Well, well, well... So if you're reading this I guess it means that blogs have officially been added to newschoolers. I am adding this before the section launches for one simple reason... I want to have the first ever blog post on NS. Well Paul technically got it with his test post, but maybe I'll delete that just so I can be first. I'm really interested to see how this whole blog thing turns out. I mean it's a pretty cool concept to simply give certain people within the world of skiing a place to voice their opinions and perhaps even delve into something more interesting that your typical ski interview. That's something that I'm really hoping to see here. Perhaps it's just me getting older, but I've been feeling like the world of skiing is really lacking in good, solid, interesting CONTENT lately. I read through so many of the magazines, and it's the same crap over and over... hell even most of our news articles really aren't that good. I guess that's partly my fault, and I should get on it. Ok, note to self...Skiing is a lifestyle to me. It's all I do. I work for NS in the winter, and High North in the summer. I escape the typical summer life just to do more skiing. I don't see why we can't delve deeper into the minds of those who make up our sport. I love reading something where one gets to really know the skier as a person, not just as a skier. The people involved in our industry have interesting brains, and i think that this resource should get tapped more. There are opinions on the state of everything out there, it's just so hard to get it out of people. My opinions? Man... too many to get out in one post. I guess there will be lots of these though, so i can go through things one issue at a time. Let's see... what could we discuss today? I know... The state of terrain park construction. Parks are getting bigger, sicker, and some resorts have really stepped up to the plate to make their shit sick. I went to Mammoth last year, and I was absolutely blown away by the quality of work on their terrain parks. Every feature was built with love and knowledge, and you couldn't find a flaw anywhere. When I go to some resorts, the jumps have quick kick, too much float, flat landings, the rails are leaning, etc. I really don't see why those who build parks sometimes just let it all go to shit, and stand there and do nothing about it. I mean seriously, if you can ride you should always be hitting your own features and asking yourself: "Is this perfect?" 'cause you know what? If it's not perfect, why the fuck don't you get up and fix it? I've worked in parks for the last 5 years or so, and I understand how hard it can be to organize everything. I mean, Mammoth has SEVEN cats dedicated solely to their park. Remember that hip in War where Andreas does the crazy huge cork 3 or whatever? They HAND CUT that landing. Can a cat cut something that steep? Nope. You gotta do it with shovels. I was talking to one of the guys at Mammoth who had worked on that feature (which was actually at June) and he said they had like 20 guys or something shovel the whole damn thing out. Now THAT is dedication...Not to say that features to that level are possible everywhere, but a much higher standard could definitely be maintained. When I used to work park staff in the winter, I remember that if you worked hard for about 2 hours out of your day you could keep everything pretty damn pimp. When I look at it from the administration point of view, those guys high up at the resort, I can understand how hard it is to get things running well though. If you really think about the type of person that knows what a park is, rides it, and is in touch with what's happening in the world of parks today.... they tend to be completely irresponsible, and have no ability to plan and manage. Plus, the added fact that your average person who runs operations at a mountain would have no clue what a park should look like, how the hell do they know who to hire for the job? I've often dreamt about an organization that sought to develop standards for park building. Like if you want to work in a park you need to go get your Lvl 1 maintenance certification. If you want to go higher, you've got to train with the best. To be qualified to build a 120ft. jump you have to have gone through tonnes of training. This way, parks would be monitored and ensure to have quality features. Of course, I hate rules, and even more hate attending class style stuff, and really hate it when people put rules on stuff like this, as I'm sure the rest of you do too... So maybe that's not the best option. What I wish is that we lived in some sort of dreamworld where one could rely on people to do a good job, and not fuck up their only responsibility in life... Sadly that doesn't seem to be the case, and I guess that's why rules and regulations happen... there's too many fucking morons in this world who couldn't find their way out of a paper bag. The only advice I'll give you as a park rider is the following; Pretend you're 70 years old and all you want to do is carve courderoy. You go out one day, and the cat has left a few funny marks in the snow that create a TINY bump at one spot in the run. This makes you angry. You call, send email, and demand for the grooming to get better. THE MOUNTAIN WILL LISTEN. I have one buddy who is a groomer and they get these kinds of complaints all the time. What happens? The groomer responsible is told not to do that again, and they have to fix their work. YOU can do this too! If you want something changed about the park, talk to the park staff, send emails to the general contact box at the resort, make calls, whatever! Don't let them get away with this... you must rally so that all parks in the world will improve. Believe me, they want you skiing at their mountain more than you want to ski there. Without your business, your parents leave and so does the whole family. It's a huge loss for a mountain to lose someone just like you. That's the whole reason that parks have come so far, is some marketing guy somewhere finally figured out that if they got the kids to come to the mountain, the parents would too. BAM, no more marketing to old guys. So you hold more power than you think. I'm way too picky about park features. My buddies always say "stop bitching about the feature and do a trick". That is something I've had to learn to do, but it was what made me a good park staff. I was never satisfied with how something rode... it always had to be more perfect. At least that's what I tried to do... sometimes you just screw it up and the feature sucks and it's your fault, but everyone makes mistakes ya know? Alright, I'm going to call it here.... but I am going to add one final picture. This is us working on the High north Quarterpipe. That was the biggest project I have ever worked on. It took on average 4 hours per day to get it open. There was no way to fix it by machine, so Myself and Oakley White-Allen had to hand-cut that thing every day. Let me tell you that's a lot of snow. Plus if there's even the slightest kink in it you can feel it, so you have to shave the takeoff a few centimetres at a time... crazy shit. The landings had to get hand cut as well, just so they would be steep enough to hit smoothly. It was fun as hell to do... It's like having a 25' tall 60' wide sculpture. Building parks should be an artform, not just a job.