Waterville Valley's Little Slammer Is For the Pint-Sized Set
vividly remember the first time we saw Waterville Valley's Boneyard. We were
just sliding along - Dad was skiing, Dan was riding - when suddenly there was
all this junk in the trail. I mean junk. Somebody had even left part of a school
bus over there with the roof sticking out of the snow.
"Whoa!" said the kid, who
was about age eleven then and still new to his board. "Whassup with this?"
What was up was the gnarliest,
coolest terrain park in captivity. Only they didn't call them terrain parks then.
They called them snowboard parks. Because only snowboarders would go in them.
And, they created obstacles from manmade objects like that bus instead of building
large snow hits the way they do now. But, this was definitely the most incredible
park we'd ever seen.
So incredible that Dan
wouldn't go in. Too intimidating for a his size and ability.
Well, Dan's way past that
now. A young adult who rips big air whenever he wants, and works on 360 tail grabs
and other stuff with strange names. But, there's a whole 'nother generation of
little riders coming up, and places like the Boneyard (which remains one of the
East's most radical parks, although with a lot less junkyard inside), are still
too much for them.
Enter Waterville's Little
Slammer. A park created just for the smaller set who want a place to get that
first air, a place to work up to the big stuff in a habitat inhabited by others
of their ilk.
Makes sense, doesn't it?
I mean, kids start out playing baseball on little league fields. They shoot hoops
at seven-foot-high baskets. Why shouldn't they have scaled-down elements to play
You find Little Slammer
between Valley Run and lower Exhibition, and it's got it all - a halfpipe, mini-jumps,
rollers, berms and tabletops. And, with everything being kid-sized, the little
guys suffer no intimidation, and parents don't worry that their small ones will
get bashed by a large person.
Waterville hasn't stopped there. On novice terrain, they've created "Smart-Terrain,"
snow features that have been sculpted to serve as teaching aids. They use gentle
banks and rolls to help initiate turning and develop technique. I know of at least
one rider-wannabe Dad who could have used that kind of help when he first put
himself on a board.
And, what if you're not
on a board but you want to play in the park, too? There's Exhibition Park for
skiers and riders. It is major. They've built a pipe in there they call "The Wicked
Ditch of the East." Largest halfpipe in New Hampshire. How cool is that? Very
cool, according to the young adult children who today populate this family. Toss
in jumps, tabletops, rails, hips, trannies, and launchers of every imaginable
shape and size, and you've got something special going.
to kids and snowboarding is not new. It's had time to percolate, develop and be
refined. And, maybe that's why their facilities and programs take a back seat
to no one. Now, if I could only figure out how to stay upright in a toe-side turn,
maybe I'd challenge one of those parks with a board.
For more info on Waterville kid's programs click here.
Visit their snowboard