BlackStrap gains real product testers with its Parks Crew project
Being a member of a park team at a ski resort is not the comfortable job you might think. The idealistic idea of bypassing typing features, just so you can, “check them out” is just the tip of the iceberg for the job they do. Sure, that may be part of it, but it’s what you don’t see that may surprise you.
Setting up the parks so that they are safe and efficient for everyday cyclists is very difficult work, the majority of which is done for long hours when the station is closed. As the sun goes down, the temperature also goes down. The after hours elements can be just plain brutal. Recognizing these conditions as well as the hard work of the park teams, BlackStrap launched their Parks Crew project. By sponsoring over 50 terrain park teams across North America, BlackStrap keeps them safe while doing this little-known work while earning real-life product testers.
Park Crews are real-world product testers
Photo credit: BlackStrap
Whether you’re a skier or snowboarder in the park, someone who likes to cruise blues, or maybe even claim your off-trail right in the backcountry, we can all agree that protecting our bodies from the elements is an absolute must. Blackstrap consistently delivers high quality products American made products trusted by the snowsports community to keep them warm and comfortable on the mountain. A success like this requires a lot of trial and error and testing under the most extreme conditions.
Jim Sanco, BlackStrap Brand Manager, explains: “fleet teams are a subset of our industry that really puts products to the test. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mask, base layerouterwear, optics or hardgoods, park crews are on the hill every day, whatever the conditions. At BlackStrap, we can’t think of a better group to feed and watch as real-world product testers.
Being part of a park crew is a chore
Photo credit: BlackStrap
Digging, shaving, shaping, heavy equipment and… geometry, yes, geometry, working on the park crew at a ski resort is a labor of love. Nobody walks away from the only $12-15 an hour they earn during those long cold hours. Day after day, these teams show up without celebration, do the math, put up fences and signage, test, inspect, and build the features we love. Ultimately, they provide us with an imaginative playground for those who merry-go-roundas well as those who just want to “take a few jumps” on their next ski and snowboard vacation.
BlackStrap has a soft spot in their collective hearts for these crews. Sanco himself has been part of a crew for a bunch of years, so he knows the struggles these people go through on a daily basis. However, he’s not the only member of Team Blackstrap who cut his teeth working for a resort.
Sanco elaborates, saying, “Most of us grew up skiing, snowboarding and progressing through terrain parks from Oregon to Vermont and everywhere in between. For BlackStrap, supporting Park Crews helps support progression, safety and truly the heart of resort operations for young skiers and snowboarders who will love the snow for a lifetime.
Supporting Park Crews Across America
Photo credit: BlackStrap
BlackStrap supports over 50 terrain park teams across North America that make up the BlackStrap Park Crew Project. They outfit over 650 Park Crew members each year with masks, headgear and accessories that they use day in and day out and end up getting their stamp of approval.
“The best part about the Blackstrap product line is that they have options based on your local resort climate, says Sanco. heavier ones for the colder days in the East and lightweight, breathable neck styles for crews raking and maintaining the parks in the West.
The top products selected by park teams at all levels are The Team Hood, The Hood and The Single Layer Tube. Each member also receives a beanie and goggle cover as part of the kit delivered by BlackStrap.
The Hood Team – $44.99
Part balaclava, part balaclava…all the protection your face and head will ever need. The Team Hood offers out-of-this-world comfort thanks to the 4-way stretch material that magically never seems to get soaked in the wetness of your breath. Add to that the contoured hood design and adjustable pull tabs and you’re assured of a perfect fit whether you’re wearing it over or under your helmet.
The classic beanie – $19.99
Get ready for BlackStrap’s classic beanie to become an instant favourite. 4 way stretch material gives this beanie comfort, I’ve worn this everlasting feel which is perfect for scraping snow in the park or drinking après ski beers after.
The single layer tube – $19.99
The single layer tube is a great choice when it comes to protecting your face from the elements. The material may seem light, but the defense it offers is far from good. Once again, BlackStrap’s 4-way stretch material is key. Lightweight and breathable and wearable with multiple applications, the Single Layer Tube has become a staple for park teams and riders.
Rich Stoner is the founder of après-ski lifestyle media and apparel brand, All about After, and the co-host of Beyond the After Podcast. No stranger to the ski and après ski scene, Rich has long contributed to numerous publications on topics such as skiing, equipment, beer and food. However, his passion is on the slopes and enjoying good times with good people. You can find him honing his craft carving turns and drinking beers in the Green Mountains of Vermont. @allaboutapres