 15 years. This year’s sponsors were 1Risk, Arena Snowparks, BlackStrap, Burton, Gogglesoc, HKD Snowmakers, Leica, PistenBully, Prinoth, Safehold Special Risk, Snow Park Technologies, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and Tobe.

Cutter's Camp is excited to head east this fall for a first-ever Fall Refresher at Mount Snow, Vt., Nov. 6-8. Registration will open on July 15th. The Refresher is designed to energize and engage park staff for the season ahead.