2018/2019 Chester Bowl Terrain Park Series
Entry #4: Mitch Kasper
When I was in high school and working at Chester there was this little kid who was always building jumps. This kid would spend most of the day building the perfect wedge jump in the middle of the hill, not letting anyone ride the jump until it was perfect, which most of the time was about twenty minutes before the hill would close for the day. If it did open earlier, this kid would sit and watch everyone ride it and as soon as they would launch off of it he would smooth out the ruts left behind by their skis or snowboard. This would happen on repeat almost every day this kid was at the hill and it seemed to go on for years this way. The kid would show up, get a shovel, build a jump, and watch. Over and over. Until one day we had a decent amount of snow. Being the high schooler I was, I thought it would be funny to spray this kid with snow as I passed. I did. He laughed. I laughed. It was fun. So, I did it again. And then I did it again. For me, the experience didn’t change but for this kid it got very old quick. Suddenly, I heard my name over the PA system requesting my presence in the office. Not knowing what was going on I headed right there and sure enough the kid who had been the victim of my fun was sitting on the couch in the office. I got a stern talking to. I apologized and genuinely felt bad about what I had done and how I made this kid feel. But a good thing came from the experience, I learned the kid’s name. It was Mitch Kasper. We actually became pretty good friends shortly after. I learned quickly that he built much better jumps than I did due to years of honing his patience for moving and shaping snow. We became a team and for a long time I would build the terrain park features and Mitch would put them in. Before long, he was hired to help me in the terrain park. Then a couple of years ago I moved on from doing the terrain park and he took charge of welding all the terrain park features together during the fall, and now he is the terrain park fixer at Chester Bowl. When something comes up that needs to be fixed he typically jumps in to get it done. I was pretty excited to see what Mitch came up with for his park design and he did not disappoint. There are some gnarly combo features in his design. I hope everyone gets a chance to check it out.
It is not uncommon that Mitch is the first person at the hill. Often, he is riding around in the groomer to make sure snow is pushed where he and the rest of the crew need it. Sometimes, he is up at the top of the hill with a shovel building a jump and waiting for kids to put ruts in it which is pretty much what he had done the night I had pulled him off the hill to do this interview.
Sam: How long have you been skiing at Chester?
Mitch: Since I was 6 years old, so 16 years.
Sam: Have you been skiing or building jumps longer?
Mitch: I have been skiing for a bit longer but it is a close tie.
Sam: What made you interested in skiing and terrain park stuff?
Mitch: I wasn’t big enough to ski the old ski jumps when they were still up so I decided to build my own.
Sam: How much time did you spend jumps vs skiing. Which did you do more?
Mitch: It was a good 50-50 split.
Sam: How would you describe your style of skiing?
Mitch: Definitely a lot of falling. Starts laughing*
Sam: What influences your skiing and or terrain park designs?
Mitch: Our own creativity I guess. I don’t really take a whole lot from others. I like to try new things that I have never seen before. But it doesn’t hurt to learn from other places.
Sam: You have been skiing for a long time, what makes you excited about skiing?
Mitch: Every day is different. You never know what things are going to be like so it makes me want to go out and ski every day.
Sam: You have moved into a role of coordinating a lot of the work that goes on in the park. For example, this year you have been working with the City to make sure snow gets pushed where it needs to be. What challenges come from that?
Mitch: You really need to push for what you want and what is best for everyone else. It is a lot of asking and pleading, and explaining why we need snow in certain areas more than others. In the long run it keeps the park fresh and helps get more people to the hill.
Sam: What do you do outside of working at Chester and skiing?
Mitch: I grow flowers and have been pushing a lot of snow.
Sam: How old were you when you started doing terrain park stuff?
Mitch: I think I was 15 or 16 when I was a volunteer. I have been working doing this for about 4 years now.
Sam: What has influenced your terrain park design this year?
Mitch: I wanted to take features that we have had all these years and do something new with them to make everyone think outside of the box.
Sam: You used to film a bunch, do you still do that?
Mitch: Not as much but still have the same interest to do it.
Sam: Who do you mostly ski/ ride with?
Mitch: The Brueninghaus triplets, Tommy, Will, and all the Chester Bowl locals.
Sam: After the season is done what do you plan to do? What do you hope to see happen next season?
Mitch: After the season ends I will be designing and storming up ideas for new rails and come fall we will be building those rails and finding ways to put them into the terrain park.
Sam: What advice do you have for someone who is interested in freestyle skiing and or working in the terrain park?
Mitch: Have fun! That is what is really about. If you are not having fun the park will not be good and you will not have a good time.
Sam: Any parting thoughts?
Mitch: Do not be alarmed if you see ski patrol taking me down the hill in the toboggan. Laughs*