Launching off pipes, rails and other features in a terrain park is what a growing number of skiers and snowboarders are most interested in these days.

“Everyone wants to be Shaun White,” Sunday River Terrain Parks Manager Morgan Rudd said.

While there is still a demand for wide open, groomed trails, most mountains are concentrating on opening off-trail “glades” and bigger, more challenging terrain parks.  

Rudd has the task of coming up with new and unique features to satiate the appetite of the growing number of skiers and snowboarders flocking to the terrain parks.

“It’s all about creating things using whatever we have laying around and a lot of plywood,” he said. “We have really skilled welders and fabricators that build everything from scratch.”  

Long after the mountain closes, Rudd and his crew are shoveling, raking and grooming the features to put the park back in shape for the next day.

“The most challenging aspect is maintenance and coming up with new features,” Rudd said. “We use whatever is laying around: snowmaking pipe, culverts, stairs and anything we think they might like.” 

The past few weeks, they have spent a lot of time creating gigantic jumps, rails, pipes and unique features in a 15-acre terrain park for the sixth annual Dumont Cup, the largest Pro-Am competition in the East, on Friday and Saturday.

“It’s not something we will open up to the general public; it’s just too big and dangerous,” he said.

Rudd grew up in Lovell and went to Gould Academy in Bethel, where he was on the snowboard team. After graduating, he went out West to work for several resorts, including Northstar Terrain Park in Tahoe, Calif.

“It was a great place to work, big and fast paced, plenty of snow,” he said. “But most everybody was in a hurry and really businesslike; they live a throw-away lifestyle. For a country boy like me, I missed the laid back, friendly people back home.”

When the opportunity came to return to Maine, Rudd jumped on it.

“It was a great decision. The laid-back nature of Maine and the management team here fits me perfectly. Everyone has a job to do and if you don’t bother anybody, they won’t bother you. We’ve got a great staff and crew where everyone gets along and respects each other’s skills. We work as a team, that’s a big part of being happy with your job.”

Moving back to Maine has its trade-offs. While he doesn’t have to shovel out his car daily as he did out West, he has to deal with the ice and wind-packed snow that builds up on the trails.

“There is a lot of hand shoveling and raking that we do, but I also drive a snowcat that takes care of the ice. We chew it up and turn it into sugar and then lay it back down.” 

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