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Friday, August 13, 2010
Jackson Hole gets a Stash park

Before I started skiing big mountains, I was a park rat. Although my dwindling quiver of tricks might not reflect the countless days I spent lapping Breck and Keystone's parks, I was a rattus norvegicus nonetheless. I even went as far as building my own jibs, which we'd session until they broke or someone got hurt on our janky setups -- usually about an hour.

Jackson's new Stash park will be the third natural terrain park in the U.S.

I learned early in my career as a skier that, when it comes to constructing jibs in the woods with hand-me-down tools, it's best to leave it to the professionals (and yes, there are professionals who do this). Burton's Stash Park team specializes in building hits and jibs out of existing wood products and rocks, taking full advantage of a mountain's natural terrain. They've already built parks at Killington, Northstar-at-Tahoe and in Austria, France and New Zealand. This summer, they've descended on Jackson Hole to build the Rocky Mountains' first all-natural terrain park.

Wyoming woodsmen hard at work.

"The Stash concept is a perfect fit for Jackson Hole," says pro snowboarder Rob Kingwill, who was instrumental in bringing the park to Jackson. "We already have insane terrain that lends itself to freeriding all over the mountain. Now there will be a crew dedicated to making sure the natural hits are well shaped, as well as enhancing other terrain and creating new possibilities."

In addition to Jackson's traditional terrain park, four or five Stash parks, containing an assortment of hits, will be scattered throughout Jackson's 2,500 acres and will be constructed entirely from fallen trees and existing rocks.

Once firewood, now a rail.

Riding Jackson with a jibber's eye still flickering in the back of my mind, it's not hard to see the potential. I'm usually too preoccupied with powder to be troubled with spending the afternoon constructing a rickety log structure that wouldn't last through the next storm. But now it's comforting to know that a team of pros has been furiously constructing all summer, creating a series of safe-as-a-Swiss-bank-account hits for us to ride this winter.