For pro snowboarder Danny Davis, Peace Park is for the people.

words by Mike Horn
photos by Dean Blotto Gray and Justin Cash  |  video by John Everett and Patrick Brush    
special thanks to Danny Davis, Blotto, Koa Gonet, and the Woodward Park crew
Koa Gonet, age 16, loves snowboarding. It’s how he fills his days whenever there’s snow on the ground and he’s not eating, sleeping or attending high school in Manchester, Vermont.
Gonet has been riding at Killington since he was three years old, and one particular day in February might have been the most memorable day yet. There was a gathering at the Woodward Peace Park, and rumor had it one of Koa’s heroes, pro snowboarder Danny Davis, was going to make an appearance. Likewise, storied photographer Dean Blotto Gray would be there to capture the experience and ride a little Peace Park for himself.
Davis is one of the visionaries behind the Peace Park, a transition-and-flow-inspired park that defies traditional terrain park design. In a recent interview for the Killington Download Podcast, Davis spoke to the genesis of and intent behind the Peace Park, and its transition from private park and annual event to a season-long Woodward venue at five different resorts.

Ride along with Danny as he drops in for an interview on the Killington Download podcast.

Davis said he and his friends were tired of riding the same features and parks they practiced and competed in all season long. So they started their own gathering called “Peace Pipe” in California—the first one was at Northstar—featuring a halfpipe with channels and rails. Peace Pipe eventually evolved into a Peace Park event at Grand Targhee in Wyoming. The eclectic-yet-flowy collection of features, from hips and a halfpipe to a banked slalom course and a snow bowl created a venue for freedom of expression and maximum creativity, and provided fresh inspiration for shooting video and photography. Word got out quickly, and other riders were soon clamoring for a slice of the Peace Park.
“People were reaching out all the time and were like, ‘I want to come to Peace Park. I want to ride one,’” Davis said. “So, then it was like, “All right, we have to start either allowing people to come to this one we do every year, or maybe we can work with a resort.” And Gunny [Chris Gunnarson, Senior Vice President of Woodward Experiences at POWDR] was the man. He was like, ‘This is how we can bring these things to people around the country.’”
“So, now we have five Peace Parks around the country,” Davis continued. “And it feels really nice to start implementing these instead of your classic snowboard park, which is jump, jump, jump, rail, rail, rail. For us, it was just like, ‘This is a way we can design parks now; more skate parky, less terrain parky.’ I think terrain parks got so normal....”
Gonet is a Peace Park regular and described it as “different, but in a good way.”
“It’s not like your average park,” he said. “It’s got a few jumps and rails mixed in—and in-between you can find your own lines because there are so many different features to hit.”

We’re making Peace Parks to be super fun, super flowy, super fun for everyone.

Danny Davis

For everyone from the tiniest groms to fawning fathers and mothers, the Peace Park is more navigable than traditional terrain parks. “I don’t want to say we’re making Peace Parks for families, because we’re not. We’re making Peace Parks to be super fun, super flowy, super fun for everyone,” Davis said. “I want you to be able to still do tricks. I still want to see some back fives, some front threes and some back threes.
Davis continued: “It’s really fun to ride the mountain with other people, whether it’s family or your friends. For the families, I think it’s really fun because there’s stuff that everyone can enjoy. There’s some kind of berm or turn or knuckle for them to fly off of. So, I think it’s fun for everybody. I hope it’s fun for everybody.”
Koa Gonet rode to the Peace Park and sure enough, Danny Davis and crew were sessioning features for the camera. As a kid who wants snowboarding to be part of his life 24/7, this was one of those moments he’ll never forget.
"It was a really cool experience to hang out with all those people,” Gonet said. “I even got to go into the Peace Park early and watch them getting shots and all that. It was really cool to ride with Danny to see what he was capable of. Also, talking with him and getting his opinion on snowboarding and the Peace Park was awesome.”
Gonet isn’t the first young (or old) shredder to get inspired by Davis. According to Blotto, who travels and shoots extensively with Davis, engaging with the community is always a priority.
"Danny will always give his full attention to his friends, family and fans, no matter how busy his schedule or life is,” Blotto said in an interview after the recent Peace Park gathering at Killington. “It’s neat to witness how in just a few minutes, he can impact a person’s life by a simple handshake, asking where they’re from, what they enjoy doing and how their day is going. All of us can learn from Danny’s interactions and his demeanor of slowing down for just a second, taking the time to introduce yourself and asking a couple questions that can make someone’s day, week, or life. It’s nice when a fan meets their hero, and they walk away still in awe.”

It’s nice when a fan meets their hero, and they walk away still in awe.

Blotto

When asked what it feels like to be gang-riding around the mountain with Davis and a bunch of stoked-out kids, Blotto said, “That’s the beautiful thing about snowboarding; we can all do it together!”
“No matter what your ability level is,” he continued, “there’s always common ground of pure shredding with good vibes all around. From day one, Danny wanted to bring Peace Park to the people. That time has arrived, so to see him riding through his creation on the slopes of Killington with an idea that came full circle to better serve snowboarding and snowboarders was a special moment.”
Gonet spent the rest of the day riding with Davis and the dozens of people who gathered in the Peace Park. He got to take a lift ride with Davis and chat him up about all things snowboarding. Koa says he wants snowboarding to be a big part of his life but isn’t sure how to go about it. So, on the Killington Download Podcast, he asked Davis a question: “How can you turn snowboarding into a lifelong career?”
Davis’s response?
“One thing I can say is … snowboard as much as possible and really find some joy in it. And it’s not about ‘doing tricks for everyone.’ It might just be turning. It might just be riding lines. It might be getting out of Vermont and going and finding a different side of snowboarding, or it might be staying in Vermont and teaching kids to ride and doing some local stuff. There’s a spot in the industry for everybody who loves snowboarding. And I think if you can just truly enjoy it and if you can make it a job and still get up every day and be really excited about that job, then you’ve cracked the code.”

There’s a spot in the industry for everybody who loves snowboarding.

Danny Davis

After a day of hanging with Davis and the Killington snowboard community, Gonet was well on his way to cracking the code. He was filled with gratitude after meeting one of his heroes and, better yet, getting to snowboard with him.

From day one, Danny wanted to bring Peace Park to the people. That time has arrived, so to see him riding through his creation on the slopes of Killington with an idea that came full circle to better serve snowboarding and snowboarders, was a special moment.

Blotto

Looking back on the gathering, Blotto reflected on a photo that captured the spirit of the Peace Park and his recent Killington experience.
“Danny was riding the final feature in the Peace Park, a rider’s left quarterpipe, doing what he does,” Blotto said. “After our session I asked him to stand in this massive tree shadow for a portrait. This represented just how rooted and down to earth Danny is; he doesn’t operate on some perceived level of being better, he’s down for me, for you, for snowboarding. That’s the essence of Peace Park. It’s for the people.” 
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