On the Hill: Steve Walker
Steve Walker can thank his mom in part for his job on the terrain park crew at Keystone Resort. After all, shes the one who drove him to Keystone six years ago after he graduated from high school in Milwaukee so he could pursue his dream of living in the mountains.Hes been working in various jobs on the hill ever since, and three seasons ago he landed a position on the terrain park hand crew.I always liked riding in the park, so it just seemed like a cool thing to do, Walker said from the video shack in Keystones A-51 terrain park on Wednesday. I knew there was a lot of work involved, and I enjoy hands-on kind of work. And then you get to build all kinds of cool things; its really a neat environment all around.He and the rest of the six-person crew are responsible for opening and closing the resorts two terrain parks, maintaining all the parks jumps, rails and funboxes and developing and testing new features.As a welder, Walker has also helped create many of the 35-or-so rails in the ground in the A-51 park and the beginner-level Incubator park.Although the terrain park is only open to everyday skiers and riders in the winter, the job is year-round.After the regular season wraps up, the park crew often caters to ski and snowboard video production companies.We build special features for them and spend some time maintaining it, and then its in a movie a few months later, its pretty cool, Walker said.During the summer, the crew concentrates on building new features and maintaining rails and boxes from the previous winter. On top of his daily duties, Walker is also a coach for Keystones Junior Freeride team. About twice a month, he spends a day on the mountain with a group of local and Front Range 10-to 14-year-olds.The coaches not only serve as riding buddies to the kids, but also as mentors.(We) try to instill good values, make sure they have proper etiquette, especially in the park, but as well as in other places in their communities. Theyre a great bunch of kids, I really enjoy going out with them. Its really a lot of fun.Have you seen a shift in the parks clientele?I wouldnt say a shift, but increased enthusiasm by pretty much everyone. Especially with the creation of better beginner parks. You start to see parents and older people learning how to come jump and jib little rails.Is it a challenge to keep things new in the park? Its always a challenge. There are so many people who come through here and everybody has an opinion, and its always a little bit different so we do our best to try and add variety and make things fun for everyone, but you cant please everybody.Whats the most popular feature in the park?Boxes are much more popular than just about any feature in the terrain park.
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