RIP SPNZ

Now that it’s mid-summer and I’ve been suffering through some unbearably hot weather for about two months now, I often find myself drifting into daydreams about how much fun I would be having if I were skiing. After all, this time last year I was in New Zealand, rolling around in the snow at Snow Park and eating the classic New Zealand dish of potato wedges with sweet chilli sauce and sour cream without a care in the world.

Little did I know though, that summer was to be the last winter Snow Park would be open as a freestyle resort. EVER.

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                                                               The place of Dreams (Photo taken from http://www.snowparknz.com)

Well, ok, maybe there were a few hints, like the lease running out on the land, and then there were all those rumours that it was going to close… But it’s still a shame. Despite the frequently unfixable ski and snowboard tracks in the disintegrating take offs and equally unfixable bumholes in all the landings, I found myself missing it all a bit when confronted with the rubbish selection of jib features in Avoriaz this winter.

Snow Park was the first resort in the world that was entirely dedicated to freestyle, which is maybe part of the reason that it’s ended up in the ski resort recycle bin. Because why would you want to just ride park when you could ride park, and have the full area of the resort to play with as well? Especially when said park’s resources are worn thin by huge volume of people riding it with nowhere else to go, do I see a vicious circle emerging…?

But anyway, I’m not going to focus on the negatives, as I so usually do, because I have some awesome memories of Snow Park, including coming not quite last in the New Zealand Freeski Open, knuckling the biggest jump I’ve ever hit in my life, forward rolling down a rail… and so on and so forth. Not to mention all the awesome friends I made, and all the amazing riding I got to see. The good thing about it being such a small resort was that everyone knew everyone, and it was totally ok to go into the restaurant to put your boots on, not buy anything and leave your stuff in there all day. And it was pretty much guaranteed that no one would steal it either. I know a few places where that is definitely not acceptable (ahem, France).

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                                                       First attempt at a quite big stairset (GoPro still from Sam McMahon)

Maybe if I was in New Zealand this winter, I wouldn’t be giving all of this a second thought, especially since Snow Park’s neighbouring resort, Cardrona, has a sweet park and a harder snowpack. Or maybe I would, who knows.  But it just seems so sad that a year later, after Snow Park’s original owner saying it was going to stay open, then going on to say that it would stay open but not to the public, then going on to sell it to the owners of a driving testing facility, it’s now going to be used for ice driving and maybe some ski race training. After being host to so many competitions, training camps and legendary riders, I think it deserves better. But there you go.

I guess I’ll just have to hold on to those happy memories.

See you later Snow Park, you’ll be missed.

By me.

For more info on what’s happening to Snow Park read Paul Taylor’s article at http://www.snow.co.nz/news/2013/7/3349-snow-park-nz-closed-public-good

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