Air+Style Show to Feature Six Story Snowboarding Ramp

The art, sports, and music festival's enormous ramp faces unique challenges

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 | 10:00 pm

air+style photo 1Sunny Pasadena will have a jaw-dropping snowboarding ramp soon. Exciting, right? Construction started this past Monday, February 8th, and we got Chris Castaneda, director of operations for Snow Park Technologies, to talk more about this ramp that will be used for Air + Style, a two-day action sports competition for snowboarders and freeskiers.

“The top of the dropping area is 150 feet tall,” began Castaneda. “The riders and athletes will get up there through an elevator to the top, strap and drop into the transition that goes down to where their take off is, and then they travel over to where their landings are, and then just have a nice run out and exit on the way out.”

The ramp is being constructed out of metal scaffolding, creating a base that will later be filled with a huge amount of snow.

For such a tall structure, you’ve got to wonder where they’re going to get all that snow.

Castaneda explains that Arctic Glacier, producer of high quality packaged ice, will provide all the snow.

“We’re going to have roughly around 700 tons of snow for the structure, and then we’re going to be making snow with three different snow making machines on the ground,” said Castaneda. There will be two different cranes filling up buckets with snow, and these cranes will then take the buckets to the top of the structure and drop the snow in to place.

Crew members from Big Bear Mountain Ski Resorts and Snow Park Technologies are tasked to shape all the snow.

This process poses another challenge: how to keep the snow intact despite the usually sunny Pasadena weather.

“It’s going to be 80 degrees. It’s going to be melting fast. So we will start with 15 inches of snow over the entire surface. By Friday night, we need to do top it off with eight inches of snow,” explained Castaneda. “So we’re bringing the crane back [and adding] another eight inches for the Saturday event. After the event we’ll do another top-off of maybe four inches.”

As a safety precaution, there is a weather contingency program. “We’re making an additional one-foot of snow. It’s actually chipped like ice blocks,” Castaneda said. “So there is a stock pile of ice ready to go if we need a lot more.”

Castaneda is no stranger to masterminding the creation of such infrastructures and holding sports events. “I’ve been working with Snow Park Technologies for probably six years now, and through the time I’ve been working with them, I’ve done multiple events from the US Open to the X Games. On top of that, my history comes being a park manager at North Star Ski Resort. I managed the park there for six years and prior to that I grew up in Big Bear,” he said.

However, Castaneda knows this particular snowboarding-ramp building gig is a lot more challenging, primarily because of the weather.

“Usually, we’re building out in the ski resort and we have as much snow as necessary around in the area. It’s not like it’s just going to melt. So just maintaining the depth is what we need to focus on to make sure it’s going to be a proper event,” he said.

“There’s no question: this will be a first,” says Daryl Dunn, the Rose Bowl’s General Manager.
Despite the challenge, he and the Snow Park Technologies team seem unfazed. “If they can do hockey at Dodger’s stadium, they can do snow boarding and skiing at the Rose Bowl!”

To buy ticket, click here.

The Rose Bowl is located at 1001 Rose Bowl Dr., Pasadena.

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