A terrain park is to skiers and snowboarders what a skate park is to skateboarders: a place for learning and practicing tricks and, of course, showing off skills.
Not coincidentally, terrain parks have their roots in skateboard parks and many of the features are common to both.
Most resorts have terrain parks, with many having multiple parks of varying difficulty. Some resorts are almost exclusively terrain parks such as Echo Mountain Park in Idaho Springs, Colo.
Jibs, jumps, and pipes are standard park features. Parks differ in their designation - small, medium, and large - and degrees of difficulty. A small park has short jumps and rails that are even with the slope's surface. Medium-sized parks have zero to 10-foot jumps along with jibs requiring small jumps to get on top. Large parks include five to 90-foot jumps, along with complex jibs and large vertical pipes.
Jibs are any type of fixture which can be ridden with the board/skis and jumped or tricked from. A jib is considered any one of the following fixtures: rails, funboxes, trees, mailboxes, wall-rides, bonks, park benches and picnic tables. These surfaces are slippery, so balance is key. It's no fun to fall on a solid rail in freezing-cold weather.
Jumps in terrain parks can range from 5-to-90 feet and they vary based on terrain available. Types of jumps in a park can include a tabletop, a step-down, a step-up, a gap, a hip, or a spine.
Speed and approach are key when hitting a jump. A confident approach and steady take off ensures body control while in the air. Too much speed on a tabletop jump can result in overshooting the transition and flat-bottoming past the landing. Too little speed means there needs to be one less turn or carve on the approach.
A halfpipe, which comes from the skateboarding world, is a downhill trough with vertical lips on each side that are generally about 11 feet (3.35 m) high. A superpipe is a large halfpipe with 16-foot (4.9 m) walls on both sides that are nearly 90 degrees vertical. A quarterpipe is a vertical lip with the intention that the user launch straight into the air, then land on the same lip. Quarterpipes are used at ski and snowboard events to measure "big air". Momentum is the number one factor when "dropping a line" into a halfpipe. Speed is required throughout a run to slide up the walls from one side to the other.