Briony Johnson is a quiet-achieving dead-set Australian legend. She’s competed annually since 2018 on the Freeride World Tour qualifying events, slaying big mountains for breakfast.

Spending most of her northern seasons in Myoko, Japan where her family has Refre Hotel,  Johnson comes from a family of boarders who love the terrain park as much as the powder.

This year she has taken on the role of Terrain Park Manager for Hotham Alpine Resort in Victoria. Australia has a long history of terrain park success with Slopestyle, Big Air and Halfpipe champions and park creators.

Johnson is the first female terrain park manager in an Australian resort. A long time coming. It was only fitting we asked her some questions.

What’s Briony’s terrain park evolution?

Briony Johnson hitting up the Alps.

I have spent all my seasons at Mount Hotham working in the Terrain Park crew, this season will be my seventh, prior to making my debut season at Hotham I had spent a lot of my childhood riding the resort with my family.

I have two older brothers, both who snowboard. Jack is the middle child, he also worked in the Terrain Park at Falls Creek and at Thredbo, you can easily tell I am influenced by them. I switched to snowboarding because of them and got into riding park because of them, then took it further and followed Jacks footsteps.

Of course. Back when I started, I was the only girl, also the first female to work in the crew at Hotham. So, it became this big deal, and all these eyes were on me, there was a lot of high expectations, I think.

I was the new girl; the boys had all worked with each other for a few seasons before I started, so they had each other and I had myself, I was a part of a boy’s club, but I’ve grown up with brothers so that didn’t bother me, I have always been a “tom boy.

The crew were also way better park riders than I was, and I felt like I had to prove my worth during the first season. I think there was this mentality that I was surely this amazing park rider because I got the job and how could a girl possibly get on this team if I wasn’t. It’s such a small crew and it’s possibly one of the most sort out positions in resort, everyone wants it.

Yeah I could ride park, but not like the boys, but I also decided I wasn’t going to try to act like I was, and instead just made it my goal to become one of the best shapers on the team and learn how to do my job well. I knew my park riding would improve naturally the more time I spent learning off the others in the team.

What do you hope to bring as the first female terrain park manager in Australia?

It feels special to be the first female to take on this role, but I do wish I wasn’t the first one to do so. I’m really excited to be breaking down the barrier of my role being seen as a “Mans Job” and hopefully this can encourage more of us to follow similar pathways to what I have that got me to where I am today.

I hope to help inspire anyone who has questioned the ability to do such a role as a female, that it is possible, that I can do it, that any female can, and we can do it well. I would love to mentor the next generation of female terrain park shapers on the ins and outs of working in the team and what it takes to be successful.

More importantly I’d love to help build the confidence of females in working amongst a saturated male industry and just pass on my experience to them, which I hope would help them in navigating through a role like mine. It’s incredibly motivating to know I’m potentially encouraging those younger girls who are looking up at me this season to follow in my footsteps, and I will do everything in my power to continue to be an advocate for females in this field.

What does a terrain park manager do?

Leads the pack, organises the day to day tasks and makes sure the crew has what they need to complete daily jobs. Design and implements park builds alongside our groomers, what features we want to see put into the park and how to best utilise the hill space to make it the most enjoyable as well as creating a nice flow on effect when riding through the park (this one is probably the hardest one to get right).

I will look at up and coming weather and coordinate builds around storms as well as putting out snow fences with the team to catch as much snow as possible to help us build and create bigger features. Lots of maintenance on our features, especially preseason – repainting, grinding, and repairing any damage.

I also work very closely with our events and marketing teams on organising park specific events as well as our effect across social media and how we can create content to best showcase our parks. And of course there is some more general manager jobs in that mix too, including things like designing rosters and training new staff members on their role within the team.

Right now, I am very much the new kid on the block, and I have so much to learn in this role before I could ever take it globally. However, I’d love to take my park knowledge and skills overseas and learn how larger scale resorts operate with their Terrain Parks especially the resorts that see a lot of internationally recognised riders and host major competitions.

My favourite park of this job is having the ability to be creative whenever we do a re-build of the park and its layout design so it would be a huge opportunity to learn from other Park Groomers and Shapers who are recognised for so doing so around the world.

What’s in store for Hotham terrain park this year?

I’m really hoping that I can help revamp Hotham Parks back into a park that’s on the map, something that gets the people excited. I want people to visit Hotham just to ride the Park. I’d love to focus on building our new park “The playground” to a progression focussed setup, something that Hotham Parks hasn’t been very successful in building in the past.

I will aim to keep pushing for more females to feel inspired and encouraged to enter the Park and give it a go and to make it more of a big fun playground. I’m thinking lots more snow features, big surfy transitions and rail layouts that are fresh to Hotham.

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