Just in time for an epic President’s Weekend, and perfectly coinciding with the arrival of about a foot of the Greatest Snow on Earth, Brian Head Resort in Southern Utah this week opened two revamped terrain parks, Junkyard and Progressive. Between the two parks, there are many new beginner, intermediate and advanced features. There is likely something for every rider & freeskier in any family.
For beginner riders and freeskiers, Brian Head’s Progressive Park features an incredible “Beginners’ Line” with five smaller jumps, a wide “Safety” box, so named because it’s constructed from recycled safety and ski patrol signs, and a wide butter box above an A-frame rail. This line introduces the technical aspect of skiing and snowboarding, allowing riders and freeskiers to establish and increase their skill levels –and eventually to progress to more challenging terrain. Overall, there are four boxes and rails and three different jumps raging from 20’ to 30’ in Progressive.
Intermediate riders and freeskiers will enjoy many features in both Junkyard and Progressive Park, with Junkyard leaning towards advanced riders, while Progressive favors beginners.
“The Junkyard Park is probably the favorite park for more advanced riders,” said Austen Armstrong, Brian Head’s Park Director. Armstrong sculpted the park along with his park crew, including “diggers” Chris Pickering, Scott Hunter, and Vance Rowley.
“Our crew has many years of experience creating terrain parks, and that really makes a difference,” noted Armstrong.
Located along the Wildflower chairlift, Junkyard features four air-producing jumps ranging from 10’ to about 35+’, the new jump line is the highlight here. It includes five jumps, several rails, boxes, logs, a Red Bull bonk and an actual Land Rover vehicle with a fully functional sound system pumping out tunes.
In total, Brian Head’s terrain parks offer over 20 jib-worthy rails, boxes and snow-only features like berms and rollers, plus about 10 jumps of varying styles and degrees of difficulty. Additional jumps and jib features will be expanded in the coming weeks by Armstrong and his team. Armstrong finds park designing to be as much art as engineering. He is always working with an eye on keeping the flow pattern fresh and constantly can be found in his snowcat tweaking features as storms pass through, adding to Brain Head’s 2010-2011 season total of over 200 inches of The Greatest Snow on Earth.
“At Brian Head, the entire terrain park crew works to create a cool vibe for the kids and to engage with them. We frequently are found riding with kids, offering pointers, discussing techniques and explaining “Smart Style” park etiquette and safety. It’s all about helping the kids build and improve their skills,” said Armstrong, who champions a partnership of freestyle skiers and snowboarders in his parks.
The quality, variety and mostly uncrowded terrain parks draw riders and freeskiers to Brian Head Resort from throughout the Southwestern United States and beyond. While locals have long appreciated Brian Head’s inventive approach to crafting the right assemblage of jumps, boxes, rails and jibs, enthusiasm for the southern Utah resort is growing; during the 2010/2011 season Brian Head’s Terrain Parks have been featured in two leading British snowboarding publications, The Reason and Whitelines magazines.
Brian Head’s terrain parks are both laid out in session-friendly formats, and at the top of each park are “Smart Style” signs and reminders to be courteous and respectful to all. Smart Style is the freestyle terrain park safety program introduced by Burton and backed by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and the National Ski Patrol. Smart Style delivers a unified safety message to educate riders and skiers on the importance of park safety.
The parks are all open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., as are most of the resort’s chairlifts.
About Brian Head Resort: at 9,600-11,307 feet above sea level, it is the highest ski resort base elevation in Utah. It averages nearly 400 inches yearly of the "Greatest Snow on Earth," has three terrain parks, eight lifts, 65 ski trails and 650 acres of ski terrain for downhill skiing, snow tubing and snowboarding from mid-November through mid-April. There are also assorted options for après ski dining and drinking, entertainment and ecotourism, as well as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and much more. Brian Head’s very family-friendly atmosphere includes an uncrowded setting with no lift-lines, an award-winning, all-inclusive children's program for ages 3-12 at Navajo Lodge Learning Center, an entire mountain and facility dedicated to kids and newcomers to winter sports. There is also a state licensed day care facility. Brian Head’s location is perfect for combining a skiing or snowboarding trip with a visit to Las Vegas. Likewise, Brian Head is likely closer to more national parks than any other ski resort town in North America; Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, The Grand Canyon, and Great Basin are all within easy reach. Cedar Breaks National Monument is two miles from Brian Head.