What’s it like working in the terrain park?

This is my second season working in the terrain park. I love it. I also briefly worked in the terrain park at AZ snowbowl back in the late 90’s before there were rakes!

So if you are thinking of working in the terrain park at a ski area then this is for you. You’ve got options for lots of different jobs, but is the terrain park for you?

Who is this job not for?

If you don’t ride the terrain park and you don’t think you’d like building features and taking care of them then it’s not for you. If you just want a job to get a pass well there are a lot of other jobs you could do like: rentals, waiting on tables, instructing, grooming, mechanics, janitor, hr, lifty, etc.

I’ve done instructing, rentals (2-3 seasons) and waiting on tables. All of them provided time where I could usually ride daily. If you got a night job you could ride all day.

At the beginning of last season at Cannon I had a job in rentals and my boss told me I wouldn’t be able to ride as much as the previous year because of school camps or whatever and in my mind I was like no way. I do this because I love to ride and no ride break sounds lame.

So I quit and moved out west and found a job working in the terrain park where I wanted to be anyways.


  • If you don’t ride the terrain park then don’t work there.
  • If you are not stoked on it then don’t work there.

If you don’t ride the terrain park then you won’t care about the work that you do because you are not a user. If you hit these jumps and features then you will care and want them to be smooth.

I am surprised that where I currently work some of the guys are not that stoked on the work or riding the park.


They seem a bit jaded and lazy. I don’t get it. You work at a great mountain that’s totally beautiful with a good park too and you don’t like it? Probably not for you. Fortunately this year I got a boss that knows what’s up and does good work. We’ve got groomers that focus just on the park.

Last year that wasn’t the case. At Lookout not one of the groomers cared about the park. None of them rode it and getting them to do anything other than groom around all the features was difficult. They would cut out the sides of the landings when passing through and never actually groomed the landings.

You need a dedicated crew for that someone who cares.

This year is a different story we got a good guy in charge, but some folks (rakers) that have been here a long time hanging around that just don’t care that much.

Duties working in the terrain park:

  • Open and close the park
  • Place signs
  • Open and close ropes
  • Set up fencing
  • Carry tools sometimes when riding
  • Raking features (this a big part of the job)
  • Patrol park
  • Block off jumps and call patrol when needed
  • Teach people common sense like clear the landing when you fall and don’t put your ski’s on on top of the jump
  • Radio when needed
  • Set rails and boxes
  • Set brushes or whiskers or paint edges of jumps
  • Test features
  • Rake! Keep jumps and features smooth

I like making jumps

Even when I am not working in the terrain park I tend to find myself building jumps. A few seasons back I built a little park with some shovels on the hillside in the farmcountry. It was fun.

There are a few clips of it in this video: