Snow Park maintenance and fresh snow
Terrain park maintenance is unfortunately still the topic that does not get enough attention from the resort management. In a rush to develop a terrain park with minimum cost, resorts too often neglect the importance of regular and quality park maintenance. This is especially obvious in case of heavier snowfall, which can, in case of bad maintenance, have a great impact to the park performance until the end of the season.
Once the terrain park is developed, it needs at least daily maintenance, depending on the number of visitors, weather conditions, type of obstacles etc. Most of the maintenance works in the park are not demanding, however the maintenance of some obstacles requires special skills and knowledge, for example reshaping the jump radius. Even small details can have a huge impact on the safety and quality of the obstacles in the park, and that is why appropriate professional maintenance is not only responsible, but will also increase the satisfaction of the visitors.
For providing appropriate maintenance, it is most important that the maintenance crew or in the terrain park language called »shape crew« consists of riders, because it is extremely difficult for amateurs to understand the appropriate functionality of the park obstacles. As mentioned, standard maintenance in the terrain park is not demanding, however in case of heavier snowfall, the park will need a complete, time-consuming and demanding reshape, where all the skills and knowledge of the shapers are needed.
In any good terrain park, visitors will not even notice that there is a difference in the park shape after the nightly snowfall, as the shaper crew will work during the night to clean and prepare the park until the opening hours. Sometimes, the obstacles in the park may almost be invisible due to the new snow and it takes a huge effort of the shape crew to dig them out. In such cases, snow cats can be of great help, but unfortunately a lot of work still needs to be done by hands. That is why it is important to equip shaper crews with appropriate tools for such conditions, like for example snow blowers, large shovels, rakes, transition shovels, etc.
In case of heavier snowfall, the complete park needs to be rebuilt because the obstacles in the park are not rideable even if the park is reshaped. But it does not take a larger amount of snow to reduce the safety and quality of the park. Even a few centimeters of fresh snow may have a huge impact to the speed and that is why the flow and safety of the park can become questionable. Furthermore, even light snowfall in combination with strong wind may cover the obstacles in the park with excessive amount of snow and causes snowbanks, which need to be removed. Snow that is blown to the obstacles can change their geometry, which can cause a reduction of safety and makes obstacles unrideable. That is why the park should be inspected and maintained even in case of light snowfall.
To sum up, even small amounts of fresh snow may drastically affect the safety and quality of the park, whereas heavy snowfall can change the park for the rest of the season. A skilled and well equipped shaper crew can conquer the weather and preserve the safety and quality of the park.