Pajarito Mountain to unveil a new feature

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By Kirsten Laskey

The fourth time is the charm. After making at least three previous attempts to construct a terrain park at Pajarito Mountain Ski Area, the ski area is ready to unveil its latest work, which called Madre Loca Terrain Park or Crazy Mother Terrain Park.

The open house will be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at the ski hill. The terrain park is located at the top of Easy Mother ski run, right next to the Mother Lift.

The event will include a terrain clinic by PSIA Alpine Demonstration Team and Twin Tip Nation demo team with beverages provided by Santa Fe Brewing.

The purpose of the open house, Rick Hinckley, Snowsport School supervisor, said, is to show what the terrain park offers and for people to be comfortable with it. It is also an opportunity to teach some terrain etiquette.

With terrain parks becoming more and more the norm at ski areas, the local ski organization set out to create a terrain park that would be if not the best park in the state, then one of the best parks.

“It’s become a mainstay in the ski industry,” Hinckley said. “It is  rare for a ski area not to have a terrain park.”

To help this terrain park stick out from the rest, an expert terrain park designer from Breckenridge, Colo., was brought in, said Darryl Gardner, a member of the ski area board of directors. “He gave us a lot of help with that.”

Also, rails for the terrain were purchased from a company that supplies rails for world-class events.

Time was also taken to select the right location for the terrain park. With past terrain parks, Hinckley said they tried to cram too much into too little space.

Therefore, the newest location at the top of Easy Mother was chosen because, “It was big enough for one thing, and the slope angle was right.”

As a result, in August, the ski area rented a bulldozer and moved 40,000 yards of dirt. When the features for the terrain park came just before Thanksgiving, “it was just a matter of putting it together,” Hinckley said.

The new terrain park is multi-level; there are features for beginning, intermediate and advance skiers and snowboarders.

Its features include rails, which are like hand rails on stairways that have been installed individually or in pairs of twos and threes. There are also boxes, which are half-foot wide slippery plastic structures that are cut into shapes such as humps and rainbows.

“We wanted to have enough space,” Hinckley explained, “we wanted to have features that were doable but challenging … we wanted to put in as much fun, entertaining stuff as we could. We don’t want kids getting bored with this.”

Gardener believes the ski organization has reached all its goals for the new park.

“With the jumps we have and the terrain features, we got a real good park,” he said.

Paying for the ski park is something the ski organization has  been setting money aside for a while. The time seems to have paid off, Hinckley said there has been a lot of interest toward the terrain park this season, but people have been patiently waiting for its opening.