Do you really want to build the park or are you just looking for an easy job at the mountain? If you just want the job because it's easy and fun there is a good chance both you and whoever hires you will be very disappointed.

My goal here is not to make you second guess yourself as much as to warn you. This job is a lot of fun if you are into it, but you need to be prepared to work.

What some people think the park crew does.

What the park crew actually does some days.

For the most part the days are spent taking laps, checking that the features are in good shape, and periodically raking things out. Most of the major work is done after hours or on trails that are closed during the day. This is why people get the idea that the park crew doesn't actually do anything. What they don't see is how much work goes into setting up the parks nice, and maintaining them until the next build.

A lot of the real work goes down at night.

A normal day in on the park crew

In the morning the park crew goes up before the mountain opens to get set up and make sure everything looks good. Any fencing or signage that needs to be put out is done at this time. The park crew laps through the different parks raking things out, testing or visually inspecting the features as they do so. If they find any problems they will fix the feature or close it until there is time to fix it such as after the mountain closes. Throughout the day the park crew keeps an eye on the parks, raking things out as needed and making sure everything is looking good. When the mountain closes it is time for tearing down fences, signage, and giving the park some love with end of day maintenance. If any building is happening, this is when the fun starts.

Night builds, contests, and mother nature can come in at any time to change the routine day. Powder days are awesome, digging out the park not so much.

There is no better time to start than now

If you think this is what you want to do, talk to the management and park crew at your local hill. Figure out who they are, and express your interest in working on the crew. The sooner you get involved the better your chances are of grabbing that first job. The biggest factor is experience, and right now you don't have any so getting that first job should be your primary goal. You will need to be 18 at most mountains but some smaller places do not have an age requirement. If you are too young to work on the park crew or there isn't an open spot, see if you can volunteer in the park for a pass. Volunteering is a good way to get your foot in the door and even if a spot does not become available you will gain valuable experience that can be used to get a paid position anywhere.

If you are working another job on the mountain such as ski school, express an interest in working the park. Sometimes the park crew will need an extra hand so it's a great idea to let management know how you feel. The parks can also be a dangerous place and park crew injuries are not uncommon. Please don't go making a voodoo doll of each crew member but there is always the chance of a spot opening mid season.

The majority of what you will be doing is learned through on the job training. At the same time you should figure out any applicable skills and experience you have that may help you to get the job. Maybe you work construction with your uncle in the summer, or you took a welding class in school. Things like that are not necessary but they can really help to boost you above the rest of the pack when you apply.

Most of the people on the park crew love their job and keep doing it year after year. This makes getting the first job more difficult as the openings are generally limited. This is why I stress getting involved now so that if a position opens up they know who you are, and that you want the job.

Some tips

Build things that everybody can have fun on. (Even the noobs)

Be prepared for late nights and bad weather. Most of the time it's awesome, but you should be ready for those long days and nights that aren't.

Make a folder of different features or setups you like at other mountains

Take pictures of your work and save them to help get future jobs

Work hard. A good reference can go a long way.

DON'T BREAK THE RAKES!(Or any tools)

Have fun!

Build like it matters! (because it does)

If you're going to build it, why not build it right the first time? Whether it's a giant booter in your main park or some smaller rails in your beginner park you should put the effort in to build things right. In the end everyone likes to hit a nice looking setup. When you go to a mountain and the park is dialed because the crew put in the effort it's awesome. On the other side when you ski a place where the rails are leaning to either side, the takeoffs don't work and the park looks unmaintained and half-assed it's not so much fun. At the end of the day people are paying to shred the park you work in. It isn't the customers fault that you're cold, hungover from the night before, or just too lazy to do it right. Building it right the first time will save you from having to go back and fix things as well as giving both you and the guests a better product to shred.

There is something simply magical about watching people have fun on something you built. You put in the extra time to do it right and now the kids are all smiles. That is why park crew really is the best job in the world!