Locally-made skis, snow terrain parks, backcountry awareness, winter events.
(page 5 of 7)
Left Chris Logan ducks to avoid the force of the rotorwash while getting towed up to the drop in during the filming of “Eye Trip” on Warm Springs (Photograph: Mark Oliver); Right Tai Barrymore takes advantage of one of the many new features at Sun Valley’s Freestyle Park (Photograph: Tal Roberts).
RAISING (and Riding) THE BAR
Sun Valley makes its mark on the freestyle scene
You know it’s getting serious when they call in Colombo.
Not to be confused with Peter Falk’s famous TV detective, “Columbo,” Pete Colombo is one of the most highly-respected snow terrain park builders in the country. Last winter, Sun Valley brought Colombo to town to help put America’s oldest ski resort on the terrain park map.
“Maybe that area had been overlooked a bit, especially by younger people and families, because people didn’t think Sun Valley had enough park terrain to entice the kids. Well, they do now,” Pete explained.
Pete came to Ketchum as part of the dream team assembled by Snow Park Technologies (SPT) out of Truckee, California. The premier terrain park and event course designer in the world, SPT’s résumé includes the annual X-Games, and their clientele includes snowboarding hot spots like Aspen and Northstar-at-Tahoe.
SPT doesn’t just design snow terrain parks, however, they help train a team to maintain the park for years to come—and to keep it on the cutting edge of the terrain park scene. Brian Callahan, now in his second season as Sun Valley’s Terrain Parks manager, was part of the SPT team.
“Basically, what we were trying to do was put Sun Valley back on the radar,” Brian explained, about a resort that’s gone from having just a few freestyle features to now offering a top-notch terrain park system that boasts dozens of features, from rails and half-pipes to boxes and jumps of all kinds. “And, it’s working.”
According to Callahan, last season Dollar Mountain, which got the majority of the terrain park facelift, showed a significant increase in popularity. He also reports that more home-grown Idaho skiers and boarders, who would normally make treks outside the state in search of world-class terrain parks, were thrilled to get to stay (and spend their time and money) in the Gem State.
“There was a lot of hungry youth in that town that needed something like this. So it was really cool to be able to give the kids there something of really high quality and to see how stoked they were with it,” explained Colombo.
Andy Gilbert, the longtime Snowboard Team manager for Sun Valley, is the man in charge of a lot of that “hungry youth,” and he couldn’t agree more with Colombo.
“The extent of the traveling we used to have to do to find this level of terrain was ridiculous. Now, we can sleep in our own beds and still be able to access (park terrain) quality as good as anything we compete on anywhere,” Andy said, adding, “this has opened up opportunities for our kids to show they’re not just ‘halfpipe jocks,’ as people used to describe them, but they’re as good as anybody. In the next few years you’re going to start seeing a lot of kids from Sun Valley making a name for themselves on the freestyle and slopestyle scenes.”
Pete said he expects Sun Valley to become a serious player in the park terrain landscape as well. And he should know. Pete’s spent most of the last decade helping to keep California’s terrain park meccas, Mammoth and June Mountains, atop the terrain park scene. He’s also “The Man,” as they call him at Smith Optics, who built the gear company’s infamous private terrain park “somewhere” in central Idaho.
“As a destination resort, Sun Valley really has a lot to offer. There’s just a class and style there that you can’t get anywhere else. There’s a great town right there, full of awesome places to eat and lots of really neat people,” Colombo said. “It’s beautiful. There are never any crowds there, and now they have the type of park terrain that will get the kids excited and give the locals some cred.”
While the kids may love the new terrain parks now protruding from the slopes of Sun Valley, older folks will still have plenty of room to enjoy the resort’s unrivaled groomers. After all, the terrain parks that Pete Colombo builds are not for the weak of heart—or old of knees or wrists. Basically, they’re not designed for those old enough to even know who the other Columbo is, let alone repeat one of his classic lines after getting pummeled in the terrain park, “Oh, don’t mind that, that’s just my lunch, that doesn’t mean anything.”
Rail Skier (Brian Callahan): Hillary Maybery
IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN SUN VALLEY
Mark Oliver does it again with the second installment of his video series, “It’s Always Sunny in Sun Valley”. This time featuring local riders like Wyatt and Yancy Caldwell, A.J. Ogden, Josh Keefer, and Olympian Graham Watanabe. Check it out here.
Turn out, tune on, and drop in! Visually stunning, “Eye Trip” is the latest ode to skiing’s counterculture by the crew at Level 1 Productions. Starring pro skiers like Tom Wallisch and Parker White, “Eye Trip” highlights everything from the largest gap jump ever built in Sun Valley, to record snowfalls in Helsinki, Finland, to the epic backcountry of Alaska.