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Scary dangerous "snowboard parks"......

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I night ski during the week at an area in central MA by the name of Wachusett. They draw massive crowds of people every night of the week, and there are many middle and high school buses/groups up there on any given night.

They have two highspeed quads, each servicing separate part of the mountain, a "expert" side about 800 vertical (I use the term loosely) and a beginner-intermediate side, about 500-600 vertical. Both are FLAT......

The thing is, they've built something vaugely resembling a snowboard park on the trail, two ~20-25 foot tables, a flat but half decent spine, and an uncut halfpipe in the middle of the trail. The jumps BLOW, but they're the only ones on the mountain.

Hundreds upon hundreds of kids stream down this flat park, with maybe 15 to 25 skiers and snowboarders actually knowing what they're doing. For a good skier to hit any of these tiny jumps, they must carry speed from way up the hill (flat) and from jump to jump. There is no way to sight any of the landings before hand..........one of the inexperienced kids is going to get landed on one of these days. Not to mention getting cut off all the time.

What can I do about this? I really want get them to build a decent freestyle jump on the other part of the mountain, that would take the experts out of the park. Any ways to get this done?

post #2 of 6
Things will change when someone gets hurt and the ski area gets sued. That's usually what it takes to make a change in the way things are handled.

Sounds like they could use some sort of "life guard" there to regulate when individuals enter the area and someone at the bottom to make sure they move out quickly. Like a waterslide park.

You could always write a letter voicing your concerns but I doubt you get much action on it. At least it would be on the record and if you got hurt you could refer back to your letter.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Insert your two cents HERE.

This the the Wachusett mountain message board and it is monitored by one of their higher-ups. I have already talked to the grooming manager and he is up for anything pending approval by upper management. If you would like to make any comments regarding experiences you've had at other mountains, please fell free to chime in here or on their board!


Edit: Here's the text of the open letter (with commas).

Experts vs. the snowboard park: An open letter.

Dear Wachusett Management,

I was up on last Thursday, 1/9/02, when it was quite crowded as it often is. I checked out the snowboard park for the first time. I have some serious concerns about the amount of people moving through the park and the range of abilities of people trying to use it. The park is located on the beginner side of the mountain directly under the chairlift. There are probably hundreds of beginners and intermediates passing through the park every hour, most with little to no experience jumping. At the same time, there are a handful of experts taking runs through the park, going jump to jump without stopping, to carry their speed. When skiing a park like this, the experts are unable to sight jumps beforehand to make sure the landing is clear. I saw numerous close calls and was personally cut off about 75% of the time when approaching a jump. I saw no snow fencing, or “park rangers” in evidence – and I find that park rangers are usually an ineffective band-aid. It is just a matter of time before a serious collision results in a serious injury or worse.

The ironic thing is, most experts really have no wish to ski or ride a park with small jumps with flat landings on a flat trail, which I fully understand you are limited to for a park location at the moment. Most experts would prefer to have just one “expert level” jump rather than a park with small jumps. I suggest that an expert level jump should be constructed on one of the expert level trails on the other part of the mountain. This would be a 35-40 foot jump, with a steep landing using the terrain, off to the side of the trail, and using snow fencing to block the sides of both the jump and landing. Of course, this will greatly benefit the experts on the mountain who wish to pursue worthwhile jumping. This would move experts out of the park for the most part and greatly reduce the possibility of a high speed, blind collision between a large, adult/teen expert and a little kid.

I have called and talked to Scott Goodnow, the grooming manager, and he indicated that you were very receptive to constructive criticism. I understand that you are pushing for the construction of a new park area, and while this may be a half-decent long term solution, you will still have the problem discussed above, unless you have a park or jump that is safely constructed and restricted to experts.

Thank You.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 14, 2002 02:36 PM: Message edited 2 times, by Red Sled ]</font>

Edited by Red Sled - 10/17/16 at 6:42pm
post #4 of 6
I know of one resort that had staff hanging out with bull-horns to lifeguard the guest as Snack suggested. The insurance company came through and advised that they discontinue the direct supervision. Reasoning was the resort incurred more liability by supervising the activity. The recommended marking it as expert only and just have the employee pass through to check on things. This year they have somebody at the top of the hits, but they can't watch the whole park.
post #5 of 6
When trying to make changes you need to have a plan to replace the old one.
You see, talking about the problems gets them listening but to get action, you have to get them excited, which means you have to have a better idea, a workable idea, and sell them on it.
post #6 of 6
I ski at Wachusett all the time too, and have for the past 15 years. The park has always been an issue. In my opinion, they really dont cater at all to freestyle skiers, but mainly focus on racing.
That park is super scary, I agree, but honestly, less so that in years past. I have seen so many kids get landed on off of that last table, there have been a lot of injuries, but still there in no change.
They usually build an arial site, with a good landing at the bottom of the same trail (right above the summit chair to the right looking up the hill), but it is only open on weekends to the kids on the Freestyle team.
The main issue is space, there is just no room there to build a permanant good sized jump, and if they did...all of those little kids would sideslip up it anyway turning it into a big of piece of crap as the park. its not the construction of the park really, just that by the time people like Red Sled and myself get there, its so ruined by the busloads of schoolkids who go through there from 1:30 to 7. If you went up there in the AM, the jumps are in way better shape.
I really dont think too much can be done, you have to acceot the hill for what it is, a family oriented, beginner/intermediate hill, and that is what they focus on. We are lucky we have any jumps at all tp play on.
Oh yeah...and wait until the build the mogul course under the summit chair...if you think the park is sketchy...you havent seen anything yet.
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