2018/2019 Chester Bowl Terrain Park Series, Entry #3: Tommy Smyth
I can’t help but think of redwood trees when I think about Tommy. Redwood saplings spend a long time in the shadows of older trees before finding an opening, bursting into the sunlight, and becoming the looming giants that they are known to be. When I first met Tommy, he was a tag along little brother. Whenever Will was at the hill, Tommy could be found 20 to 50 feet away watching, learning, and biding his time. Even at a young age Tommy was on the hill helping us with the park a ton. Before long he was a key member of our Freestyle Cadet program and when we needed another terrain park coordinator I offered him a job. I did not read his application close enough and at our orientation I found out he was only 14 years old which made him our youngest employee. Despite being so young, Tommy proved to me and the rest of our crew that he was not just a talented skier, but a creative park builder, and often times a much harder worker than the rest of us. We are getting ready to put his signature park together next week so I got him to come in off the hill long enough for an interview.
Sam: How old are you, what school do you go to, and how long have you been part of Chester Bowl?
Tommy: I am 15. I am a sophomore at East. I have been skiing around 10 years.
Sam: Besides skiing, what do you do?
Tommy: I play lacrosse all year. I run cross country in the fall. I work at Chester all the time.
Sam: What things influence your skiing?
Tommy: Definitely Will and all of his friends. Definitely all the older kids who ski here, I have been watching them since I started skiing.
Sam: What’s it like having a brother that’s been skiing longer than you.
Tommy: Will is super good not sure if I will get as good as he is but it’s fun to see his videos and be like “yeah that’s my brother”
Sam: I think you have beaten your brother during Freestyle Fridays before. You have a different style than your brother why do you think that is?
Tommy: I just want to jump stuff rather than doing technical stuff on rails. Like last year we had the contest where it was a transfer from handrail to handrail and I gapped the whole thing. That’s more the stuff that I want to do.
Sam: How would you describe your style of skiing?
Tommy: More laid back, sitting back on my skis because what I would really like to be doing is riding big mountain and powder
Sam: Have you ever ridden powder?
Tommy: Yeah two years ago, I finally went to Colorado to ski. Definitely the most fun I have had skiing. Going through the trees as fast as possible is my favorite part of skiing.
Sam: Do you plan on moving out west after school?
Tommy: Probably, that would be the ultimate goal to live somewhere where I can ski all the time but I have two years to figure that out.
Sam: You are definitely on the younger side of being on the terrain park crew. Next year you will be one of the old guys on the crew. What has it been like growing up learning about the terrain park and then becoming part of it and now being the old guard?
Tommy: I just always watched Will and his friend make the jumps and I would tag along. Then the past couple of years I have been able to help out and make features and watch things come together. It’s really cool when the younger kids ask to help because that is what Chester is about. Getting the little kids involved.
Sam: What has influenced your terrain park design this year?
Tommy: Well, I really like big features so that I don’t have to do technical things to look cool. My friends and I wanted to make a bunch of lines that tie together. So it really comes down to what we can film.
Sam: Do you film much?
Tommy: Not as much as Will but yeah. I mainly film with Ryan and Sean. I do most of the filming.
Sam: Who do you mostly ski/ ride with?
Tommy: Sean, Ryan, Will, James and that crew if they are out. And Mitch Kasper.
Sam: After the season is done what do you plan to do? What do you hope to see happen next season?
Tommy: I will be waiting for snow. I really want to make some new features with Mitch over the summer and making sure I don’t get hurt over the summer.
Sam: What advice do you have for someone who is interested in freestyle skiing and or working in the terrain park?
Tommy: Really just ask the older guys. We really just want to help. We want everyone to come out and have fun. We are freestyle skiers not competition skiers. Its all about skiing with your friends and trying to do cooler tricks than them.
Sam: Any parting thoughts?
Tommy: Chester is dope.