Kingvale Terrain Project: Fantasy turned reality
Pulling off I-80 onto the Kingvale exit Tuesday, I didn’t know what to expect of the new Kingvale Terrain Project. Could the dense woods behind a sleepy gas station seriously host a cutting-edge terrain park resort? Wasn’t the same hill a benign tubing run as of two days previous?
Breaking through the forested entrance of the resort, my skepticism dropped with my jaw. I was blown away. The moderate slope was strategically littered to beyond the horizon with amazing park features! One look at the cast of steezy riders getting ready and it was further confirmed. The Kingvale Terrain Project would be a new Tahoe snowboarding mecca. The resort reeked of fun.
The Kingvale Terrain Project is a fantasy turned reality for five snowboarding partners. The project began three years ago as the brainchild of terrain park builders Jay Rydd and Day Franzen. With 15 years of resort experience building park features, and a thriving manufacturing business called Railbuilders.com, Rydd and Franzen sought their dream of calling all the shots and owning their own park operation. By purchasing and taking over the Kingvale tubing area, the seed was planted for what was to become the Kingvale Terrain Project.
“Anyone who works for a resort building parks dreams of designing your own,” Rydd said. “Here at Kingvale we build exactly want we want. There are no resort rules we have to follow.”
Officially open to the public as of Monday, the resort offers snowboarders 80 acres of advanced intermediate terrain park features, including rails, boxes, water tanks and jumps of every description. The tubing operation will still run on weekends and holidays, and the terrain park is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Though the only lift access is a 450-foot ropetow, the terrain does not end at the top of the lift. There is another 500 feet of jumps and hips that are hikeable above the ropetow. From anywhere at the resort you can end your run right at the ropetow and head back up without unbuckling. It’s everything a park rider needs, opening day riders agreed.
“After riding here yesterday I suddenly took a ‘vacation’ from work to ride here for a few more days,” said Elliot from Rocklin.
The park features are designed to maximize the potential of the slope by creating tons of interconnecting lines, similar to a skatepark. But unlike a concrete skatepark, nothing is set in stone. Nearly the entire park will be redesigned each Sunday night after tubing operations are closed.
“We envision the terrain as a giant skatepark that changes weekly,” Franzen said. “It will always be skate style, really jibby, transitions everywhere.”
Spinning a few laps myself, I found the progressive hits and trannies to be perfect sized for both warming up and throwing down. Every hit was also immaculately maintained, something for which the resort wants to be known.
“Our first priority is to always have a perfect park,” Rydd said. “A big part of why we’re doing this is because we want to be able to maintain every feature everyday.”
As spectacular and professional as it is simple and grassroots, the Kingvale Terrain Project has an undoubtedly bright future. With a laid-back, rider-driven atmosphere and plans for new T-Bar lift that will access 600 vertical feet of new terrain next season, they seem to have their recipe for success dialed in.
Just ask Truckee pro and Kingvale partner Shawn Durst.
“Anyone who comes out now is helping support the progression of this project,” Durst said between laps in the park. “This is just the beginning.”
For more information about the Kingvale Terrain Project, call 426-1941 or e-mail email@example.com.
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