There was no such thing as a dedicated snowboard park. Not until Bear Mountain built one. It was the winter of 1991, and with a green light from resort management but no blueprint to draw from, a loose crew of skaters-turned-snowboarders started shaping features on the Outlaw trail—a snake run, a few jumps, a rail. It wasn’t much but it was a start. The first real snowboard park—open to snowboarders only. No skiers. The features were mostly hand-built at first but soon a grooming cat was commandeered to help push snow. “We designed the park to flow so you could hit everything, every run. We didn’t want to stop,” says park-digging pioneer Mike Parillo.
These were the humble beginnings of a whole new era. Any lingering debate about another resort maybe doing it first is overshadowed by Bear’s enduring legacy. Their park changed the course of snowboarding forever. Outlaw was the blueprint. Within a few years machine-built parks and pipes were popping up coast to coast.
From that original experiment on Outlaw and straight through the two-plus decades since, Bear has been steadily, creatively evolving the park experience; always upholding their position as a leader in terrain park design and innovation. And it’s all been documented—in magazine coverage, video parts, events, ads, pro teams, and awards.
Twenty-number years have passed since Outlaw opened and Bear’s commitment to snowboarding has never wavered. Rebuilding the park in 2016 was an acknowledgement of unquestionable influence and a respectful tip of the hat to every Bear park staffer who has ever driven a cat, set a rail, or lifted a rake. Where would snowboarding be without them?