Growing up in Virginia it didn't take Day Franzen long to realize the best snowboarding terrain is what you build yourself. After mastering the basics of Jumps 101, Franzen was soon driving snowcats with Massanutten's park crew and since then he's made a career of designing and building features and parks of national acclaim. He most recently owned and operated Kingvale Terrain Project, in Lake Tahoe—a shredder's wonderland that oozed stylish flow, while stimulating rider progression as one of the first all-park mountains in North America.
Franzen is now leading the team at Mount Snow's Carinthia Parks, as the new Freestyle Terrain Manager. OnTheSnow was able to catch up with him to talk park design, reminisce about the Kingvale days and hear about what he’s looking forward to in Vermont. Part One of the interview is below. Click here to read Part Two.
OnTheSnow: How did you get introduced to snowboarding?
Day Franzen: I first started riding in a cow pasture on a Burton Woody with no bindings. We would build six inch kickers to flat. Then I moved on to riding at Massanutten. I had some friends who rode a lot and got me into it. I got sponsored by Hooger Booger and couldn't stay off the board. I would drive after high school to have night sessions in the rain.
OTS: Sounds like you caught the park bug right off.
DF: Yes, I was pulled straight to the park. All my friends were there so it was instant.
OTS: What was the first trick you dialed in?
DF: Backside three [sixty] in the pouring rain, lapping the Massanutten J-Bar ‘til close.
OTS: Nice. Did you have a favorite feature to hit?
DF: I have an attraction to Hips and Spines. I think they're one of the most fun features to hit. I love that you can either go ten feet or a hundred.
OTS: How are they to build?
DF: They’re not always an easy feature to build or maintain, but I love the challenge involved.
Franzen worked with the Jackass crew during the filming of Jackass 3D.
OTS: So how did you get into designing?
DF: I was a Raker at Massanutten so I could ride as much as possible. When my boss at the time got the axe, I was the only other guy who had been there more than a month. Right time, right place.
OTS: Wow, guess so. What then prompted you to break off and create your own park [Kingvale]?
DF: The concept for Kingvale came from working at resorts for so long. We wanted to show we could do it cheaper. We wanted to have more of a skatepark feel than a whole resort feel. Also what snowboarder in the whole world doesn’t want their own park?
OTS: Beats us. Could you break down the "skatepark feel" for the non-boarders out there?
DF: Park flow and rhythm are huge to me. I like to look at Terrain Parks as a enormous skatepark where kids can pick their own lines and be creative like skateboarders. Terrain Parks tend to get stuck in this downhill rut of all the features in a line up.
OTS: So where or who do you draw inspiration from?
OTS: You’ve gotten to work on some pretty elaborate builds and shoots, what's that like?
DF: The larger and more elaborate the builds, the harder it gets to have a great product. Time constraints begin to effect everything you do. The Kingvale boys and me got the call to do Team Challenge five days before the event. We pulled it off, but there were nothing but all-nighters to get it done.
OTS: You even worked on the set of Jackass, right? That must have been a trip.
DF: Jackass was a super good time and a ton of long days. They would try to film four, maybe five snow setups in a day. Tons of cameras, staff and production. It was definitely a circus.
OTS: What was your favorite?
DF: Cutters Cup and SuperPark are by far my favorite events to be a part of. Back then these events were like Junkyard Wars you had three days of cat time and one day of welding time. Each team had its own zone to work on and it was all voted on by the SuperPark Pros.