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Does the Ride Down the Hill Involve a Parking Ticket?

The pros reflect on the terrain park.

So the temperatures up north are cooperating and that means the snow is piling up.

That means the cruisers are off the charts. It also means element after element will begin to appear in the terrain parks.

Sometimes, it can be just a load of fun. I think the antics at the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort in a Santa Suit were some of the best runs I have ever taken - except the photographer kept telling me to get more air and I kept telling him I could not see the landings because of the beard.

A couple of weeks later, this rowboat appeared upside down in the park. Two runs of staring at it were enough and I had to try it.

Trouble is, I did it on one ski and limped for a week.

What do the pros think? When it is time to just goof around, what is the best element?

Upper tier halfpipe rider Elijah Teter is always working on something, even out of competition.

"The most fun elements are jumps and quarterpipes. Guess I just love catching air and tweaking with spins - so fun," he said. "Quarterpipes are great for learning handplants as well and we all need better handplants in our line up of tricks."

Tricia Byrnes, who came in fourth in the pipe in the 2002 Olympics, says she sticks to her specialty.

"I love the pipe," she said. "I'm a wussie park rider, so tiny jumps and rollers."

Craig Baldwin, the lift operations supervisor at Lake Tahoe's Homewood Mountain, rarely shies away from terrain.

But the park?

"I like sneakily watching the skillful groms hitting the flat-down-flat box from treeland," he said.

Even extreme skier and snow sports media personality Dan Egan takes the same approach.

"My favorite thing to do in the park is to stand and watch in awe of what the young riders do going switch - and spinning on and off the rails," he said. "The sport has moved in whole new dimensions."

Having Dan say that makes the boat incident hurt even more. Maybe I'll just watch Elijah on TV from now on.

Nah.

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