Red Bull and Squaw Valley have teamed up to create a private training facility for the exclusive use of Red Bull's elite international team of skiers and snowboarders. The combination of the world's best park and pipe riders and a park designed for taking it to the next level could lead to some new trick invention. In fact, it already has: Over the weekend, snowboarder Sebastien Toutant landed the second-ever backside triple cork 1440 at Squaw's private park.
So far, skiers Bobby Brown, Simon Dumont and Kaya Turski are expected to be using the park over the next two weeks, as well as snowboarders Mark McMorris, Pat Moore, and Toutant. Other athletes are still juggling their schedules, but it's expected that several additional heavy-hitting pros and some development athletes will also show up.
"The primary purpose of the facility is for athlete performance development," said a Red Bull spokesperson who asked not to be named.
The park has the "highest quality halfpipe and slopestyle course as well as multiple airbags, an on-site video review process, and professional coaching to help each rider work on new tricks and progress their abilities to new levels," Squaw Valley's Amelia Richmond told ESPN.
The park was recently built under Mainline Pocket, between Squaw's Gold Coast and Siberia chairlifts. Three snowcats ran non-stop, strip-mining the snow and pushing it into massive piles. Luckily, Squaw is on the tail end of the snowiest winter in recorded history, with 700 inches of snowfall this year, so there is a nearly unlimited supply of snow for the cats to push into the features.
Red Bull enlisted the services of Truckee, Calif.- based Snow Park Technologies, which builds the Winter X and Dew Tour courses, to build this one-of-a-kind playground. The four-hit 22-foot competition-height superpipe was sculpted by SPT's Frank Wells and custom features may also be designed for filming throughout the project.
Once Red Bull and their athletes are done using this training facility, Squaw will open the halfpipe, which will be the only 22-foot pipe in the Tahoe area, for the public to use.