Jump, turn, and slide…
Jump, turn, and slide…snowparks are where avid skiers and snowboarders meet up to practice their manoeuvers on the jumps, halfpipes and rails. And now these spaces are accessible to all levels. At the snowpark, the music is loud and the excitement is intense, whether one is a participant or a spectator. So don’t hesitate, discover the snowpark!
What is a snowpark?
Dating back to the beginning of the 1990’s in the United States – and the explosion of the popularity of snowboarding – snowparks are now found in most ski resorts. Inseparable from freestyle, a discipline which consists, on skis or snowboard, in performing acrobatic figures high above the ground, snowparks group together apparatus designed to launch the skier or boarder into the air. In these snowparks, one can slide over the rails, big air, and try the halfpipe, a snow covered arc from which one jumps into the open air on each end. Far from being reserved to the elite, snowparks are open to everyone, with equipment adapted to all levels.
At the beginning, snowparks were the territory of highly-trained, skilled snowboarders willing to perform the most perilous stunts. Today, they are spaces which can be enjoyed by all, regardless of skill level. Where once only the most fearless soared metres above the ground from jumps created for that purpose, the new generation of snowparks offer more accessible equipment and a layout designed for those with little or no experience. Examples include the Kid’s Parkway at Avoriaz, the Moon Park at Méribel and the Easy Zone at Valloire. The priority for first time users is to progress little by little, without pushing too hard, always equipped with a helmet and protective equipment. In order to progress in complete safety, nothing is better than the freestyle initiations proposed regularly in most snowparks.
For beginners who still hesitate to try the snowpark, don’t forget that many resorts have zones which propose fun, accessible initiations to freestyle.
A show sure to impress
Time to show off your skills! Progress can be very quick, at least for the basicmaneuvers, when one is well advised. Newcomers to freestyle quickly discover the pleasure of the sport - and so do the spectators! For those too shy to enter the snowparks themselves, watching the progress of others is a delight. Seeing a skier flip head over heels, metres above the ground, then land on his feet (making it look easy!) is worth the trip. So if you feel that you have a freestyler inside, or if you love a good show, take the chance and visit the snowpark! Once won’t be enough!
Photographies : Philippe Royer