Powder likely to keep jibbers heading west
VAIL ” The snow is deep and Kyle Ogilvie passes the new Front Range terrain parks on the drive from Colorado State University, opting instead for the for the expanse of Vail.
Why’s the college student set on going to the big resort rather than one of two new terrain-specific parks popping up across the Divide?
“If the snow’s good here, I’ll come here,” Ogilvie said, checking out the approach to the Bwana terrain park at Vail. “If not, I’d rather hit the terrain park. But it’d be worth the extra drive for sweet snow.”
The two parks near Idaho Springs ” Echo Mountain and the former St. Mary’s Glacier ski area ” should open soon and, according to reports, plan to offer rails, kickers and halfpipes catering to a teen and twenty-something crowd.
Officials from the two parks could not be reached for comment.
Closer to home, Vail boasts four terrain parks spread across the mountain while Beaver Creek caters to jibbers with three feature-filled playgrounds.
The construction of the new parks poses little, if any, competition for the larger ski areas like Vail and Beaver Creek, officials at those resorts said.
“We’re primarily destination-based and the people who come here come for a variety of things,” Vail spokeswoman Jen Brown said.
Similarly, Beaver Creek spokeswoman Christina Schleicher said Beaver Creek Mountain offers a difference experience than the Front Range terrain parks. But the possibility of skiing and snowboarding growing as a result of the new terrain park only areas intrigues Schleicher.
“I think it’ll be a neat addition to the sport,” Schleicher said. “There’ll be more and more people interested in the terrain parks. Because parks are becoming so popular it will be a good way to get more people out.”
Early reports show the new parks could be about half the price of a lift ticket at Vail and Beaver Creek, which could be a boon for cost-conscious riders. Snowboarder David Turner said people would be drawn to the parks “especially if it didn’t cost $81 to go.”
Michael Berry ” president of the National Ski Areas Association ” agreed, saying affordability and proximity to the Denver area could draw potential skiers and snowboarders, especially those who might not break into the sport at the more expensive and expansive resorts.
“A kid on the Front Range may introduce it to his friend at a place a little more affordable and less intimidating” and move onto the larger resorts, Berry said.
The terrain parks cater to specific needs, but Berry said he doesn’t see the jibs competing with the resorts.
“The role I see them playing is for people looking for terrain parks closer to town and on school nights, and people that might not be able to make it to Eagle County or Summit County,” Berry said.
Berry and his family live close to the new sites, and even his son plans to get out to the rails each day after school.
“He’s got it all figured out,” Berry said. “I’m not sure he cleared it with his mom and I.”
Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or firstname.lastname@example.org.