BEAVER CREEK, Colorado - When Beaver Creek revealed some changes to its terrain parks for the 2010-11 season last fall, some loyal park skiers and riders were concerned.
Three months into the ski season, it appears some skiers and riders' worst fears have come true, while other skiers and riders couldn't be happier.
The changes included lowering jumps in Zoom Room, removing the Lumber Yard terrain park and relocating its features, and moving and lowering the 18-foot half barrel superpipe that used to exist next to the Latigo run to a 13-foot pipe in the Rodeo terrain park.
Drew Rouse, a skier from Avon, calls the new pipe at Beaver Creek a "joke."
Several rails and technical features were also changed this season, typically by making them less difficult.
The idea was that the new changes would make the terrain parks a place where anyone from beginners to experts could go. Beaver Creek Chief Operating Officer Doug Lovell said last fall the changes were part of an effort to align the parks with the users and try to create progression in freestyle terrain.
Jim Duffy, who works on the park crew at Beaver Creek, thinks the changes are good. He said it gives people of all ability levels more options to ride in the parks, whereas before many of the parks and features were intimidating to anyone who wasn't an expert skier or rider.
"They're not just for a handful of kids who are able to ride expert terrain now," Duffy said. "It give variety for the public and allows everyone to have more fun."
But young terrain park users like Holden Honnessy, 13, feel like some of the progression has actually been taken away. He said there are less technical features this year, smaller jumps and a much smaller pipe, meaning he and many of his friends are getting bored with the terrain.
"I've hit everything. I push as hard as I can and these (new changes) are limiting me from pushing myself even more," Holden said.
Holden, like so many locals, have been dedicated to riding and progressing in Beaver Creek's terrain parks over the parks at Vail. The park crew is extremely dedicated, which makes the parks that much better, Holden said.
"I think the park managers still care, but the resort told them they can't do it," Holden said.
Duffy said that Beaver Creek is not just a locals' mountain, though. In fact, visitors are what keep the mountain thriving.
"Not everyone is an expert out here," Duffy said.
Matt Long, a snowboarder from Texas, gets about one month of riding in at Beaver Creek per season. Long is happy with the terrain park changes and said changing things up keeps everything new and exciting. Long likes that the Lumber Yard was moved because it has helped clear up the traffic problem behind Spruce Saddle.
The Lumber Yard was Holden's favorite park at Beaver Creek, though, and he's not alone.
"We miss it," he said.
Holden said the park community is trying to accept the reality of the new changes, because they know the resort isn't likely to change things back to the way they were.
"You just gotta live with it now," Holden said. "We're just accepting it. I guess this is the reality of it."
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or email@example.com.