Terrain park workers at Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area last winter found themselves battling riders ignoring closures and putting workers in danger. But the new education program at the resort is producing positive behavior changes in less than a month.
"People are respecting rope lines and closures more," J.J. Mcleod, mountain events director, told OnTheSnow. "Before we had to do all kinds of things when we were working on features because we'd get buzzed all the time or they'd gap us. We saw a lack of respect in safety for us and safety for them."
Mcleod brought in a terrain park pass program used successfully at other ski resorts such as The Summit at Snoqualmie and Stevens Pass. It requires all terrain park users to get a free park pass, which is available by watching the 12-minute Smart Style video.
The new program launched Dec. 10 at Bogus Basin, and Mcleod has seen results in three weeks. "Since then, we've issued over 1,800 park passes," said Mcleod. "We are seeing them being more respectful, and the language thing has improved a lot. The overall perception has been very, very good."
Terrain park skiers, riders, and spectators stop by the yurt at the top of the Deer Point Chair to pick up the free passes. McLeod renovated the unused yurt, adding heat, power, and benches to accommodate terrain park users. Skiers and snowboarders watch the 12-minute video and then discuss the skier responsibility code for a few minutes to get the free passes.
The Smart Style program focuses on four elements to create a safe environment in terrain parks. Those elements include making a plan for each feature, looking before you leap, working up progressions, and demonstrating respect.
Bogus Basin maintains three terrain parks. Beginners start out on the Sunshine Terrain Park to build skills on its two 15-foot kickers, rainbow rail, and battleship. Intermediate and advanced riders can head to the Playground Freestyle Terrain Park, which changes its lineup of features throughout the season. The Claim Jumper Terrain Park features large 30- to 40-foot kickers.
All of the terrain parks are lit for night skiing and riding. They close for 30 minutes daily at 4 p.m. for maintenance and grooming before re-opening for night riding.