If you love doing jumps and tricks then maybe Park and Pipe is for you!
Park and Pipe refers to the places where freestyle skiers and snowboarders go to pull off tricks and aerial moves by jumping off lips, kickers or onto rails and boxes in a man-made terrain park or half-pipe built out of snow and ice.
Terrain parks can be anything from 100-300 metres long with up to 8 or 9 jumps (kickers) or features (rails or boxes) spread evenly down the slope.
Half-pipes are named such as they resemble the bottom half of a pipe that has been cut lengthways and points downhill. They vary from 100m-250m long and offer the rider the chance to slide downhill from one lip of the pipe across to the other, jumping off the lip and performing a transition turn back into the half-pipe as they do so.
In Scotland the mountain resorts all aspire to building terrain parks when there is sufficient snow and Cairngorm also have a half-pipe cutting machine, making them the only venue with a man-made half-pipe.
Both parks and pipes offer a great place to have fun and build skills, however they also offer some of the most spectacular aerial competitions to watch. Competitions formats fall into three basic categories, Big Air, Slopestyle and Halfpipe.
“People weren’t made to fly, that’s why we make kickers,”
– Warren Miller
The Park & Pipe Disciplines
The Park & Pipe disciplines operate in their name sake terrain: Slopestyle, Big Air and Halfpipe.
With focus on judged “trick” performance rather than against the clock Park & Pipe has adrenaline high consequence creativity at its heart. Skiers and Snowboarders successful in Park and Pipe competition have to match phenomenal athletic capability with creativity. The three park and pipe disciplines are incredibly popular in the wider snowsports industry given their accessibility and the excitement in riding jumps, rails and transitions.
Slopestyle is where riders compete and ride down a purpose built course that will include a variety of features including jumps, rails, transitions and gaps. Increasingly these courses are becoming unique to different events, and challenge the rider’s ability to adapt to lots of different features and put down a run that is innovative, technical and well executed. Typically a course will consist between 2 – 4 jump features and 2 – 4 rail features as well as other unique features. Again this is judged by a panel similarly to Big Air. The Overall Impression score (how well linked together the run is) is an important marker here too. Again, in Scotland there are a large number of facilities that make it possible to try out and train for Slopestyle courses. Springtime in particular is great for finding the best real-snow Slopestyle courses given the weather and snow available.
The nature of the Park & Pipe disciplines means that generally riders focus more on skill and trick progression and less on formal competition in comparison to other snowsports disciplines, that said there are still a multitude of competitions around the country for those wishing to compete. There are an array of different competition formats out there, the two main competition formats are:
A set time window is given to lay down the best tricks possible. The open time means entrants have multiple attempts to land a trick resulting in a much more laid back but exciting atmosphere. Sometimes prizes are awarded from the initial jam, in other cases the top riders make it through to a semi-final, or final for another jam or in some cases a head to head with another competitor.
After practice on the course competitors have two judged, qualifying runs. The top competitors, usually 12 of them but not always, move forward to the finals, where they have a further two judged runs. This format allows the judging panel to concentrate on each run in its entirety and provide a calculated score for each run, thus allowing the placement of athletes from 1st to last in an accurate manner. Something not possible in a Jam Format.
Big Air is where riders compete and ride on a single large jump and perform a single trick in an effort score as high a mark as possible. Normally riders will perform a jump with a blend of rotation (spin) and somersault (flip) action, with a grab (holding onto the snowboard/skis) to show control and individual flair. It is judged by a panel who will look out for qualities such as: amplitude, technical difficulty, style, execution and more. Some of the most prestigious events in Big Air include the Air and Style Series, X-Games Big Air and now a World Cup / Olympic series of Big Air. From artificial slope to the mountain resorts, it is easy to try out hitting jumps in Scotland, with a large variety of sizes and transitions available to try
Halfpipe is the original Park & Pipe discipline, stemming from the skate/surf culture in 60’s USA. Originally a hand-shaped course, halfpipes are now cut to very specific sizes using a variety of machinery. The Olympic standard pipe is now 22ft on both transitions, with a flat bottom that slopes up to a vertical ‘lip’ where riders takeoff. Riders will perform a variety of airs including spins/flips on both sides. Again, it is judged on similar aspects to that in Big Air and Slopestyle, with the unique challenge in Halfpipe being able to ride the transition continuously. You can find quarter-pipes at many artificial slopes and by spring Cairngorm Mountain often builds a half-pipe too.
There is a vibrant slopestyle competition scene throughout Scotland! The competitions range from fun low-level jams for local freestylers through to the National Championships – the national level competition appealing to performance-orientated athletes. To find a fun competition and get involved please see the Snowsport Scotland event calendar
The main competition series delivered by Snowsport Scotland are the Slopestyle events, inclusive event for both rookies and higher performance athletes, three events all on different surfaces.
Each event offering a very different park, surface and environment to challenge riders. At each event there are three separate competitions:-
- The CrownJam (A fun jam format competition for all levels ages and abilities)
- The Junior Champs (A jam format championship for U12’s only)
- The Open Champs (A 2+2 Championship format for U16 and Open only)
The Dryslope Champs
- Where:- Hillend, Bearsden or Aberdeen
- When: Late November or Early December
- What: If at Aberdeen then 2 lines, rails and kicker. If at Bearsden then a large kicker and Quarter Pipe (but it varies each year!)
The Mountain Champs
- Where:- Nevis Range
- When: March
- What: A different park every year dependent on snow volume!
The Indoor Champs
- Where: Snow Factor
- When: September
- What: A different park every year
Want to Enter?
To view upcoming competitions in Scotland visit our Competition Calendar.
The Performance Pathway
The Performance Pathway
Snowsport Scotland employs two park and pipe coaches to support the pathway and run our Pro-Camps and national performance programmes.
They support park and pipe athletes to progress through the pathway and into the GB Snowsports teams. This is done in partnership with the Clubs, Academies and GB Snowsports.
- Development Coach – Euan Baxter
Euan works with local clubs and scenes supporting coaches, trainees, facilities and parks to ensure young riders across the country have the best opportunity to ride in the best environments!
Euan also leads on the Pro-Camps, Park & Pipe training environments for Scottish club trainees and coaches. The camps aim to offer bespoke learning environments to provide coaches and trainees opportunities beyond their regular landscape to progress and develop their practice. By supporting clubs from across Scotland to train together the camps build community and collaboration to support progression and lift the scene. Supporting the Park & Pipe pathway is a primary aim and as such the camps are accessible to all clubs with Park & Pipe program, to find out more on how your club can interact contact – email@example.com
- National Performance Coach – Murray Buchan
Murray has dual role with Snowsport Scotland and GB Snowsports and works with both the GBPark&Pipe Main Team athletes and the Snowsport Scotland Performance Squad in the UK and abroad. The pathway promotes as much snowboarding and freeskiing as possible, alongside cross training disciplines such as gymnastics, skateboarding, and strength and conditioning work.
GB Snowsport (GBS) is the national governing body for Snowsports in the UK and focus is the elite British athletes selected to its programs.
They select, manage and lead British teams to international events and provide opportunities for our athletes to achieve their full potential as individuals and as a team.
To get involved with Park and Pipe activities, please speak to your local slope/mountain to find out if they are holding an introduction to freestyle course or have a dedicated freestyle night for you to join on. Please check our Clubs to get in touch with your local Park and Pipe scene/club.
Selection to the Park & Pipe Pathway happens at multiple points in an Athletes progression toward World Class performance. The first entry point in Scotland is with the many Snowsport Clubs Snowsport Scotland work closely with. Snowsport Scotland would recommend attendance in a club structure is the best entry point in engaging with the Park & Pipe pathway.
Snowsport Scotland works closely with the Scottish clubs in particular on the Pro-Camps as highlighted in the Pathway section. These bespoke learning environments provide club athletes with training toward Performance Squad selection as well as providing existing Snowsport Scotland and GBSnowsport athletes home based training. These camps are accessed via clubs programs and not via a formal selection process
For a list of clubs see Clubs
At a certain level of Performance SnowSport Scotland select athletes to their Performance Squad programs to give those athletes with demonstrated talent the best opportunity to develop toward World Class and selection to GB Snowsports Park and Pipe Main Team.
1. Park & Pipe Selection Policy 2021-2022.
To apply please download the application form below, complete and send to firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Park & Pipe application form
We recommend you discuss your submission with your local coach as they will be able to help guide you through the process, if however you are unable to do this please feel free to contact us.
For Selection to GB Park & Pipe main team program please see:
Resources for Park & Pipe Coaches
Traffic Light Tracker
The GBPark & Pipe pathway utilises the Traffic Light Profiling System. In its simplest form the “TL’s” are used by individual skiers and snowboarders for charting tricks. This profiling tool has many utilisations for coaches and riders alike and our primary use is as a coaching tool to enable athlete-coach conversations.
A secondary is the use of the TL’s is supporting athletes applications to the pathway or national team whereby candidates can use it demonstrate their current level. Any submission of this kind is requires supporting video submission of the top level tricks or first hand coach exposure to those tricks.
Of note: The TL’s will be going through an update prior to the 2019/20 season.
Please fill in the “Info” tab first before the TL Tracker. The TL Tracker already has examples in there, delete them and complete with the correct information. Please use the current date for tricks which are already established and all new developments can be tracked going forward.
Traffic Light Tracker – Freeski
Resources for Competition Organisers
Snowsport Scotland is committed to supporting clubs, centres, and organisations to run high-quality, efficient competitions. Below are resources that Snowsport Scotland has provided to help you run your event or competition.
Please visit our Competition Resources section for more information.
In addition Snowsport Scotland offers a series Event Crew Development (ECD) workshops aimed to provide education and support to individuals, clubs, centres, and organisations looking to run competitions.
Please visit our Training Courses section for information on training for slopestyle event crew.
If your Club or Organisation is hosting a snowsport related event or competition and would like to display it on our Calendar, please either complete this online form or contact email@example.com
Get In Touch
For those interested in learning more and getting involved please get in touch with:
Euan Baxter: firstname.lastname@example.org
Murray Buchan: email@example.com