Traditionally when you mentioned great terrain parks in Utah you generally heard about the “big three”: PCMR, Canyons, and Brighton. Snowbasin Resort is seeking to change that with a shift towards better park creation and better feature implementation. Many will remember Snowbasin as the host of Utah’s leg of the very popular Dew Tour, however the Dew Tour has recently restructured their event to feature only one snow event per year and will not return to Snowbasin this season. I recently spent a day up at Snowbasin was PR and Marketing guru Jason Dyer and we spoke about Snowbasin focus on their terrain parks, the influence of The Dew Tour, and where Snowbasin goes from here as the Dew Tour moves on.
“A few years back Snowbasin realized they had to move in a more progressive direction with their terrain parks to be viable in the Utah market. “ Dyer told me. “We have Park City, Canyons and Brighton all with some of the top parks in the country. So we brought in Tim Eastley from Breckenridge to help.”
This was a crucial element for Snowbasin in taking the step from “resort with a park” to a “park focused resort”. To the uninitiated it seems simple for a resort to build some features and shove them in the ground and call it a park, but what separates the men from the boys in park creation is organization and flow. Professional park developers understand the need for features to mesh in a certain way so that riders can maintain a good rhythm which is referred to as flow. Dyer agrees, “We had parks, but (Tim Eastley) brought an organization to them and the idea of how to make a park flow.” Having good flow in your parks makes a rider look smooth and effortless and is also vital to making really good edits whether they be professional riders or just the local kids. In short a great park director will build a park that can make both the riders and the resort shine on film.
Let's face it, timing is everything and sometimes there is a certain element of luck involved and luck was on Snowbasin’s side when The Dew Tour came calling… “Right about that same time we were implementing this new focus Snowbasin was approached by Allied Sports about hosting a winter stop for the Dew Tour because the summer Utah stop was so successful. The layout of the mountain worked perfect for what they wanted and having proven our selves capable of handling a global event via the 2002 Olympics it just seemed natural” says Dyer.
Snowbasin was in the process of implementing this new focus when the Dew Tour came calling. With the Dew Tour came SPT (Snow Park Technologies) the premier name in snowboard park creation. To Snowbasin and the park crew is was a chance to see the biggest names in the business working up close and personal. Snowbasin already had a plan, and a great crew, but having SPT on site was an immeasurable gift. So what did this mean for the “regular” parks at Snowbasin? Dyer explains, “So what was great about that was it put Tim’s plan on steroids and showed there was a viable youth culture and market here and that we had a solid direction. Growing this resort past “your parents” resort type of image.“
Indeed it has helped elevate Snowbasin past the Dew Tour stage and into the local “scene” as its called. Over the past few seasons Snowbasin has hosted more and more contests on the local level something that was rare to non-existent just a few years ago. Last season Snowbasin also officially joined the Friday Night Jib Fights Series that includes Brighton and PCMR thus proving that the commitment to park progression was paying dividends.
This year The Dew Tour went through some restructuring and will not return to Snowbasin but that hasn’t deterred Snowbasin from continuing to make strides in their park focus. “Well where do we go from here was THE question.” Dyer told me “I got a call from an old colleague who worked with SPT and the Dew Tour and offered us the opportunity to host a shoot for the Transworld Team Shootout. We got all over that because that is the direction we are headed because now this year this is the season of “not having the Dew Tour” but we were able to present that footage in September to say “hey look Snowbasin can host your private build”
The private build is another standard for progressive park focused resorts. Both Canyons and PCMR have historically been active in this sort of event. Basically it is when a company comes in and wants to have a private park or big feature built for filming and photo shoots. Many times these are post-season events but sometimes they can take place during the normal operating season. To have your mountain approached for such an event is a huge thumbs up from the media and industry. In many ways it validates that Snowbasin is truly well on its way to successfully accomplishing its goals to changing Utah’s “big three” park resorts to the “big four.”