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  • NORTHSTAR-AT-TAHOE AND BURTON SNOWBOARDS TEAM UP TO PIONEER FIRST PROGRESSION PARK ON THE WEST COAST

    Family & Kids Terrain Make Learning Easy

    Photo courtesy Northstar-at-Tahoe After being ranked among the top ten resorts in all three categories of terrain parks and halfpipes by Transworld Snowboarding, it is no surprise that Northstar-at-Tahoe was selected to be the West Coast home of the first-ever Burton Progression Park, which debuted this December.

    Featuring smaller versions of freestyle terrain features, gentle landings and plenty of elbow room, these groundbreaking parks provide a laid-back, non-intimidating environment for riders of all ages who want to develop their terrain park skills. The Progression Park concept is a collaborative effort between the Burton Resort Team, Booth Creek Ski Holdings and Snow Park Technologies (SPT) led by Chris (Gunny) Gunnarson. SPT is recognized as the industry leader in park and pipe design and has created courses for ESPN's Winter X Games, Burton's U.S. Open, Vans Tahoe Cup, the World Championships of Snowboarding and all Booth Creek Resorts.

    "The inception of the Progression Park and its related teaching and rental programs are perfect for Northstar," said Chris Gunnarson. "There are so many people of all ages who want to learn to hit a jump or slide a rail and the Progression Park is the ideal place to learn. Burton has been a fantastic partner on this project and continues to impress me with their passion for progressing the sport of snowboarding."

    The Burton Progression Parks are designed to attract entry-level park riders and to be used as a tool for Northstar's coaches and ski/snowboard instructors to incorporate freestyle terrain into their teaching programs. Northstar's snowboard school uses the park in second, third and more advanced lessons to those who choose to try the freestyle terrain. The park is open to the general public as well.

    The Progression Park goes hand-in-hand with Northstar's Burton Learn-to-Ride Center which specializes in accelerating the learning curve for snowboarding using two concepts: beginner specific equipment and small class sizes. All beginner snowboarders in the program are taught on Burton's Cruzer boards, which feature a three degree beveled edge to minimize falls caused by catching an edge on the snow. The concept behind the Burton Progression Park is that by offering the right environment, riders will be encouraged to take a series of lessons and continue to progress in the sport.

    "As the founder of the world's premier snowboarding contest series, the Open Snowboarding Championships, Burton has always helped to define and progress freestyle snowboarding," says Jeff Boliba, Global Resort Director. "But progressing the sport isn't just about supporting the pros. It's also about breaking down the barriers for beginners, helping them feel at ease and able to develop their own individual styles."

    Northstar's Burton Progression Park is located on Sidewinder, off the Vista chairlift, and features six small jumps, boxes and rails, with some features located mere inches from the ground. The features are designed so that they become slightly more difficult as riders work their way down the park, which allows the rider to learn and progress at their own pace. The beauty of the Burton Progression Park is that it was designed to allow plenty of room down the sides of the run for people to cruise and check out the features, without having to ride them.

    A "Stop & Drop Zone" is located before each feature, to allow a group lesson to stop, check out the feature and discuss the proper method of riding the feature. Signage in each zone offers guidance with a "trick tip," a picture of a pro rider hitting the feature and a Smart Style message- the National Ski Areas Association's terrain park responsibility code that encourages people to ride parks with safety and style. The Progression Park is different from most park runs, where riders hit features repeatedly without really slowing down. To ensure that riders remain in control, each Stop & Drop Zone will be fenced in, encouraging each rider or lesson group to slow down before approaching each new feature.

    Northstar's sister resort, Loon Mountain, was selected as the only East Cost Resort to boast a Burton Progression Park. Burton Snowboards selected Loon and Northstar as the first natural homes for the Burton Progression Parks based on their dedication to the freestyle snowboarding scene.

    To preview the Burton Progression Park layout, riders can visit: northstarattahoe.com . Ollie in!

    Archived articles relating to Terrain Parks:

    • Terrain Park Guide

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