The highly anticipated Riders’ Rush snow park in Blackfalds officially began service last week, much to the pleasure of owner Sam Kiat.
The park guides riders with a towrope, over jumps, rails or just flat ground all with a managed speed. The inspiration for the park was drawn from wakeboarding competitions, where boarders are guided through an obstacle course by a towrope, allowing them to gain speed. Kiat said this park is the only one of its kind in Alberta, made for use by snowboarders and skiers.
“Basically, it pulls you around and you hit jumps if you want. It’s about 500 feet one- way, and we can control the speed depending on the ability of the rider. If they don’t want to do the jumps, they can go straight down the path. Skiers are welcome as well, and we also offer snow tubing for the really little ones who can’t go on a board or skis,” he said.
His feat began early in 2014 when he brought a proposal to the Town of Blackfalds to bring equipment to the Town and use it for a winter recreation park. The equipment was being used for water sport parks in the Philippines. Kiat said it took several months to get the approval and around June he was ready to start bringing the equipment to Canada.
“We’ve had it set up and have been testing for over a week and so far so good. We’ve got a bunch of friends who have brought their little kids in and we’ve gotten a good response from them, so hopefully the community feels the same way,” Kiat said.
“I’m excited for the response and the support of the community.”
Kiat said there have been a few obstacles in setting up this park. There is nothing like it in Alberta, so getting a construction permit for the park was difficult. He said he had to go through multiple agencies coordinating their efforts in order to bring the park to Blackfalds.
“The challenges have mostly been trying to get things started with the power to get this set up and running. It’s a big process to get it all done and get it all in place. Aside from that, there weren’t many major setbacks other than the snow coming a little bit later and getting a construction permit,” he said.
Those wishing to hit the park must call and reserve a time to ride, as the park only offers a few spots at a time. Kiat added it becomes almost like having a private session. Check out www.ridersrush.com for more information.
“For people that want to learn how to ski, they don’t have to be afraid of the hill here. We can control the speed, so if they’re beginners and are afraid of taking a chance on a hill, we can pull them as slow as possible and get them used to it,” Kiat said.
Helmets are mandatory for all riders. Skiers and snowboarders must bring their own gear, but tubes are provided for snow tubing sessions.