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What Is a Terrain Park? An Introduction to Terrain Park Skiing
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What Is a Terrain Park? An Introduction to Terrain Park Skiing

Whitecap Mountains Resort is proud to announce the addition of a terrain park to our ski resort!

If you already know all about that, then what are you doing reading this? Snap on your skis or board and hit the slopes already! But if you’re perusing our blog from your couch at home and have no idea what we’re talking about, allow us to give you a short introduction to the thrilling world of terrain park winter sports.

What’s a Terrain Park?

Essentially, it’s a bit like a skatepark and a dog agility course mixed—but with more than the adrenaline-pumping fun of both combined.

Filled with permanent, man-made obstacles, a terrain park provides the opportunity for skiers and snowboarders alike to test their maneuverability, athleticism, and versatility. It’s also a great place to learn something new with those you love and laugh up a storm doing it.

What Do the Obstacles in a Terrain Park Look Like?

This, of course, varies from winter resort to winter resort. Some ski resorts market their terrain parks to snowboarders, which arguably make up the larger user demographic, but other, more inclusive spaces like Whitecap work towards a much broader appeal. Obstacles are equally as varied and are by no way limited to those mentioned in this post.

Regardless, a few common terrain park structures you’re likely to encounter include..

Rails

Much like skateboarders grind down railings, skiers and snowboarders traverse these by hopping on and letting the gravity of the slope do the rest.

Rails can change direction and elevation and often have specific names designating what they do or how they’re shaped, including:

●        C-rail

●        S-rail

●        Kink

Though they sound simple enough—sliding downwards is just controlled falling, right?—you’ll need to master a couple basic skills, along with proper terrain park etiquette, in order to attempt these (more on both later).

Tables

Experience the rebellious thrill of jumping seemingly out-of-place obstacles without actually doing anything unsafe! Tables look just like the picnic tables you’d see at the park. Riders can hop over them or slide across.

However, we don’t recommend starting with the table if this is your first time, second time, or even third at the terrain park; it’s a little tricky to traverse for beginners.

Jumps

Quite aptly named, jumps involve a takeoff point, a landing spot, and some airtime in between.

Like their rail cousins, jumps often have more specific titles depending on their structure, including:

●        Hip

●        Spine

●        Step-up

●        Table top

Just like rails, too, while jumps might sound simple in thought, they’re a little more complicated in actuality, and they’re not for absolute beginners who are just learning to carve up the bunny hill.

What Skills Should I Know Before Visiting Whitecap’s Terrain Park?

First, if you’re at all doubting your skills, invest in some ski lessons or snowboard lessons with our instructors. There, you’ll master control, which includes starting, stopping, and tight turning, all of which are necessary to keep you and others safe in the often close quarters of the terrain park.

You’ll also need to learn how to fall safely, because as you work to master obstacles, you’ll be taking diggers—a lot of diggers. Fortunately, with the right attitude, technique, and safety equipment, you’ll be able to get up, brush off the powder, and get right back to tackling your next challenge. Skiing or boarding in a terrain park is no different from skiing or boarding typical slopes in that respect.

Learn to Press and Ollie

On the more technical side of things, you’ll need to master both the press and the ollie, respectively, if you want to get the lift you need to hop onto obstacles.

To press, load weight onto one end of your skis or board while lifting the other from the ground. Ollying is simply using the bend created from pressing to jump. Simple skills in thought, but complicated in practice—noticing a theme here?

Private ski lessons are the best way to learn the more finesse-related terrain-park basics, so don’t be afraid to sign up and streamline your progress.

What Is Terrain Park Etiquette Like?

Quite a bit like ski resort etiquette, actually! Don’t cut in line, ride alertly, yield the right-of-way to people in front, etc.

In fact, our blog “Three Tips for Safe Snowboarding” covers quite a bit of what boarders and skiers alike need to know!

Aside from that, mind the following unspoken terrain park code:

●        Only stop when you’re both visible from above and not obstructing traffic. Ideally, this will be in designated safe areas.

●        Call your drops. This means letting people know with a quick yell that you’re about to engage with an obstacle.

●        A person blocking an obstacle with their arms raised and crossed means that someone below has crashed. Don’t engage until you’re given the go-ahead!

●        Start small and don’t push your limits. This helps keep the terrain park running smoothly and without obstructions. Most parks will have obstacles marked with difficulty levels, making this easy.

Come Ride at Whitecap Today!

We’re so excited to share our brand-new terrain park with new and dedicated fans of our slopes alike, so come get your ski pass and don your helmet: a great time awaits! Book your stay at Whitecap today or contact our Upson, Wisconsin resort office with questions at 715-561-2227.

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