Cutter’s Camp West: Building Tomorrow’s Terrain Parks Today

Terrain Park Managers From Across The Country Converge On Mt. Hood’s Timberline Lodge

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Cutter's Camp west 2013.

All photos and captions: Liz Eren

After getting our first taste of SAM Magazine’s Cutter’s Camp at Mount Snow in April, there was no way we were going to miss its bigger brother in Oregon. Last week we rallied to Timberline Lodge at the base of  Mt. Hood for Cutter’s Camp West and another dose of some of the most inspirational discussions on the future of terrain parks we’ve ever been a part of.  This year’s West Coast camp was sold to capacity with a waiting list as 70 park builders from 42 resorts came out to learn the latest tips, techniques, and tools to improve their parks, reduce legal risks, network, and more.

Cutter’s Camp West ran from Monday May 13 through Friday the 17th, mixing classroom time with on-hill snow cat sessions and hand shaping, focusing on various levels of terrain and skills to challenge every camper.

The camp kicked off with the TransWorld Business Fireside Chat on Monday, which focused on snowsports participation, and served as a call to action for park builders—the front-line fabricators of fun, to stretch their abilities and make riding and skiing more entertaining for all levels of riders, to become a profit center for their home mountains, and to grow our abysmal 15% retention rate.

One of the biggest reasons we heard from attendees about why they come is spending time with peers and sharing ideas and challenges. And there was plenty of time for networking during the day and after hours including a night at Windells, mini snowmobile races at Timberlin, and an opening party hosted by Burton.

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This year’s line up included the following:

ON-HILL & CLASSROOM PRACTICUM FOR THE TERRAIN PARK NOTEBOOK
Working in small groups, campers will apply the subject matter from the latest version of the Terrain Park Notebook. The session will start on-hill with campers in small groups at a series of stations collecting, testing and analyzing the data. The group will then move inside to discuss the findings with experts gathered from the ASDA and insurance communities who will also cover trends and best practices on claims, lawsuits, and accident investigation.

SMALL POD BREAK-OUT SESSIONS 
A full range of topics will be arranged in small break-out pods led by industry experts. In each pod, campers will exchange ideas will fellow operators/managers and pose questions to the pod experts. A lighting-round format will ensure that campers get to several of the pod discussions. Pod highlights include daily maintenance procedures, interdepartmental communication, park flow and design, feature construction, events and competitions, risk management and more.

FOCUSING ON FUN IS THE KEY TO PROGRESSION
Whether you have a small park, a start park or a Riglet park, join Joe Hession and Woodward Tahoe’s Chris Hargrave, along with a panel of experts, to discuss the latest trends in building for terrain-based learning.

TERRAIN PARK MANAGERS ROUNDTABLE
Back by popular demand, the Terrain Park Manager’s roundtable will be an open forum discussion for park managers to address managing park staff, logs and paperwork, creating and managing budgets, user education, and more.

FREESTYLE AIRBAGS 
Airbag roundtable: the successes, the problems and the opportunities.

PLUS… Cat maintenance, rails, nighttime networking activities, and so much more.