If you didn’t already know, Today’s Parks is a company that specializes in building snowboard parks and to be honest, these guys are truly the best at what they do. Just take the latest Empire Games courses for example. Can’t deny how insane and creatively next level these were. That’s what brought us to this question: What’s the process behind the creation of a great snowpark?
We contacted Guillaume Fournier, one of Today’s Parks founders, to dig into the snowpark world and let us tell you one thing: building a snowboard park is a straight work of art! Keep scrolling to see how the masters do it.
Hi Guillaume, what’s up?
Things are good! Glad we’re done with the Empire Games! Super stoked on the overall success of the event this year. We still have a few projects to take care of, then on to 2021!
What’s the first step to get started on the design of a park?
Before everything else, the first and most important step is to know the budget we work with. Then we need to establish a plan for the machinery, in particular snow groomers and shovels. We must know what equipment the ski resort will have for us in order to be able to estimate our possibilities. We are able to build pretty much anything with snow, but it’s impossible to know what we can build until we see what equipment we have to build it.
Do you guys have to go evaluate the terrain beforehand?
Yes. Once we know what we are working with in terms of money and equipment, we go to the ski stations and start to do land surveys. We have a partnership with Leica GPS, they provide us with the best technology to survey land with impressive precision. Usually, we start surveying for the following Winter during the Spring.
Are you guys ahead or is that the norm?
I would say it’s mostly due to the fact that Spring is the best time to survey land because there are no leaves in the trees yet, making our task much easier.
Why is surveying land that important in the process? We do it to collect geographic coordinates which will then be used for mapping the 3D design of the park.
Can you give more details about the 3D design?
We basically enter the coordinates collected during the land survey in our 3D modelling programs and we start the creation of the obstacles according to that map. As I mentioned earlier, our GPS devices allow us to have ultra-precise coordinates. We can then do an extremely elaborated 3D plan and have an excellent idea of what our park will look like.
Is this the last step before moving on to the actual building?
It depends on the project. Some ski resorts ask us to pre-build the base of our obstacles with soil before the Winter. Snow is very expensive, especially when you need a lot of it like us, so some mountains prefer to have an earth base under their obstacles rather than an obstacle made from 100% snow. Soil jobs are always done in advance, ideally during the Summer.
Is there a difference between a snow and earth base obstacle?
To be honest, it's the same thing. As long as the riding surface is well done, the obstacle will be functional. It really depends on the needs and budgets of the ski resorts.
Then what? Wait for the Winter?
Apart from everything related to project management, these are the last stages of creation before going to ski stations to start building. At that point, everything comes together. We go to stations with our team, our machines and our accessories, we create the obstacles frames from the ground up, we give them definition and we literally end with a knife for the touch ups.
Knife sharp precision! Can you give us more details about the steps to follow to give "definition" to an obstacle?
Lots of chain saw! Just kidding! First, we assemble the rough of the obstacles and make sure that the riding surface is smooth and perfect. Then, we pull ropes on the surface of the obstacles to draw perfect lines on them and we start to give shape to the rough blocs with a chain saw, which allows to make perfect cuts through ice and the snow. Once the obstacle has been cut with a saw, we level the whole thing with the groomer and we finish by cutting what remains with precision using our knives, commonly called "Vert Shovels". Basically, this is how you get to the finished product.
In any case, the results are always amazing! How does 2021 look for Today’s Parks?
We're already fully booked for next year and it looks a lot like this year's schedule. We are already talking about the next Empire Games! The only difference will be our experience and the quality of our product, which keeps on improving year after year.
Can’t wait to see what you guys got for us in 2021!