Another winter, another season of progression for the terrain parks at Holiday Valley. With five different spots around the resort that have terrain features installed, we’ve come a long way from when there was a single rail sitting on the middle of Snoozer.
While a severe lack of snow throughout the East Coast left the resort with priority snowmaking in other areas, the park crew has done an admirable job getting its parks up and running in the rail park at the bottom of Mardi Gras, Fiddler’s Elbow and the Riglet Park.
Head builder Chris Perks got creative through the fall, building new features for both beginner and advanced riders and skiers. With a lifetime of park riding in his memory banks, Perks brings the type of creative vision necessary with terrain park builds.
“With Fiddler’s (Elbow), we wanted to set up more of a skate park flow,” Perks said. “Spacing features out enough where the rider can maintain his speed while throwing down new tricks. The run is an awesome grade for that type of build - not too steep, but just enough downhill grade to keep it moving.”
The snowmaking crews pumped enough snow onto Fiddler’s to get some features in and get the park season going. When the temps finally dropped low enough to lay the hammer down, the park crew pulled the Elbow apart to allow the HDK Klik guns to do their thing – that is, to get enough workable snow in there so Perks and crew could build a full run including a jumpline.
“We usually like to work with at least 2-feet of base,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of really fun lines envisioned, so now we’re just letting the boys blast snow so the real fun can begin.”
The rail park at the bottom of Mardi Gras, the most visible terrain setup at the resort, is chalk full of new features Perks put together this past fall. With four or five of those new elements in now, kids have been hiking the park and taking advantage of a multitude of different features to play on.
Burton Snowboards’ Riglet program, a nationally-branded marketing plan designed to get more groms (snowboarding lingo for little kids), has made its way to Holiday Valley. All small features on flat land, the Riglet Park is built in such a way to make kids feel comfortable with hittable features.
“The Outpost, which is traditionally on the other side of Creekside, is being moved to where the women’s tee-box is on the No. 1 hole - moving it closer to the action,” explained Mike Nenno, terrain park manager. “We’re also going to be installing some more intermediate features on Snoozer, with hopes that kids can progress from the Riglet Park right up.”
More good news … Holiday Valley’s grooming fleet just added a new operator. He goes by the name of Paul Grainger, and he’s no stranger to the area, or to running machines … or to park building.
“I’ve been operating snowcats for 15 years now,” Grainger told SNOWED-IN. “I started out at Squaw Valley, I built terrain parks for Aspen Ski Co. at Snowmass for ten years, then for Vail Ski Co. at Vail for four years.”
Following a two-year hiatus from the industry, Grainger couldn’t shake the urge to get back into a machine. And although he’ll be helping with regular grooming responsibilities under the direction of Ed Imhoff of Holiday Valley’s grooming department, Grainger will also be assisting Perks with park builds and park maintenance.
“I spent the last two winters away from cats. I missed building,” Grainger said. “I grew up here skiing Holiday Valley thanks to my father, Richard Grainger, who is still on the volunteer Ski Patrol at 78-years-old! I have a deep love for Holiday Valley, operating snowcats, and building parks. I’m happy to be back at it now that I am home after 26 years out west.”
Holiday Valley is pretty happy to have Grainger home as well. With Perks and Grainger at the helm of park building, coupled with Holiday Valley’s dedicated team of on-hill park diggers overseen by park manager Mike Nenno, the good just got better.