Terrain parks stats
- Total Number of Parks: 5 (3 on Blackcomb, 2 on Whistler)
- Number of Halfpipes: 2 (22’ Superpipe and 14’ Mini pipe)
- Acreage: 99 acres
- Total Number of Features: 200+ including 90 rails
- Total Number of Jumps: 100+
- Number of Park Grooming Cats: 11
- 24,000 + hours are spent each season grooming the terrain parks and each park will be groomed twice every 24 hours
- The vertical rise of the Nintendo Terrain Park on Blackcomb Mountain is about 310 meters/1,020 feet from top to bottom of the Superpipe
- The parks can see as many as 1,400 riders per hour through the gates
- Whistler Blackcomb’s Terrain parks are visible from space via Google Earth
The Park Descriptions
Big Easy Terrain Garden, Blackcomb Mountain
Smaller rails, rollers and mini-hits destined for those who want to get some air, but stick close to the ground in the process
Nintendo Terrain Park, Blackcomb Mountain
Beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain that ups the ante a bit, this park is the stepping stone to the The Highest Level Park.
Snow Cross Track, Blackcomb Mountain
This permanent course incorporates banked turns, jumps, whoops and rollers and is a training ground for experts while still accommodating riders who want to try their hand at this Olympic sport.
Highest Level Park, Blackcomb Mountain
Massive jumps, spines, rails and jibs designed with the expert rider in mind. Helmets are mandatory in this zone.
Habitat Terrain Parks, Whistler Mountain
There is a beginner to intermediate section (S-M) and an intermediate to advanced section (M-L). Both parks contain features inspired by nature including tree jibs, bonks as well as rails and snow jump features.
Superpipe, Blackcomb Mountain
A Global Pipe Cutter purchased for the 2011 winter season grooms a 22 foot Olympic-sized halfpipe.
Mini-pipe, Blackcomb Mountain
This 14 foot pipe allows skier and riders to learn halfpipe skills and confidence before venturing into the Superpipe.
Whistler Blackcomb has 99 acres of meticulously designed terrain park playgrounds for skier and riders of all abilities, and this winter the buff is going to get super buff with two grooming sessions slated for each park every 24 hours. The parks are ever changing and that evolution is driven by rider feedback sourced through social media channels like Twitter and Facebook. As a result, Whistler Blackcomb’s terrain parks are among North America’s most revered, boasting supreme flow and superior technical progression.
Park or Elite Athlete Training Ground?
Whistler Blackcomb’s terrain parks will provide training grounds for six medalling events at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi; Ski Cross, Snowboard Cross, Ski Halfpipe, Snowboard Halfpipe, Ski Slopestyle and Snowboard Slopestyle.
A renewed Snow Cross Track on Blackcomb offers training and organized competitive event opportunities through Whistler Blackcomb’s event department. The 22-foot Olympic Size Halfpipe on Blackcomb Mountain is groomed daily and will be ready for the next pipe slayer while a 14-foot halfpipe on Blackcomb sets the stage for skiers and riders looking to learn halfpipe skills before progressing into the 22-foot feature. Finally, on the right side of the Nintendo Terrain Park, a full slopestyle course with X-Game sized features will emulate the flow of an actual Olympic Slopestyle course: rail, rail, rail, jump, jump, jump, jump. While the flow order will remain the same, Whistler Blackcomb’s terrain park rangers will continuously change up the style of features to create dynamic training opportunities.
The Terrain Park Rangers
Outside of spending nearly 24,000 hours maintaining the parks for visitors of Whistler Blackcomb, the Terrain Park Rangers are also at the forefront of more than a few monster competitions and events, ranging from the monthly The King of the Rail jib sessions to the Showcase Showdown with its intense snowboard slopestyle at the base of Whistler Mountain. This close-knit team is integral to the design, safety and upkeep of over 99 acres of terrain parks.
“Everybody that works on my team as a terrain park ranger, and as a builder, is passionate and dedicated to their sport,” says Brian Finestone, Whistler Blackcomb Terrain Park Supervisor. “Without their drive there is no way our parks would exist in this form, or progress at the scale that they do. The rangers are out there daily and they are the unsung heroes of the sport.”
Jobs for terrain park rangers don’t come up often and the returning staff ratio is virtually 100 per cent. Many rangers actually move from the terrain park in the winter over to the Whistler Mountain Bike Park as trail crew in the summer season.
“Especially in the realm of our machine operators, crossing from building snow features to dirt features is actually pretty seamless. The jump engineering doesn’t change that much and the end goal for summer and winter is to always build safe, fun jumps,” says Finestone.
Progression Based Approach to Whistler Blackcomb Terrain Parks
This season Whistler Blackcomb’s Terrain Parks Team and Whistler Kids Team are focused on parks progression. On opening day November 22, 2012, the Whistler Kids Training Centre, located under the Emerald Chair on Whistler Mountain will expand its facility to include beginner terrain park features. This progression-focused facility is targeted to guests who are new to terrain parks and want to learn the fundamentals of riding rails and landing jumps. It is designed for beginners to hone their skills before moving on to the next level, the Terrain Garden.
The Man Behind The Parks
Brian Finestone is the man with the vision when it comes to Terrain Parks at Whistler Blackcomb. Every rail, every jump and every jib has his stamp of approval on it. He leads the Parks Crew on their quest for grooming perfection all winter long and his ideas are crucial to the progression of the sport at WB. Since he’s such a big deal around here, we thought we’d ask him a couple of questions:
What originally brought you to Whistler?
I planned to take a year off from University to shred and shoot photos to get it “out of my system”, it is now 20 years later and I’m still not quite sure if it is out so I better stick around to make sure.
How long have you been skiing/snowboarding for?
Skiing since Glen Plake had his first Mohawk and snowboarding before it was allowed on ski hills.
How did you begin working in the Terrain Parks at Whistler Blackcomb?
I inherited the Parks program from Stu Osborne who selfishly held onto it for 14 years before handing it over (kidding) I rode the original hand shovelled ditch halfpipe on Blackcomb in the early 90’s and jumped on the job when it came up.
What is your favourite feature in the Park?
I am a fan of the pipe. I never get tired of riding pipe and there is always something to learn no matter how old and stiff I get.
What is your vision for the future of Parks at Whistler Blackcomb?
I would love to take parks out of the Parks and see regular ski runs groomed with more rollers, transitions and fun features so they flow more. I also want to create the best training facility for athletes so the progression of slopestyle, pipe and cross grow organically from here and we see more of the world’s best athletes come out of Whistler Parks.