Thursday, October 6, 2022
HomeSnowboardEmily O’Connor Talks Raking and Rope Tows – Snowboard Journal

Emily O’Connor Talks Raking and Rope Tows – Snowboard Journal


The By no means Summer season rider and Trollhaugen native has rake in a single hand and snowboard within the different.


Michigan native Emily O’Connor is an everyday on the tow ropes of Trollhaugen. Her love of the park is two-fold, each lapping and constructing the options, a cyclical endeavor that lets her contribute to the method together with her rake and reap its rewards on her snowboard–then tweak issues additional, and do it yet again, continuously evolving each as a rider and as a builder. Final season, Emily was the primary feminine to take the reins as park supervisor at Troll, an esteemed place at one of the vital beloved parks in all of snowboarding. She kicked off winter at Take the Rake, becoming a member of ten different builders and operators to make the primary park constructed solely by ladies after which continued to sharpen her expertise as a park builder, as a frontrunner, and as a mover and shaker in snowboarding. Learn on for an replace on the season with this Wisconsin-based By no means Summer season rider, and be taught what she’s stepping into this coming winter. – Mary T. Walsh

When and the way did you begin snowboarding?
I began snowboarding after I was 9 on a area journey at Mt. Brighton, Michigan. I didn’t know a lot about snowboarding however at all times needed to learn to skateboard, so it intrigued  me. The night time earlier than I gave my dad and mom the permission slip to signal. My Dad had watched a Warren Miller film which reminded him of how a lot enjoyable he had on a ski journey as soon as. He signed the slip and paid the price. On the finish of the lesson I might flip and cease. I used to be hooked.

Observe up query. What’s Mulligan’s Hole all about?
Mulligan’s Hole is a bowl-shaped ski space that overlooks Lake Michigan. It has six runs complete, that are all accessible by rope tows with a 130-foot vertical drop. We moved to Grand Haven, MI the place it’s situated after I was a junior in highschool. I actually had no concept that terrain parks existed earlier than I began using there. In contrast to most resorts, there’s no designated park at Mulligans. As an alternative, each run has some form of soar, field, or rail set. I used to be obsessive about the place! I used to be there daily, open until shut.

When did you begin working in terrain parks and the way did you first get into it?
Though Mulligans is generally park, we didn’t have a park crew. If one thing had a nasty rut or bomb gap—which it often at all times did—you needed to repair it your self or adapt. It wasn’t till I moved to Copper Mountain that I noticed how a lot behind-the-scenes goes into terrain parks. I dated a cat operator and would journey alongside. I’ve a tough time sitting nonetheless, so one night time I made a decision to select up a rake and assist form.

You spent just a few seasons in Colorado, proper? Had been you going to highschool on the market?
I earned my degree 1 snowboard instructing certificates my senior 12 months of highschool and after I realized neighborhood school wasn’t understanding, I began making use of to totally different resorts. I ended up accepting a place at Copper Mountain’s ski and journey faculty. On my twentieth birthday, I packed up all the things I owned and drove twenty hours to Colorado.

Did you journey primarily simply at Copper if you have been on the market?
My engine seized on Freeway 91 a few month into residing in CO, so I rode Copper Mountain principally.

When did you make the transfer to Trollhaugen and what catalyzed that transfer?
I used to be struggling to outlive in Colorado. I missed the Midwest and its rope tow resorts. With out a automotive, it made it laborious to get round and instructing wasn’t fulfilling anymore. I used to be contemplating shifting again to Michigan and going again to highschool. That spring I met Sam Klein. I requested his opinion on the place I ought to go subsequent. That’s when he invited me to return spend the summer time with him at Hood. That summer time was life-changing! It reignited my love for snowboarding, and I knew If I needed to proceed to pursue it, I used to be going to have to maneuver again to the Midwest so I might afford residing bills. Trollhaugen appeared like the most suitable choice for me. They’ve a crew that actually cares for the parks, and ropes that will assist me progress as a rider.

Did you be a part of the park crew the primary season you spent in Wisconsin?
I moved to Wisconsin fairly late within the season and all of the slots for park crew had been crammed, so I obtained a job as a cashier on the native grocery retailer and rode Trollhaugen daily. In February, I clipped on a rail and lacerated my kidney. I obtained REALLY fortunate and didn’t want any main surgical procedure. Nonetheless, I used to be nonetheless out for the remainder of the season. Once I might stroll once more, I’d hike up Valhalla and movie associates to get out of the home. In the future whereas doing that, Tony Wagner, the park crew Supervisor at Troll on the time, advised me {that a} spot had opened on the crew and was questioning if I used to be nonetheless searching for a job. I instantly accepted. I hiked up Valhalla each morning with out my board to open rake. It was therapeutic, being out in nature and having a option to nonetheless be part of all the things.

Take the Rake
Emily works on the park format with the crew of Take the Rake at Trollhaugen. December 2021. p: Walsh

What’s one thing that shocked you about engaged on a park crew, that you simply weren’t anticipating, or that was simply completely new?
At most resorts, cat operators do a lot of the work when setting a brand new characteristic, so I used to be tremendous shocked at my first Valhalla construct to search out out that we hand-set most options in our park. Generally we use a skid steer to assist out, however the majority of the time it’s pure Troll energy shifting and setting options into place.

Trollhaugen’s terrain parks have a heavy popularity for being actually, actually good. What has it been like engaged on such a celebrated park? Is it an thrilling problem constructing parks which might be artistic and can stoke out locals and guests alike?
Extraordinarily enjoyable! It’s been such an exquisite expertise for me. I’ve met some extremely proficient individuals and have discovered a lot from everybody out right here.

What is exclusive about constructing the Trollhaugen park?
Individuals of varied using ranges go to our parks, so we attempt to construct it with that in thoughts. We simply need everybody to have enjoyable and to take pleasure in our parks, irrespective of “how good” you’re. 

Observe up query, what is exclusive about constructing a park that has a rope tow?
With rope tows, you get far more reps in, so there’s undoubtedly some benefits to using a park with a rope. My favourite is that you would be able to choose a characteristic and lap that one characteristic. It’s actually an effective way to be taught a brand new trick. We additionally prefer to set issues up in order that it flows properly. It doesn’t matter what you determine to hit, when you land, irrespective of which course, there’s at all times one other thrilling possibility in entrance of you.

What evokes you by way of constructing the park, artistic options and contours, and many others.?
I’ll always remember the primary time I rode Valhalla, individuals weren’t simply hitting options in a single straight line however they have been approaching issues from the perimeters and zig-zagging all the way in which down the run. It jogged my memory of using by a bowl or snakerun at a skatepark and opened up a brand new means for me to have a look at options. 

What sort of options are you stoked to journey, your self?
Tree logs, snow options, jumps, or rails. Something that scares me and prompts a voice saying, “You bought this!” Something that opens up a world of potentialities whereas using.

What has been one thing you’ve discovered from engaged on park crew?
The best way to work as a crew and keep organized.

Take the Rake
Take the Rake planning assembly on day 1 of the occasion. p: Walsh

Throughout the trade, the variety of ladies working in terrain parks is pretty small (although that is altering). This previous December, you have been on the Take the Rake crew, a first-of-its-kind occasion that introduced collectively and all-women’s crew to construct the Valhalla park. What was that have like total?
Take the Rake was such an unbelievable occasion to be part of! To spherical up eleven strangers and cross your fingers that issues would go easily is fairly wild. I believe all of us have been tremendous nervous main as much as the occasion. It was superior how on the day of the construct everybody labored so nicely with one another. All of us simply needed to see the undertaking succeed.

There have been many shifting parks of Take the Rake, one being that the occasion was the crew’s first time working collectively, as you talked about, and in addition you solely had three days to construct the park. The outcomes converse for themselves, in fact, however watching the occasion unfold, the collaboration between everybody and the drive to construct one of the best park potential was actually thrilling. What do you assume is essential in the case of balancing creativity, collaboration, and the logistics of constructing a park, each at Take the Rake and basically?
Options break and placement doesn’t at all times work out with the circulate of the park, so having an open-minded crew that’s prepared to make choices on the fly when issues don’t go as deliberate is tremendous essential. 

What do you hope individuals take away from seeing Take the Rake and the park that the crew constructed?
That constructing parks is one other enjoyable option to specific your creativity!

Take the Rake additionally coincided with you taking up the reins as Trollhaugen terrain park supervisor. As not solely a lady working within the terrain park, however as a person in a management function, what did you are taking away from TTR to your on a regular basis function supervising the crew?
I watched how the opposite ladies deal with sure conditions in the course of the construct. They exhibited superior management expertise which I used day by day as a supervisor.

What was it like throughout your first season because the supervisor?
It was an thrilling new problem. I used to be a ball of nerves opening week, haha! Fortunately, I used to be surrounded by a crew that believed in me and was tremendous affected person. With this being my first management place, I used to be extraordinarily grateful to be surrounded by such a crew.

You’re additionally a crew rider for By no means Summer season. When did you begin using for them and what makes you stoked about being being part of the NS crew?
I began using for By no means Summer season my first season at Trollhaugen. I’m stoked to be using for NS for numerous causes. They’ve supported me by accidents and have pushed me to develop into a greater rider. They’ve believed in me since day one and I can’t thank them sufficient.

What’s your favourite factor about using at Trollhaugen?
It’s a small neighborhood, everybody is aware of everybody out right here, and also you’re greeted with a smile the second you fling your self off the rope.

Any recommendation for anybody desirous to work within the terrain park?
Observe, ask questions, be open-minded and prepared to be taught from constructive criticism, and keep in mind that apply makes enchancment. Present that you simply’re prepared to place within the laborious work it takes to construct and preserve a park–even when you’ve got NO thought what you’re doing, belief me, we’ve all been there.

You headed to Hood for the summer time after the season ended, proper? What have you ever been as much as? 
Yeah! My boyfriend Sam [Klein] and I packed up our van as soon as Troll closed and headed to Hood. There was nonetheless a lot snow in comparison with years earlier than. When the resort was shut down resulting from poor visibility [editor’s note: common at the beginning of summer when wintery weather is happening because much of Timberline is above treeline], we wandered across the woods to search out tree logs to jib, which is my favourite option to spend a wet day. I used to be additionally invited to take part and assist construct IT’S TITS! firstly of the season which has at all times been one thing I’ve needed to participate in. That occasion was such an effective way to kick off one in every of my most memorable summers right here at Hood.  

Summer season’s virtually winding down now, as nicely. What are your plans heading into the season?
Subsequent winter I’ve determined to hitch the Cheddar tour, which is a By no means Summer season occasion the place we host rail jams at ski resorts for all ages. Throughout this time, my objective is to movie a avenue half. I’m actually excited for this chance and I do know that my expertise digging these final three years will assist me take a look at spots in a artistic means. 



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