Diamond Peak terrain park crew recognized as one of industry’s best
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Diamond Peak Ski Resort got into the business of terrain parks this past season to add another dimension to the guest experience on Lake Tahoe’s North Shore.
And if you’re going to do something, do it right, and that’s what Diamond Peak did.
The Diamond Peak Village Terrain Park crew in its first year did such a phenomenal job that it was invited in late April and early May to the Super Bowl of park building — Superpark 22 — in Crystal Mountain, Washington.
The event, in its 22nd year, provides an “unrestricted platform for progression by pairing the best terrain park builders in the world with their talented riding counterparts,” according to Snowboard Magazine, the host of the event.
About 400-500 professional riders push the limits on the “ultimate proving grounds for the world’s elite park practitioners.”
“For us here at Diamond Peak, it was massive validation for what our terrain park team accomplished this past season,” said Paul Raymore, marketing manager for the resort. “The local terrain park skiers/riders will be stoked to know that a local mountain in Tahoe is building this kind of reputation for their parks out of almost nothing.”
Matt Melilli, the lead builder for the Village crew, may have been a Diamond Peak rookie, but he’s a veteran in the business, and the main reason they received an invitation to Superpark.
Melilli, 35, grew up in Colorado and wanted to pursue a professional snowboarding career but quickly realized, “I was out of my league,” he said.
He wanted to stay close to the business and got into snow making and working in the terrain park at Keystone Resort in Colorado.
He got hooked and has built terrain parks ever since. He has even traveled to New Zealand in our off season so he could run snowcats 365 days a year.
Melilli always dreamed of being invited to Superpark, and now he has been there nine times since the event began in 1997.
The Village crew was just one of three building teams invited.
“I have a working relationship with Snowboard Magazine and coming to Diamond Peak, that didn’t have much of a park program, we really wanted to make a push and display our talents,” Melilli said. “It shows our local community we know what we’re doing.
“It really is an honor to go,” he added. “It was always a dream of mine to build at Superpark. Anybody who does this, it’s always on their bucket list. You can’t pay to play, you have to be invited and that prestige makes us all feel good.”
Melilli moved to Tahoe about 8 years ago and has built terrain parks at Boreal Mountain California and now in Incline.
Terrain parks have been developing since the late ’90s and now are a staple at most resorts.
Builders use special snowcats that help build the features and being an experienced snowboarder helps Melilli and his 12-man crew, who perform all mountain duties from snowmaking to any kind of slope maintenance.
“It helps being an avid snowboarder and understanding what riders like,” Melilli said.
At Superpark, Melilli and five other members of the crew who went to Washington, worked rotating shifts on snowcats 24 hours a day for the first few days and then performed maintenance and worked in the shop the rest of the time.
Diamond Peak is known for being a community resort, catering to all guests, especially families, and it was known whether or not a terrain park would be needed, but right off the bat, Melilli said there were a lot of people interested.
“We want to make sure everything we do rides well and is built well,” he said. “We may not be the biggest, but we’ll definitely have one of the best terrain parks in Tahoe.”