The terrain park can be the most intimidating place to ride on the entire mountain thanks to the concentration of advanced riders and skiers making tricks look easy. Add the fact that many terrain parks are often located underneath or near lifts, and entering the terrain park for the first time can be a major challenge, especially at a place with parks as famous as those at Mammoth Mountain.
The thing is though, if you ask the people riding the park they’ll tell you that there’s nothing to be afraid of. In fact, terrain parks are often the most collaborative places on the mountain as long as you follow common terrain park etiquette. If you’re thinking about spending time in the terrain park, check out the ASO Mammoth common etiquette guide so you and the people around you stay safe all day long!
Plan Your Runs and Call Your Drops
Even if you’ve been watching people from the lift all day long, the first time you enter the terrain park you need to take a run through to see what features you’re interested in and what their run ups and landings are like. Plus, planning your runs out will keep you from deciding to hit features at the last minute and cutting others off in the process.
Along the same lines, you should always call your drops. What we mean by that is that you need to clearly communicate when you’re going to start your run towards a feature. When you enter the park, you’ll typically notice that riders and skiers are gathered at the top. While some people may just be talking, the majority of riders and skiers are waiting their turn to hit a feature. You don’t need to wait if you’re just doing a ride through, but otherwise stop and wait until everyone waiting ahead of you has had a chance to drop and then verbally tell the other riders that you’re dropping. If you’re having a conversation, make sure people waiting know that you’re not in line.
Further down there may not be a line to hit features, but always check for other riders before you make your approach and call your drop if necessary.
Stay Clear of Landings
The reason riders and skiers don’t line up further down in the middle of the park is because it is dangerous to sit or stop near landings and other features. Even if you’re visible from the run up to a feature, anyone hitting is going to have to avoid you instead of focusing on their landing. If you need to wait for your buddy or want to watch other people hit a feature, then do so from the side of the park well away from landings.
Don’t Use Rail Lips as Jumps and Know Your Ability
In the park you may see rails that have small jumps set up in front of them so riders can jump on top. If you’re a beginner in the park you may be tempted to hit these jumps but avoid the rail since the jumps are usually small and approachable. Those jumps are built specifically for rails and not for people to hit like a regular jump. Save these jumps for people who intend to ride the rails they were built for. If you’re not ready for a rail or any other feature, don’t take someone else’s’ chance to hit it away by making a run you don’t intend to finish.
Be Respectful and Ask for Help
Everyone in the terrain park is there to have fun and get better, and as long as you respect that fact others will do the same for you. Playful banter is ok but making fun of someone for falling or struggling with a new trick only makes you look bad, so respect everyone riding around you. Don’t be afraid to ask other riders or park employees for advice or help either. The people who are stomping jumps and rails are doing so for a reason and typically don’t mind sharing what they know. The park is a collaborative place, be friendly, respectful, and know you skill level and you’ll have a blast! For more Mammoth Mountain information and rentals, stop by ASO Mammoth!