terrainparkBy Alicia Dziak

With the Olympics wrapping up this week, lots of attention has been on the new ski and snowboarding slopestyle events, where the U.S. team fared extremely well. With so many eyes on the rails and other features of the slopestyle courses in Sochi, terrain parks are hot and Holiday Valley and HoliMont offer many fun and challenging features.

By definition, terrains parks are winter playgrounds that allow skiers and snowboarders to perform tricks on various terrain including rails, pipes, rollers and more. Their summer cousins are skate parks, with many featuring common features.

Holiday Valley offers snowboarders and freeriders several terrain parks that are open to everyone.

This year, Holiday Valley unveiled its all-new Riglet Park, a special teaching area for the youngest set. The park, located at the base of School Haus East adjacent to the Creekside Lodge, is built on flat terrain with mini rollers, banked turns and very low-level boxes and rails. It’s a perfect starting place for beginners.

The Outpost, at the base of the Progression Park, is a second option for the littlest riders.

“This is a great place for kids to learn introductory skills on ground-level features,” said Pat Morgan, Holiday Valley’s terrain park manager.

From there, enthusiasts can move on to Snoozer, which boasts snow features like jumps and banked turns, and the Rail Park, which features a variety of progressive and creative jib lines.

Foxfire, the home of the 42/78 Park, contains the largest features for advanced level riders. The park features a variety of jump features, a battleship, a rain-see from Northern Rails, and technical rails like a wall ride, kinked and straight rails. The 42/78 Park hosts most of Holiday Valley’s slopestyle events this year.

Finally, Moonshadow is the site of the high-traffic boardercross course.

“This is an exciting park for those who want nothing to do with rails,” explained Morgan.

Of course, safety is a top priority.

“The terrain parks are groomed nightly and inspected daily,” Morgan said.

Over at HoliMont, the terrain parks on the far west side of the resort, around Sunset slope, are made for fun and adventure.

“The Half Moon Park is our beginner park and consists of smaller features that help kids get used to sliding on boxes and getting a little bit of air,” explained Dash Hegeman, HoliMont’s marketing director. “Wild Thing has an array of features that range from entry-level boxes to more advanced rainbow rails, C-boxes, and flat-down-flat rails. We have a jump line underneath the top section of the Sunset lift that has a small jump, medium sized jump and then a bigger jump to finish it off.”

Hegeman said, “After the jumps, the park opens up into a section with some of our more interesting features, including our famous Volkswagen Bug box and our fairly new Dinosaur box. After that section, you can make your way into our newly constructed halfpipe. It’s been open for a couple of weeks now and the Park Crew and Mountain Crew did a great job getting all the snow pushed into position and then shaping the pipe in a pretty short amount of time.”

Safety is also of the utmost concern at HoliMont.

“The Park Crew at HoliMont goes the extra mile to make sure that our parks are both fun and as safe as possible,” said Hegeman. “Countless hours are spent throughout the season raking and shaping takeoffs and landings, painting outlines on the snow features so that there is contrast in the parks on those infamous flat-light Western New York days, and doing lots of other behind-the-scenes tasks that often go unnoticed but are completely necessary in order to have a well-maintained park.”

Whether you’re a newcomer or a frequent flyer in this action-packed sport, you’re sure to find that hours of fun await you in the terrain parks at both of Ellicottville’s ski areas.

For more information, check out the terrain park pages at www.holidayvalley.com and www.holimont.com.