NEW FEATURES AND NEW NORDIC SKILLS PARK
The terrain park crew is continuing to expand jumps and other features to improve accessibility for beginners and experts alike.
The most significant addition to the park scene in Sun Peaks this season was a small, temporary park located along the side of the 5 Mile run. The park had four features and was open in November and December before snowmaking was available to build the Rockstar Energy Terrain Park on Sundance Mountain.
“We didn’t have snowmaking set up on the Sundance at that point in time, but we had the 5 Mile open. Part of the people that come, obviously there’s a percentage of people that come for park, so let’s give them a park if we can,” said Barney Mouat, director of outside operations for Sun Peaks Resort LLP (SPR).
“It’s not an emerging trend anymore, this is part of the culture.”
The new pocket park, as the crew calls it, was a hit and they’re working to install it permanently next season.
“The only unfortunate part was we had to pull it out just because of (groomer) time and we couldn’t maintain it,” said Brad Ardern, the head park builder for SPR. “Everyone was loving it and saying we should keep it there all year, which we’re going to look at doing in the future.”
Another addition for the 2015-16 ski season was a skills park for Nordic skiers. Mimicking a typical ski cross or boarder cross course, the Nordic park is designed to help cross country skiers develop their basic skills for when they are out on the trails.
“The focus was to really challenge people on their Nordic skis and get them better at their edge control as well as the bumps,” Ardern said.
The Nordic course features a start ramp, rollers, a mushroom-like obstacle skiers have to climb over and a return berm.
Rockstar Energy has returned as the main sponsor of the main terrain park and Billabong has offered sponsorship this year with a new rail feature and jackets for the park crew.
The park crew also placed trail counters at the entrances to the two beginner parks to monitor the amount of people utilizing the features, which will make it easier to track the business of the parks.
“I think the proof is in the pudding,” Mouat said. “When the lifts close there will be 20 kids who show up to the platter and there’s no 60 foot jumps (accessible from) the platter.”
Continuing to build a terrain park system that’s safe for beginner riders and skiers to gain experience and skills has been imperative for Ardern during his two seasons in Sun Peaks.
“The main positive things I’m hearing are (there’s) a lot of progression this year and that was what we were trying to aim for from the start, to have a good progression so we can build riders up from beginner all the way through expert,” he said.
However, there is one striking improvement between this season and last. There’s
“Last year was a very challenging year for everyone from the snowmakers all the way through to the groomers and building a park with little snow is always hard,” Ardern said. “We battled through it last year and this year is a breath of fresh air in comparison.”
“We’ve almost got too much snow and the park is getting buried. We’re constantly digging out features, but that’s the way we like it.”