An Interview with Joe Garbacik

Posted: August 9, 2006 at 7:03:02 PM
Words: Jason Wagner (bold) & Joe Garbacik

So Joe, what are the big projects you are working on this summer to prepare for next season?

At this point and time in the summer, the rest of the park staff and I have not started on building or working on any rails yet. Myself, Mike Manoni and some of the other guys from the park staff plan on starting on some rails in the next couple of weeks in preparation for some events coming up as well as getting a head start on the season. Although no physical work as started yet on park features, the summertime maintenance staff has started building a new park and pipe office in a loft overlooking our new rail shop. This building will also house our BR350 and Scorpion Pipe Cutter. In addition to that project, management and I have been sitting down in plenty of meetings discussing events we are planning to hold this season as well as the sponsorship of the DVD ďQuick!Ē. At this point of the summer, we have 3 rail jams scheduled and two large competition events that will have sponsorships from major companies in the industry such as DC, Volcom, Academy, Forum.

According to the website, there is no longer an exhibition park. I guess the new expert park will be located on recruit where the Superpipe once was. Is this correct?

Yes, the 2005-2006 season marked the end of both the Exhibition Terrain Park, and unfortunately the Recruit Superpipe. Recruit will become what was the Exhibition Terrain Park.

What was the reasoning for getting rid of the Superpipe?

Haha (or as you guys would say it LOLz!) This is a question that no matter how I answer it, its going to offend somebody, or somebody will come up with a reason to counteract Roundtopís reasons. Oh, well, Iím going to answer this to the best of my knowledge of it. There were many factors that went into turning the Superpipe into a slope for a park. One of the reasons was that Ski Roundtop was simply running out of space to entertain a majority of our guests. With the park on Exhibition as well as the race arena, guests often were unable to ski though this slope. Upper Management received many emails concerning this situation. Now people may say, ďmove the race team, or the park for that matter to RamrodĒ. There were many options discussed on where different things could go and some solutions were even reached. But then we had such a dismal season in regards to sustaining snow on slopes that we didnít get the chance to open the Superpipe. People may, or may not know, but to open that pipe, we needed 2-3 solid weeks of snowmaking in there, plus about a week solid of groomer time to build that pipe. With that being said, when the pipe was open in previous season, it didnít open until mid to late February, which left many riders only a month or so to ride it. Another reason that lead to this decision was that the progression of the sport in general isnít leading towards pipe riding, its in park riding. True, the Olympics have halfpipe in it, not slope style, but honestly, the Olympics is a beat competition scene. In the true sense of the entire free-ride scene from coast to coast, terrain parks are where the progression of riding is coming from. Progression parks are becoming more and more popular at ski resorts all over the United States and even over seas. It was very disappointing to see the Superpipe suffer the fate that it did, and I was not happy to see it go, but at the same time, I am happy that Recruit is the new designated slope for expert freestyle terrain. I really didnít get to hit all the reasons, because if I did, I could do an entire interview on this topic alone.

How many lines will you be able to fit into the new park?

Iím hoping to fit three lines in the Recruit Park, but defiantly there will be two lines. Iím also hoping to utilize the exits onto both Minuteman and Susquehanna for features.

I don't really remember recruit being that large...will you be able to fit a few nice sized jumps?

That was one of my concerns when Recruit was first suggested as the new trail for the park. When Roundtop had the park there years ago, it wasnít big enough. But also at that time, we were in the infancy of building terrain parks. With all the excavation and grading work thatís been done up there so far, it is looking to be a very suitable park. What we sacrificed in length from the Exhibition Terrain Park, we are making up in width. If we are looking at building 60-70 ft jumps, it will be tough to fit everything in and keeping flow through the park. But if I build them in the 30-40ft range, we will be golden.

A few people have expressed concern because Ski Roundtop is getting rid of the Superpipe. Are you planning on doing any work to the halfpipe in order to compensate for the lack of a Superpipe?

There are many people that were very upset in getting rid of the Superpipe. I do apologize to them, and though they are claiming to not return to our mountain and ride elsewhere, I wish them well and hope that they have fun. Fun is what the sport is all about. Part of the plan when everything was said and done with the whole move of the park and dropping the pipe was more work and focus on the original halfpipe. But its not something that will all be done this summer. The first phase was to cut a new entrance from Lower Leap eliminating the entrance from Fife and Drum. This will allow for more room for progression in the Incubator Park. Also new for next season is upgraded snowmaking. With the upgrades in snowmaking in the pipe, I am planning on keeping that pipe at no less that 10ft in wall height, and have it at 12-13ft walls consistently. In the next year or so, we are looking to do more dirt work to widen and make this pipe longer. Iím also pushing to get a Zaugg pipe cutter as well.

Do you have any new rails/boxes in mind for this upcoming season? Anything else crazy that you want to build?

As many other park builders, I like to try to keep a lot of my ideas locked up until I start to actually fabricate them. As I said before, I havenít started building just yet, but I do have some ideas for different rails/boxes. I got some good ideas out at Cutterís Camp this past year, as well a lot of other ideas coming from the hours I spend watching videos, looking through magazines, and searching the Internet. Look for some older rails to make an appearance this season and all the rails will have a new color scheme and look to them as well.

Lots of people are excited for another October Rail Jam. Will Ski Roundtop be hosting another fall rail jam this season? Will it be on swap weekend again?

Ski Roundtop will again host the October Ski Swap Rail Jam. The jam itself will take place on Saturday, October 21, 2006. I hope I donít get in trouble because I released that date to the public. I have an idea Iíd like to run with and I have the support of management at the mountain, I just hope I can find enough snow.

Is there anything else new at Ski Roundtop? How is the new Fife and Drum lift coming along?

Other than the new Doppelmayr/CTEC Triple that is being installed on Fife and Drum and the new Terrain Park, nothing huge is really going on. There is the plan for an addition to be built onto the tubing lodge, but construction on that has yet to start. But the dirt work that is going on where the old Chair 3 once stood is very extensive. The summer staff at Roundtop has been working hard since the day the season ended in moving all the dirt on Recruit and that project is nearing completion. All the concrete foundations have been poured for the new lift and now all thatís left is a lot of backfilling in certain areas, and installing the lift itself.

On a side note, Iíve been receiving a lot of phone calls and emails regarding me selling rails/boxes that are not being used anymore. At this time, we have no left over old rails sitting around. We re-use 75% of all the old rails that are un-usable, and the 25% we do not use, I cut up because they are not usable due to being bent way beyond fixing. So at this time, we do not sell anything we once had out in the parks.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to formally address all your questions and I hope that I have given many of the readers an insight on the upcoming season. Roundtop will be releasing their winter website soon, along with a new look for the park and pipe section of the page. I also just wanted to thank all the members and supporters of, as well as all the other riders that have been riding at Roundtop over the years. Without you guys and girls, we have not been able to progress in the sport as we have done over the years. The riders have been the ones that are the driving force in the parks, and if anyone has any ideas, or questions, please feel free to find me on the mountain and talk to me about them, or email me.


Joe Garbacik
Park and Pipe Mgr.
Ski Roundtop