When you first start sliding down the hill on a snowboard or set of skis, it’s hard to imagine your feet ever leaving the ground or riding over a rail on purpose. However, there’s a reason Mammoth Mountain has five terrain parks with features made for beginners and professionals alike.
Terrain parks are designed for snowboarders and skiers to test their skills and creativity in a way they would never be able to anywhere else. The terrain park may seem inaccessible to beginners and even experienced riders who have never ridden there before, but with persistence and the terrain park tips the ASO Mammoth team has put together below, you’ll see why people from all over the world ride Mammoth’s terrain parks!
Slow and Steady Repetition
The first thing you need to master to become great in the park is basic riding and skiing skills. You cannot safely ride the terrain park if you cannot make it down a basic ski slope because riding in the park means stopping and turning at a moment’s notice.
That may sound discouraging to beginners since they’re still working hard to get comfortable with the basics, but the good news is that riding the park requires the same patience and persistence needed to go from a beginner to an accomplished skier or snowboarder.
When you’re trying to ride the terrain park, remember that everyone in the park got to where they are by slow and steady repetition. Don’t be afraid to take baby steps, because any progress is still progress!
Get Comfortable with Falling
Even in the biggest competitions and terrain parks in the world the best snowboarders and skiers fall every day, and so will you.
As mentioned earlier, the terrain park is all about pushing your skills and creativity. If you’re doing that then you will fall eventually. Fortunately, there is a way to fall so that you can bounce back. We’ve written in depth about falling safely here, but the basics are to relax as much as possible before you fall. It sounds difficult to do, but by relaxing your body you improve your chances of not being seriously hurt. Next, if you start to slide after a fall do not try to stop yourself by jamming your edge into the snow. If you do, the sudden stop could result in injury. Lastly, protect your head with a helmet and by distributing the energy of the fall throughout your body to avoid whiplash.
Work on Your Press and Ollie
Two essential skills for park riding are presses and ollies.
A press is when you lean onto the tips or tails of your skis or snowboard and press it down while lifting up the other end. For both snowboarding and skiing, pressing your tail is an essential part of ollieing, which consists of loading pressure onto your tail and then using the flex of the board or skis to hop up. Ollieing is how park snowboarders and skiers get up onto rails and boxes as well as how they get the lift off the lip of jumps needed for more advanced tricks.
Work on Your Park Riding Outside the Park
Even when you’re just riding from the top of the lift to the terrain park entrance you can practice your presses, ollies, and simple tricks. You must be considerate of other people around you when practicing park tricks on regular slopes, so keep an eye out for other riders and skiers before you hit any bumps, jumps, or butters.