To a beginner, the terrain park can seem like an intimidating place. There are lots of good riders there, practicing their big tricks on huge jumps and rails.
Almost every park that I have been to has ratings on each of its features. They vary on each mountain, but they will generally go from an S (small feature), M (medium feature), L (large feature) and XL (extra large feature).
1. Know your skill level
If you are a beginner just starting out in the park, focus on the S features. They are the small jumps, ride on boxes and maybe a small ride on rail. They have minimal consequences if you fall and are designed to be an easy introduction to freestyle riding.
2. Wear a helmet
Many parks will require that you wear a helmet, but even if you they don’t enforce it, it is a good idea. If you are pushing yourself to get better, you are going to fall sooner or later – so it’s probably a better idea to bang a helmet against the snow rather than your head.
3. First time
If it is your first time in the park, go in and watch everyone from the side. See where everyone lines up, where they drop from and get an idea of how the park works. Normally there will be groups of people waiting to use one feature, so watch how they organize and take turns.
4. Call your drop
If you are going to hit a feature, yell “dropping” or anything to let everyone know that you are going to hit a feature. I have seen people getting cut off, almost crashing but never when someone has called their drop. On top of being safe, it is courteous.
5. If you crash
If you crash, as soon as you can, move out of the landing. It is a dangerous situation, especially on jumps because you can’t see over the knuckle from where the drop in it. If you are hurt, yell out so that someone can block the feature to stop other people crashing in to you.
6. Crashed rider
If you see someone on the knuckle of a jump with their arms crossed, don’t drop, it means someone has crashed. Wait until they give you the all clear.
If you are hiking a feature, make sure that when you hike back up you are out of the way.
8. Talk to people
Be friendly and talk to people. Like you they are there to have fun and progress.
9. Progress slowly
Work your way up through the features slowly, practice consistently and you will be hitting XL kinked rails sooner than you think.