Shape Academy – The Evolution Of the Shaper
Sunshine, snow and shredding – That’s how we imagine the average day in the life of a shaper. Of course these clichés are not all true and sometimes park life can be pretty challenging – nevertheless we can agree that there are definitely worse jobs than creating snowparks. But what do we actually know about the tasks of a shaper? How do I become shaper and finally, what makes a good park designer? Until a few years back, those questions were not really relevant to many people and let’s be honest – the so-called ‘funparks’ back then rather resembled bumpy snowfields rampaged by some wacky shredheads. Park professionals like the guys from QParks however, pioneered the change of this situation and contributed substantially to the evolution of the shaper from ill-equipped amateur to trained professional. And this winter, the QParks Shape Academy by PistenBully goes even one step further – As you can find out in the video!
Before you apply, make sure to check off this list of what NOT to do in a park...
From passion to profession
“Turning my hobby into my job baby – awesome plan!" – Who hasn’t had that great thought – at least once. But often it doesn’t take long, until reality hits and shatters your dream as you figure that it’s nearly impossible to turn your hobby into an occupation that also pays the bills…
However, there are still examples that prove the opposite. With a little luck, some people’s demand rises exactly in the area that covers your interests, and with smart planning, passion can indeed become profession. One instance for this principle was actually represented by the foundation of QParks 12 years ago. Since then, the Austrian park-rats have trained numerous passionate snowboarders and freeskiers from all over Europe to become professionals in constructing snow terrainparks. Nuff said here - QParks literally shaped the shaper’s profession in Europe.
In order to further advance this remarkable development, the Styrians got together with the guys of Kässbohrer AG to create a new joint endeavor: The QParks Shape Academy by PistenBully. Both snow construction pioneers join forces to synergize their forces: QParks on the one side as constructing and implementing expert, Kässbohrer on the other side as manufacturer of the most powerful terrain park construction tool: the PistenBully. The goal of this cooperation is clear: Pushing the efficiency in park constructions as well as the quality of the snowparks to the next level.
The training center
For all passionate shapers though, this cooperation means much more! For the first time the Shape Academy offers the unique possibility to attend a multi-year paid and professional practical training with great advancement opportunities.
I want to become park designer!
“The general career path starts as shaper, where besides the shaping basics you also get your first own areas of responsibility. The next step already brings you to the team leader level, where as head shaper you coordinate the daily duties of the park crew. If you do your job, you can soon become project leader, where you’re the manager over the whole park. Following that you may either be trained in one of the training centers on the supreme discipline – the operation of the PistenBully – or you directly ascend the throne as park designer", QParks head of operations Jürgen Kipperer explains the steps in the academy career ladder.
The references of the last years definitely put in an appearance. And besides 30 snowparks like the Vans-Penken-Park Mayrhofen and the Superpark Dachstein, you can find true freestyle pioneers among the 170 man-strong ‘Quality Parks’ crew, of which many also set up snow-related projects such as Funslopes. This bundled know-how together with the field training creates the essence of the Shape Academy in order to evoke the next generation of shapers to build even better snowparks in the future.
Where to apply?
On the new Academy Website, every motivated aspirant can apply. As QParks emphasizes, the most important criteria are motivation and willingness, not the length of your CV. Also, prior shape experience is not essential for admission. All that counts is the lived dedication for freestyle and snow – all according to the slogan on the Academy website: “It’s not a job, it’s our passion!"
The best from the parks: Men in Shape and the Academy Award
Every week, the best photo of the shape crew from each Qpark will put for voting on the QParks web channels. The one with the most votes is then presented in the QParks newsletter and will make a run for the Shape Academy Award, what will be rewarded by public vote at the end of the season. The Award-winning crew will receive a very special surprise gift by QParks. What might that be? A shovel made of pure gold? A year-supply of blistering plasters? Wait and see… #meninshape