Right at this very moment I am sad and annoyed, and disappointed and frustrated…why? Well I’ve just read this article (Air time: The brand new ski camp where ‘progression is inevitable’) which just dropped into my email inbox as part of my addiction to Google Alerts on “Snowflex“. In essence there’s a a Summer Camp in Copper Mountain, USA that has a barn in which they’ve put 2 Snowflex slopes, 1 for sessioning rails and one which is for kicker (jump) practice, complete with foam pit! They’re even planning a diving board style launch for practicing cliff drops off.
Having trained as a gymnast in my younger days, I used foam pits for training and know they are beneficial, I also know the benefits of Snowflex, as especially this year it has really helped me progress in kicker riding, so much so that this October I went off my biggest jump ever, the Snowflex kicker in Noeux Les Mines, France. What I don’t understand is why the UK, the place where Snowflex was born, designed and developed in Yorkshire can’t understand that we need sites like this over here. I know the Snowflex guys go a grand job of promoting their product but they seem to be faced with so many negative thoughts that although we have some really great Snowflex slopes in the UK there aren’t any near where I live (technically my closest Snowflex slope is in France) and no one will invest in something like this. I know that there are plenty of freestyle skiers and snowboarders that would love to have something like this on their doorstep, or even within travelling distance but the investors and people running the slopes are so hung up on indoor snow that they can’t see that this would bring them in a whole new client base.
To me the ideal location for this would be the old Wycombe Dry Slope (owned by the people who own/run Tamworth Snowdome), this burnt down a few years ago and apparently they’ll be turning into snow shortly (a 100m ish indoor slope), although they will be keeping the 300m outdoor dendix slope to keep the skiers happy. The way I see it though is that the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead is due to open in April 2009 and it’s less than 30 miles away. I don’t think that there are enough people, with enough cash to keep 2 indoor snow locations that close together open.
So why not turn a tiny bit of Wycombe slope into a Snowflex freestyle zone. People would come more regularly as inevitably it’d be cheaper and it would give the perfect training ground for the youngsters of the South to prove that they too can snowboard as well as the Northern guys that have a wealth of Snowflex slopes on their doorsteps. For those of us that can’t get away for seasons because we’re too old and have proper jobs or are too young and are stuck in school this could be what turns us into a real prospect in snowboarding. Add to this the fact that as yet the Snow Centre haven’t mentioned freestyle skiing or snowboarding on any of their newsletters and you could be filling a very big gap in the market.
So please, someone out there must have the cash and the foresight to give this a go!