Politeness goes a long way and the terrain park is no exception. Typically, it's a group of teens and 20-somethings with droopy drawers, Ipods and an "I'm too cool" attitude. But some rules have been developed in the terrain park that make everyone happy, if you simply use a little respect and etiquette.
Jon Casson is the Snowboard Director for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. He's all about being polite to fellow riders and boarders. He says, "There are rules, but they're a loose set of rules, similar to being in a skate park."
He says that at the top of the feature, wait your turn and yell, "Dropping in." Casson adds, "Make sure you make eye contact with the person waiting to drop in, to make sure that they see you. It's a good vibe thing. Give a little wave, smile or nod and they'll give you one back. Then you know it's your time to go."
Tyler Morant is the Freeride coach for Team Summit in Summit County, Colo. He agrees to be respectful to everyone around you. "Yell ‘Drop,' put up your pole or hand so everyone gives you a little space, especially if you are trying new tricks."
Both coaches stress the politeness and being respectful. Morant says, "Enjoy the day. Everyone is there to learn. No one is any better than anyone else, no matter what level you are. It's a community and everyone should think about working together and becoming friends with everyone. That's how ideas spread and the sport progresses."
Casson adds that it's all about creating a good vibe in the park and cheering on people. "It's pretty obvious when someone learns a new trick for the first time. Give them a smile and tell them, ‘Nice job.' You see attitude way too much and we don't need that. The park is for everyone to enjoy."
Safety and common sense are so important and a matter of courtesy. Casson compares it to driving on the highway, "Do you really need to blow past someone to get off at the next exit? Be patient and polite. There's no trick that can't wait five or six seconds for someone else to go."
Scott Anfang is the Terrain Parks Manager for Steamboat and he says, "Because of the culture of ski and snowboard and freestyle, they're not one to stand in line so it's kind of a mob of people staying there. That's why it's so important to call your drop in at the top of a rail or the pipe so that multiple people don't go at the same time."
The National Ski Areas Association, in their Smart Style program, says, "Respect gets respect." This means the basic rules of politeness. Respect the terrain and others, one person on a feature at a time, wait your turn and call your start, always clear the landing area quickly, and respect all signs and stay off closed terrain and features.
It's important for everyone's safety on the mountain.
Read Paul Doherty's There's A Terrain Park For Everyone - Adrenaline Junkie Or Not for a library of information on North American terrain parks, including links to relevant stories.