Two injured at Heavenly terrain park |

Two injured at Heavenly terrain park

Two people were flown to Renown Friday after they were injured in separate incidents at a Heavenly Mountain Resort terrain park. The first victim was a 23-year-old man from San Jose who was injured at Ante Up Terrain Park about 10 a.m., resort spokeswoman Sally Gunter said. Ski patrol responded to the call and the victim was transported to Renown. His condition was unknown as of press time. The second victim, a 31-year-old man, was also injured at the terrain park. Ski patrol received the call about 2:30 p.m. Neither injury had resulted in a fatality as of press time, Gunter said. No more information was available at press time.

Adam Jensen: Embracing the terrain park

Going fast on skis or snowboard and scaring myself in steep terrain have always been my things. While doing a season in Mammoth Lakes awhile back, my buddy encouraged me to check out the terrain park. Even if there's no snow, the park is always fun, he said. Doubtful at first, I eventually grew to see what he meant. When it's not a powder day, challenging yourself on the same old groomers gets difficult pretty quickly. But, if options are limited, there's always something to do in the terrain park. A pair of broken bones in my left hand from a fall in the park a couple years back caused me to shy away from the features, but I've been poking around again given the less-than-optimal snow conditions. I'm no expert in the park, but I have learned a couple things that might be helpful for those skiers and riders looking to get into the terrain park this season. Scope it out first by doing a lap through the park before hitting any of the features. You don't want to be caught off guard if the jump is bigger than expected or the rail isn't what you thought it was. If you fall, no big worries, just remember there's likely someone coming behind you, so do your best to move to the side so you're not in the way of the next guy. Just don't camp out on the landings. It's dangerous. On the flip side of that, make sure you give the person in front of you some space, so, if they do fall, you won't go crashing into them. Start slowly. As the pins and plate in my hand can attest, there is a level of risk in the terrain park. Take it slow and build your skills gradually. You can't get better at the terrain park if you're at home injured on the couch. After all that, jibs, jumps and bonks await. Get after it. The park is always fun. Adam Jensen is the editor of Lake Tahoe Action. He can be reached at

Terrain park evolution

When Tyson Terpering joined the terrain park crew at Sierra-at-Tahoe in 1992 there was only one park, two paid employees, and Terpering, a volunteer at the time. Now Terpering designs the five parks at the resort and is among a dozen employees dedicated to implementing and manicuring the jibs, jumps, rails, boxes, kickers, halfpipes and other adrenaline-inducing features. The evolution of terrain parks at Sierra-at-Tahoe is a microcosm of the industry as more appear on mountains catered to different experience levels with more creativity than ever before. Terpering, 32, began volunteering at Sierra soon after he graduated high school. He was given shovels and often used his hands to help shape the only park at the resort. After three years he began building them. Like an artist about to mark a blank canvas, Terpering has a picture of what he wants to do before implementing the image. He must take into account the slope of the mountain, the spacing of features, the flow of a rider. “Just knowing what you want done before you see it,” he said. “The biggest part of building a terrain park is knowing where to put stuff.” Ideas strike at different times. He sometimes uses a bar napkin to draw a new design. In summer, when he works as a mason, he uses the dirt to help plan. “I’ll draw on anything,” he said. Evolution comes often at terrain parks, with one of the five parks at Sierra getting some sort of makeover each night, Terpering said. Parks at Heavenly Mountain Resort are also under constant change, usually on a weekly basis, said Rob Giustina, terrain park manager. Giustina has an impressive resume in building parks. While he was with Terpering in the early days at Sierra-at-Tahoe, Giustina left to make designs for heavyweights such as ESPN’s X Games and Vans Triple Crown. Tired of traveling, Giustina returned to South Shore to work this winter at Heavenly Mountain Resort. In the summer, he builds courses for dirt and mountain bikes. Heavenly Mountain Resort has two terrain parks, but Giustina is hoping to add a halfpipe and two more terrain parks, including the one available at night on World Cup Run, which will open by the end of next week. Far from gap jumps, which were placed in terrain parks but removed for liability reasons a decade or so ago, the popular features nowadays are rails and boxes, Giustina and Terpering said. Nowadays resorts often have multiple parks with at least one made for novices unaccustomed to rail glides and bumping boxes. But for the advanced riders the jumps are getting bigger and the landings softer. “Jumps to me make a park,” Terpering said. “People are always going to enjoy hitting a jump. It’s just an accomplishment.” Another consideration is placing the terrain park below a chairlift, for entertainment reasons, of course. “If you got a place to build a park where a chair is right there and the chair is going to feed the park, that’s the coolest thing to have,” Terpering said. “Then you have the show.” Kirkwood Mountain Resort employs that philosophy, with at least three parks next to chairlifts as well as the Mountain Dew Super Pipe in full view of various seating areas. Last year Kirkwood partnered with DC Shoes on a few of its parks, said Chris Eckert events and promotions manager and freeride team manager. During the summer a week was spent redoing rails and other improvements in an attempt to improve the parks. “What if we had a park that matched our mountain?” Eckert said. “That’s what we’re going for.”

South Shore area ski resorts open more ground

Below freezing temperatures and a heavy supply of snow last weekend resulted in more terrain being opened at all three ski resorts in the South Lake Tahoe area this week. Heavenly Mountain Resort is now offering top-to-bottom access on the Nevada side of the resort, following the opening of the Stagecoach Express chairlift Wednesday. Skiers now have nine miles of Heavenly terrain available to them, including one medium size terrain park with 19 features, through eight chairlifts. According to a press release, the resort plans to open several more lifts closer to the holidays, including Olympic Express, Gunbarrel Express, Powderbowl Express, Sky Express, Canyon Express and Patsy's. With those runs open, Heavenly will also have top-to-bottom skiing in California. Additionally, the resort hopes to open its Boulder and North Bowl chairlifts and last base area by Dec. 21, according to the report. Pete Sonntag, vice president and chief operating officer at Heavenly, said the ability to open more terrain quickly results from a combination of natural snow and man-made snow, which is provided through the resort's extensive snowmaking system. "The recent snow was great," he stated in a press release, "and with continuous snowmaking, we are going to open a significant amount of terrain that other resorts just can't compete with." Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Resort now has seven lifts, 29 trails, 18 groomed runs and a terrain park open, thanks to the Dec. 7 storm, spokesman Steven Hemphill said. "The ski season is off to a great start," he said in an email. "The last storm gave us a great base and we are optimistic that Mother Nature will deliver us some more snow before the holiday season." The resort will do its best to open more runs and terrain once it receives more snow, Hemphill said. For now, riders can expect groomed runs and early season conditions. "We continue to do our snow dances," he said. Sierra-at-Tahoe is also working "around the clock" to finish its newest facility, The Plaza. "The Plaza is a $5 million base area enhancement giving guests a better overall mountain experience and creating an incredible après atmosphere where they can gather and soak up the California sun," Hemphill said. At Kirkwood Mountain Resort, visitors now have access to four lifts with top-to-bottom skiing, following the opening of Cornice Express today. More than 100 acres of terrain is now available to skiers and snowboarders. Additionally, the Kirkwood Cross-Country Center is open today, featuring 12 kilometers of skating and snowshoeing, according to a press release. The resort will continue to work on opening more ground at Timber Creek soon, but Casey Blann, Kirkwood's vice president and general manager, said the terrain will have to meet a standard of quality. "We won't open terrain just to open it," he stated in a press release. "We have a standard of quality that we won't compromise."

Trooper sentenced in crash that killed 4

LAS VEGAS (AP) – A former Nevada state trooper was sentenced Tuesday to two to 12 years in state prison for an on-duty crash that killed four Mexican immigrants and badly injured a pregnant teen. Joshua Corcran, 28, pleaded guilty in June to five counts of felony reckless driving in the Feb. 19 crash. He did not stand trial. Authorities said Corcran was speeding at 113 mph and not on an emergency call when his Nevada Highway Patrol cruiser slammed into the back of a Cadillac traveling 52 mph on Interstate 15 just south of Las Vegas. The speed limit was 65 mph.

Sierra-at-Tahoe opens for shredding

Sierra-at-Tahoe is all set to open Thursday for Thanksgiving. The resort will open Easy Rider Express lift, Rock Garden lift, and three surface lifts, giving access to four trails including, Broadway, Easy Street, Echo, and Lower Sleighride. “We are extremely excited to open on Thanksgiving Day and kick off the 2012-13 season. The early season snow has allowed us to open with early season conditions on the mountain,” general manager John Rice said in a press release. “As the snow continues to set, we will open more terrain where conditions permit. Until then skiers and riders can get those first couple of turns in and take a few laps through the Broadway terrain park.” Tickets are $35 a day for adults or young adults and $10 for kids.

Tahoe Terrain Park Physics: computer to the snowcat

LAKE TAHOE, BOREAL MOUNTAIN RESORT ” You don’t have to be an X-Games contestant to understand the importance of speed control when taking to the air off a ski resort terrain park jump. It’s obvious that if you go too slow you’ll come up short of the landing, but if you go too fast, you could dangerously overshoot the landing. As park jumps vary from extra-small to triple-extra-large, finding the perfect takeoff speed to float into the sweet spot of the landing is a process of trial and error for avid jumpers. But while smart riders take their first lap over an unknown jump at a reasonable yet cautious speed, then crank up the velocity as necessary on the next pass, not every high-flying guinea pig is quite that brainy. Every winter, hundreds of skiers and snowboarders worldwide are injured, sometimes even fatally, by launching off a jump going too fast and subsequently falling out of the sky past the transitioned landing zone and on to flat ground. Although there will never be a cure for overzealous speed demons on the slopes, designing terrain park jumps that are difficult, if not impossible, to overshoot has been one proven solution toward eliminating some of these accidents. The only difficulty is determining the proper dimensions for building such a “fool-proof” jump on a given slope. Faced with this design problem nearly 10 years ago when building terrain parks in Maine, Boreal Mountain Resort Terrain Park and Core Marketing Manager Eric Rosenwald decided to use his college physics book and a basic knowledge of computer programming to find an answer. In 1999 Rosenwald created a simple Flash animated computer program that allows him to input the proposed dimensions of a jump and the maximum attainable speed from the jump’s in-run to view a theoretical model of that jump design’s trajectory (the path a jumper will take once airborne). Though the program does not mimic every nuance of the real world, it obeys enough of the basic principals of projectile physics to make it a valuable tool for creating jumps that are unlikely to be overshot. “My jump designer lets you plot theoretical jump trajectories in a perfect world,” said Rosenwald. “The program distills the trajectory down to the two things that are a given ” speed and angle of take off. It doesn’t take into account rider weight, air drag, the friction of the snow, or whether or not you popped off the lip, but it will tell you if you go X speed off a jump with a takeoff angle of Y you will never go farther than Z.” As the angle of takeoff can be easily modified, the most important real world variable for the modeling program becomes rider speed. To accurately determine the maximum speed a rider could reach before they hit a takeoff at the projected jump location, Rosenwald asks a member of the park staff to mimic the scenario by straight lining the proposed jump in-run while he clocks their speed using a low-tech radar gun. Once armed with an understanding of the speed of a given slope, Rosenwald will use the jump designer to verify the possible distances and heights of the landing from the takeoff and the ideal transition angle of the landing. The goal is to build a landing that will meet up with the jumper smoothly along the arc of their trajectory. “There are always several different safe design possibilities within a trajectory,” said Rosenwald. “You can build a step down that has more free-fall time, a step up that catches the rider at the apex of their trajectory, or a true tabletop jump where the landing is at the same height as the takeoff.” Leaving his computer with ideal dimensions in mind, Rosenwald takes to the seat of his snowcat and begins to build. Accurately measuring the steepness of a landing or the angle of a takeoff from inside the cat is too much to eyeball, however, so he places a digital level on the side of the machine’s cabin to take a precise reading. As you can imagine, all of Rosenwald’s meticulous modeling and measuring adds up to a consistently top notch finished product that both riders and the ski industry take notice of. Year after year Boreal Mountain Resort’s terrain parks are rated among the best in the country and despite having massive pro-caliber jumps open to the public, insurance inspectors have no problems with them. Using the jump designer, Rosenwald hopes to keep it that way. “Modeling park features on the computer shows were not just cat jockeys pushing snow around. These designs aren’t by the seat of our pants,” said Rosenwald. “Our insurance carrier is very supportive of basically anything I can sleep with at night. One of the foundations of that trust is what I’ve shown with the jump designer.” Catch daily updates about the evolution of Boreal’s terrain parks at or

Lightning bolts spark wildfires

Firefighters were active during the weekend as lightning strikes filled the skies over the Tahoe Basin, causing small wildfires in some areas. U.S. Forest Service crews worked to extinguish nine small fires, most of them single-tree fires with some ground consumption, according to a U.S. Forest Service press release. The largest fire was a half-acre. No structures were reported threatened as a result of the fires. Five fires were reported in the wilderness area east of George Whittell High School, one in the wilderness area east of Cave Rock and one more southeast of Logan Shoals Vista Point. There was one more small fire on the North Shore. The fires were scattered in hike-in only terrain. A helicopter assisted with reconnaissance and water drops. Winds were calm, and the Lake Tahoe Basin received substantial rainfall in the area of the fires, so the rate of spread was low, a press release stated. The Forest Service staffed all nine fires with the assistance of Tahoe-Douglas and North Lake Tahoe fire protection districts. As a reminder, the U.S. Forest Service urged the public not to fly Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), also known as "drones," within or near wildfires to ensure firefighter safety and the effectiveness of suppression operations. Aerial firefighting aircrafts, such as airtankers and helicopters, fly at low altitudes, typically just a couple of hundred feet above the ground, the same as drones flown by members of the public, creating the potential for a mid-air collision that could seriously injure or kill aerial and/or ground firefighters, according to a second press release. As a result, firefighting aircrafts operations are suspended when drones are detected in the area. On Thursday, airtanker operations were suspended on the Sterling Fire in the San Bernardino National Forest because of drone activity.

1 dead, 1 injured in Donner Summit train accident

Two pedestrians were struck and one killed by a train north of Lake Tahoe on Donner Summit Thursday afternoon. At about 3:30 p.m. Nevada County Sheriff’s and Truckee Fire Protection District personnel responded to reports of the collision in the Soda Springs area, according to a sheriff’s office press release. Upon arrival, Sydney Parks, 59 of Petaluma was pronounced dead and Alan Young, 22 of Davis was severely injured and taken to Truckee Forest Hospital. According to Young and other witnesses, the two were walking along the tracks believing it to be a trail when a train approached, said Keith Royal, sheriff-coronor, in the press release. The train, plowing the tracks, sounded its whistle and initiated an emergency stop, according to the release. In poor visibility Parks and Young accidentally moved into the train’s path while attempting to get out of its way, according to the release.

Snow and Surf hosts successful event

While the snow didn’t fly until later in the night, Snow and Surf attracted 85 participants and more than 500 spectators in a parking lot jam session on Sunday in the Village Center near Raley’s. Phil Gehrke, Nick Poochoff and Graham Raymond were among the men’s division finalists at the competition, which included a 20-foot box and a quarterpipe. Employees from Snow and Surf, a winter sports shop located in the Village Center, spent eight hours on Saturday gathering enough snow from Heavenly Village Ice Rink to produce the features, then another 2-3 hours setting up on Sunday before the session started at noon. The three different division (men’s, women’s, kids) were down to the finalists by 5 p.m., then an open jam session ensued until almost 7 p.m. Snowboarding company Rome, which helped sponsor the event titled “I-BOX,” provided merchandise prizes for the event and also allowed one of its vans to be used as a launching pad for the features. Squaw hires former Heavenly director Tom Richards, who helped make Heavenly Mountain Resort’s terrain parks into some of Lake Tahoe’s best, has been hired as Squaw Valley’s terrain park director, the North Shore resort announced. Richards was an integral part of establishing popular events at Heavenly, including the South Shore resort’s widely-known Southshore Soldiers camp. “Squaw Valley is famous for natural terrain,” Richards said in a press release. “My goal is to bring that same esteems to the mountain’s man-made terrain.” Boreal opens today Boreal Mountain Resort will become the first Lake Tahoe ski and snowboard center to open when the Donner Summit resort operates its Gunnar’s lift today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Opening day lift tickets for adults and teens are $22 and $10 for kids. For more information, visit