Jesse Boyd, V-P of Operations for Peak Resorts, believes that terrain parks are the future of the sport.

"Freestyle terrain caters to or may attract folks who may not be attracted to traditional skiing and snowboaring. It opens up a new demographic for ski areas," he said.

Boyd, 28, is son of Peak Resorts President Tim Boyd. He was born in St. Louis, Mo., learned to ski and switched to snowboarding at age 8 or 9, when his parents bought him a snowboard.

Boyd described himself as a "park rat" who found he loved the excitement and challenge that terrain parks offered.

He also realized that smaller mountains could offer that challenge, and could attract skiers and riders even if they could not offer the same vertical as larger resorts.

"Big Boulder is one of the smallest areas in the Pocono Mountains, but with terrain parks it doesn't matter what the vertical is, it's what you make out of the parks," Boyd said.

"Terrain parks are the great equalizer, that allow smaller areas to compete with bigger areas," he said.

Mount Snow, a Peaks Resort area in Vermont, has transformed its Carinthia Face into a terrain park.

"That was something I've been toying around with in Pennsylvania for four or five years, and it worked really well," he said.

Peak Resorts acquired Jack Frost and Big Boulder in 2004. Jesse Boyd was GM for three years, and under his management Big Boulder became about 75 percent terrain park.

He said ski schools at Big Boulder and at Mount Snow offer terrain park instruction for skiers and riders.