11/25/09

Why Not? by Sabrina Wille Erickson


I've known for a while now that I prefer the monotony of my office chair to the exhilaration of flying down a snowy hill. I've accepted my complete lack of yearning for adventure. In contrast to my static energy, I've noticed that other people - the younger generation especially - are much more apt to fling themselves through the air than I am. My own teenagers crave the experience, in fact. So it seemed a no-brainer to me that the best way to commemorate BV's 60th Anniversary would be to open up a new and improved Terrain Park.
Surprisingly, snapping my fingers didn't build me a park. And the forecast for such a change was rather bleak at first. Being completely ignorant of all things snowmaking, I asked the dumb question: "Why Not?" And once again I learned that there is more to running a ski hill than meets the eye.
The obvious location for a new Park was the East Face (Formerly known as the Backside. Try marketing THAT!) The...say it with me now..."East Face" has this gloriously wide, gentle slope that just screams TERRAIN PARK! Everyone at BV has known this for years. So WHY didn't the move happen a long time ago?
The right moment...the right PEOPLE...that's what it takes.
Quite by accident I had a conversation with Jack Deleo from No Comply Sports & Apparel early this fall, and I discovered he has a passion for our little ski hill. More specifically, he has a passion for terrain features. After relaying the conversation to our Outdoor Manager and Snowmaker Extraordinaire, John Dickinson, we decided the big move was theoretically possible. But several obstacles needed to be overcome first. John got Suzanne Thomas (BV Owner) on board...Kirby Harmon gave us Ski Patrol insight, and Jack did an informal poll of his customers. We didn't know it at the time, but a small group of key people were starting to form a terrain park team.
Let there be LIGHT.
One of the major shortcomings of the East Face is that it has never had the lighting to support a major feature like a park. Don Thomas and John fixed that problem recently by trenching in a new electrical line and installing a light pole. Warm weather is good for some things.
Smile for the CAMERA.
Jack said that the parents he had talked to wanted to be able to see the cool tricks their kids were doing. One used to have to stand at the bottom of the hill and look upward to see terrain park events. Wasn't that cold? Did parents hoot and holler when their offspring did something fantastic? Did this embarrass the offspring? I'll probably never know the answers to these questions as I stick to the Chalet where it's warm.
Perhaps the new web cam, piping fresh images to a screen, will benefit both ends of the spectrum: Blaze like a comet through the atmosphere and keep the relatives at a distance. Mike Huerbin and John are busy investigating weather-proof cameras to install on one of the towers. The aim is to give folks in the Chalet a bird's eye view of the fun happening in the park. And eventually, this footage will be online for even Grandma in St. Paul to see.
Let's not forget SAFETY.
Our fine hill tends to block communication transmissions. That's why you see people trekking to the far side of the Bunny Hill or standing on tiptoe by the entrance gate on Irvine Avenue. Cell phones and radios don't always cooperate out here, especially if one person is on the East Face and the other is on the West Face. A fancy, technical thing called a repeater is required to transmit across the ridge...or an extra person needs to stand on top of the hill. Guess which one we are hoping to install soon?
And even though no one wants to think about getting hurt, what if someone does get hurt? The Buena Vista Ski Patrol is committed to providing the best immediate care possible. They are mighty, indeed; but I doubt any of them could ski up and over the ridge while pulling a sled. Maybe I should be more diplomatic...let's just say I doubt any of them would want to. Currently, plans are in the works to have a designated snowmobile available to the East Face at all times.
Now you have a glimpse of the hurdles my little question unearthed. I ardently admire the enthusiasm and dedication the Terrain Park Team has brought to this endeavor. So what are you going to notice when you get here and head on up the hill? At least 5 new features and a completely new vibe...a park that has been designed for cool stunts by people that like to do cool stunts. I'm keeping my own feet on solid ground, but to the rest of you..."enjoy the air!"

2 comments:

atc.burt said...

When will we be able to see pictures of the new terrain park?

Buena Vista said...

Hi atc.burt,

I'll post photos of the boxes and rails and such as soon as they get on site. Some of them are still being welded, etc.

Then of course, we'll have to make the snow to set them in if Mother Nature doesn't lend us a hand.

John D. is planning to place snow guns on the hills a little differently this year in hopes of getting the terrain park open asap.

I'll post again soon off the notes the Terrain Park Guys left me from their meeting Tuesday. Jack Deleo, Billy Smith, Matt Bomstad, and John Dickinson are the main designers. Since three out of four of them are park fanatics, it should be the best we've ever had...with the intention that we will invest more and more every year.

Thanks for your comment!
Sabrina Wille Erickson