Buttermilk park designer is moving on to Utah ski area | AspenTimes.com

Buttermilk park designer is moving on to Utah ski area

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Ski Co's Jim Mangan gives the peace sign to Aspen as he moves on to greener pastures after directing the snowbaord program. Daniel Bayer photo.

You may not know who Jim Mangan is. But if you know a young snowboarder who spent time last winter in the terrain park at Buttermilk Mountain, ask them. If they don’t know Mangan’s name, they’ll know his work.

Mangan, 29, designed and oversaw the operation of the Crazy T’rain park at Buttermilk, which by the end of the season ran top-to-bottom at the ski area. It included a long series of rails, jumps and other features on which riders can catch air and do slopestyle moves.

It was one of the biggest terrain parks in the world, the lower portion was used in the ESPN Winter X Games, and it earned Mangan recognition as one of the four best park designers in the country by Snowboarder magazine.

But this coming winter, Mangan will be working for Park City Mountain Resort as its first “freeride director.”

“It’s a dream job,” Mangan said.

The position includes designing, building and managing a new terrain park, creating a team of sponsored riders and skiers, coordinating film and photo shoots and working with the marketing department to reach young snowboarders and skiers.

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“My job is to bring the core riders of Salt Lake to Park City, to have them look to Park City as the go-to resort,” he said. “Salt Lake has the largest contingent of core skiers and snowboarders in the world, and there is not a world-class terrain park in Utah.”

Mangan resigned from his position as a terrain park designer with the Aspen Skiing Co. in April after failing to come to terms with the company about an expanded job description.

“I put forth a similar concept to the Skico,” Mangan said. “But it was hard for them to combine the different elements of the job.”

Shortly after he resigned he learned that Park City Mountain Resort had created a position similar to the one he had wanted at the Skico. He was offered the position last week.

In addition to his three-year stint at the Skico, Mangan has been running his own company, Mangan Slope Designs, and has designed terrain parks in New Zealand, Australia and at The Canyons ski resort next to Park City. He has also been a professional snowboarder and competed at the national championships three years in a row.

Mangan said that Park City Mountain Resort has made a substantial commitment to its freeride program.

“I have an incredible budget,” Mangan said. “I’m gonna go after the number one guys in the industry.”

Mangan plans to build a team of “Park City All Stars” made up of five skiers and five riders. They will call the Park City ski area home and also make themselves available for industry and editorial photo shoots, which are key to influencing the youth market.

The Winter Olympics in Salt Lake helped convince the Park City Mountain Resort to really embrace snowboarding.

“They realized, with three U.S. snowboarders taking the three spots on the podium, that this sport in the eyes of everyone is completely legitimate,” Mangan said.

Park City, like Aspen, wants to reach out to the next generation of young riders. Aspen scored a huge coup by landing the Winter X Games, which will be held for the second time at Buttermilk next winter.

And Mangan’s top-to-bottom terrain park at Buttermilk helped re-energize the Skico’s smallest ski area.

“Once we had the top-to-bottom park going, I could really feel the energy and the excitement,” he said. “Everyone was really stoked on it.”

[Brent Gardner-Smith’s e-mail address is bgs@aspentimes.com.]