On Sunday, March 20th, my seven year old boy, Breck, along with my ski guide Steve-O and his 10 year old son, Austin, decided to spend the day at Park City Mountain Resort, for a day of skiing. As usual, we were up on the first chair, and that’s when Breck demanded that we immediately hit the Little King terrain park near the Bonanza lift, where there are an assortment of bumps, jumps, rails and boxes to ski on for the new as well as the tenured park skier.
What makes this terrain park special, is it’s raked out daily, to ensure a smooth take-off and landing. The jumps are maintained and strategically placed in the park so a person make consecutive jumps from the beginning to the end without missing a beat. This creates for a very safe environment while challenging oneself. This one park is just one out of many at PCMR, and is the smallest, with the next level up being Neff’s Candy Land.
After a few runs down Little King, we all decided to take a lunch break and have a spring skiing tail-gate party in the parking lot, where Steve-O cooked up burgers on his portable grill. With sunny skies and 50 degree temperatures, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the day with the boys.
After lunch, with our bellies full, I suggested that we take the Eagle lift, a fixed grip lift, which would drop us off at the base of Neff’s Candy Land. This would allow us to easily traverse over to the Eaglet lift that would take us to the top of Neff’s Candy Land terrain park. At Neff’s, we could safely step it up a notch and catch some real air-time on my Praschberger mono ski, and my seven year old taking the smaller, but still challenging jumps.
As I requested, the lifty slowed down the lift where I easily got on, and having the person on the other end, slowing it down so I can easily unload without worrying about getting stuck and going around the bull wheel. Viola, I’m in the park! I got in line with all the other boarders and skiers that were clearly more than half my age, I was given the green light from everyone to go ahead. No waiting. With no other sit skier’s do’n the park, everyone was real curious, as well as myself, on how this 53 year old, over weight sit skier would defy gravity. The challenged was to be able to fly over three consecutive jumps, with each jump getting bigger, and longer table tops to clear.
With a freshly waxed ski, I zoomed down the in-run of the first jump and easily flew over the table top and greased the landing on the steep downslope. Gaining more speed, I took the second jump, just flying through the air, and enjoying more air-time than the first jump. Without much time and space between the second jump and the third, I was accelerating even faster now into the in-run to hit the final, biggest jump that looked more like a wall than a ramp. With its huge fifteen table top to clear, I didn’t dare to have a little speed check on the in-run. Then I hit the mother of all jumps and felt the shock beneath me compress, followed by the rebound at the top of the ramp. I went sailing! I easily cleared the table top, but not with too much speed to over shoot the landing and slam into the flats. Under shooting, or over shooting on a jump this size is not only hard on the sit ski, but hard on an aging body. As I landed, I could feel my WP shock compress ever so gently and I swished back in-line of the Eaglet lift, where I was previously denied access just four days ago.
The lifty asked, “Did you hit the jumps?” “Yep, I sure did!” I said. “Even that last jump?” he asked. “Yep, I sure did, and I’m going to do it again!” “Cool!” And the lifty did his thing and I’m on a roll again. And again. And again.
I love terrain parks and love even more that I can ski better than I can walk. PCMR has been very accommodating for those of us that have to adapt, one way or another, to enjoy the great outdoors and all it has to offer.
We’ll see ya next season dude!