By Greg Culver
Instructor Larry Selph is teaching this little guy how to initiate turns in the HV Riglet Park
Many of us remember pee wee baseball and football growing up as kids. In those sports, mud splattered little ones drag their helmets over the grass after a day of battle on the field. Picturing those miniature humans dressed in tiny gear just makes you smile.
Fast forward to 2015 … and it’s winter. In an effort to keep up with the needs and wants of its youngest customers, ski areas are creating terrain-based environments for their pee-wee sliders.
Holiday Valley is leading the local charge with a custom-built snowy playground for teaching young-uns on boards and skis. The Outpost and Riglet Park offer a variety of features and structures that encourage balance development and muscle memory.
The park offers rollers that give students a fun way to experience fore and aft balance – teaching banked turns that are a blast to ride and teach how to balance the body while the board or skis are angled on edge. Once the rollers have become old hat, there is a mini half-pipe to challenge more advanced maneuvers. There is also a handful of assorted rails, boxes and barrels, all sized for smaller guests.
Park designer and veteran instructor John Galvin had a vision for the area that screams “Come Play!” With his background in theater design, the free-form park design is perfect for kids to explore and learn. “We created a massive adventure area where, as we play effectively, we discover the balance and skills we need,” Galvin said. “This year’s design reminds me of a huge game of Chutes and Ladders,” he added.
Young snowboarders can be outfitted with the latest equipment from Burton in the Creekside Rental Shop. The “Riglet” boards use a built-in cord for pulling little riders over different slopes, turns and child-sized park features. This gives them a great sense of accomplishment while building the physical tools they need to become future shredders. The boards also feature a catch-free camber design that allows them to spend more time on their feet and less time on their butts.
At the Outpost, young two-plankers can be seen learning everything from side stepping to board sliding the mini boxes. The layout is fun and inviting for kids and you can tell it’s a success by all the smiles. Instructors love the kid-specific terrain for safe and entertaining lessons. The progression of slope pitches allows each young skier to get comfortable with sliding down and across the fall line. The entire area is surrounded by snow fencing to create a secure and safe learning area.
Holiday Valley’s dedicated efforts in snowmaking and manpower is a solid investment in the future of snow sports. Stop over and check out the fun and be sure to bring your favorite munchkins. Holiday Valley offers daily lessons and rentals for kids and can be set-up in the Creekside Lodge. Visit www.holidayvalley.com.