Boreal plans to ‘reimagine’ skier, rider experience with new Woodward Mountain Parks
It may be early fall, but Boreal Mountain Resort has already fired up its snowmaking equipment in preparation for the 2019-20 winter season.
The resort began making snow on Monday, testing gear, priming lines, and aiming guns where they need to be for a prompt opening once conditions are ripe.
“We tested everything out and we’re ready to roll anytime the weather cooperates. Everything is lined up right now to where we just need two days of cold weather,” said Matt Peterson, vice president of marketing and brand management for Boreal Mountain Resort.
“We’re a smaller mountain with a sophisticated snowmaking system and we’re uniquely situated at 7,200 to 8,000, so if we did get a cold spurt just even for 48 hours, we could potentially make enough snow to open.”
Long known as a mountain that caters to those that enjoy park riding, including lights to allow for hitting jumps during the night, Boreal plans to up the ante this upcoming season.
POWDR, which operates Boreal, announced the beginning of a Woodward movement across its mountain resorts, which, according to the company, will “reimagine the way snow sports enthusiasts experience on-mountain adventure.”
Other POWDR resorts include Copper Mountain Resort, in Colorado; Killington Resort, in Vermont; Mount Bachelor, in Oregon; and Eldor Mountain Resort in Colorado.
“We are extremely excited to partner around Woodward Mountain Park with world-renowned athletes, including Danny Davis and Red Gerard, who share our deep commitment to inspiring the next generation,” said Chris Gunnarson, SVP youth development for POWDR, in a news release. “The Woodward Mountain Park experiences we are creating will be unlike anything else and will provide engaging, interconnected building blocks for guests to progress, learn, play and grow.”
At Boreal, Peterson said the plan is to take what guests experience inside adjacent Woodward Tahoe, which features ramps into foam pits and other ways for athletes to more safely progress in extreme sports, and move it outside to the mountain for skiing and snowboarding.
“We’re trying to reimagine what it looks like to go skiing or snowboarding up here. We started it last year with Peace Park and local Danny Davis,” said Peterson.
“You can flow through to the bottom, or you can take some pretty exciting lines like Danny and the crew does.”
Olympian Danny Davis opened the Peace Park, which is built for riders of all abilities, last winter.
“There’s going to be jumps, tranny, hips, berms, you name it,” said Davis in a promotional video released by Woodward ahead of last year’s opening.
Last season’s Woodward Peace Park Championships will be featured in ESPN’s World of X show airing on ABC, Nov. 3, at 3 p.m.
As part of roughly $200,000 invested at the resort, the park has been moved to the center of the mountain, which will allow for night riding and skiing. The Peace Park will also have an extended line that goes down and through the woods, ending at Cedar Ridge Triple Chairlift. The park should open around the holiday season.
The resort will also have new lights for night skiing and refurbished rails.
Another improvement at Boreal is an upgrade to its snowmaking abilities. The resort installed a cooling system at its snowmaking pond that brings colder water from the bottom to the top.
“That cools the whole lake,” said Peterson. “That difference of 5 degrees from the bottom to the top can make a world of difference, not only in terms of efficiency from an energy standpoint, but for the amount and the quality of the snow we can make.”
Boreal will also debut its Woodward Start Parks and Progression Parks, which will introduce a new sequential learning process where guests start out at base area learning zones with gradual slopes and friendly features and progress to gradually greater slopes and larger features as they learn and grow.
Youngsters at the Start Parks can start out as slowly as being on foam blocks and balance boards before moving to the snow as part of Boreal’s new terrain-based learning system.
“Beyond just learning skills, which is how a traditional lesson would go, we want to focus more on the experience for the kids,” said Peterson. “We want to make sure they meet new friends, they learned a new trick, and they saw the mountain in a view that they haven’t seen before … I think we’re going to build the next generation of action sports (athlete) up here.
“We’re seeing that behavior is changing with our guests. They are looking for what’s new and what’s next. When I see little kids come to Woodward, they immediately go to the biggest most colorful thing. We’re trying to take that attitude and bring it to the mountain for snow.”
Another new feature for up-and-coming riders and skiers will be a family-friendly banked slalom course.
“Little kids can use it to learn how to turn across a fall line,” said Peterson. “While advanced kids can go fast, take it high on the walls, and pump the tranny.”
The halfpipe has also been tweaked during the summer months, according to Peterson, to make it a little easier for riders to progress in.
In total, Peterson said the changes this season at Boreal are geared toward a company-wide push for young skiers and riders, “to move all the way from first-time snow to going pro.”
As part of the push for the next generation of athletes or those who just want to add to their bag of tricks, the resort will design features on the mountain, which match the trajectory of the jumps into a foam pit and onto a forgiving resi landing inside of Woodward Tahoe.
“It gets people into a zone where they feel more confident to try something, and it’s less of a huck and more of a process,” said Peterson.
Boreal Mountain Resorts projects an opening date around the end of the month or early November, conditions permitting.
“The Woodward Mountain Parks is going to be a shift in the way we look at terrain park riding and terrain-based learning. We’re trying to take the magic of a Woodward summer camp and bring it up to the mountains every day,” said Peterson.
“It’s working with the snow and the environment in an intuitive way. It’s kind of what Woodward does, using innovative programming and innovative environments and slam those things together and watch the magic happen.”
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.