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words and photos: Jay Rosenbaum
It came to my attention in September that USSA was planning a big air event in the legendary Fenway Park in Boston. This Grand Prix/FIS World Cup event was to come to New England following a year of unprecedented snow that blanketed Boston deep in white. So, so many crews traveled to Boston to film last year, it almost seemed natural that a major ever should be held there. However Mother Nature decided that the east coast was spoiled after two good snow years and it was once again time for a snow drought.
That being said, there is another expression, “that the show must go on.” And when you are planning things not only months but years in advance you charge through no matter the conditions. Which brings us to show time! Although Boston did have some snow, the sustained warmer-than-average temperatures were not at all cooperative to perform such a herculean task. HKD snowmaking was enlisted to help out with the snow for the event with the help of Killington resort snowmakers. With two clear leaders in snowmaking on the job, nothing could go wrong, right?
Fan guns and hoses all set up and ready, sat idle for much of the time as temperatures simply wouldn’t allow modern man’s technology to overcome Mother Nature’s peskiness. Since it’s always good to have a plan B (and plan c and d for that matter,) 300 tons of crushed cocktail were brought in dump truck at a time, with another 400 ton in reserve if need be. A ¾ layer of ice was laid down with very high hopes of a frosting layer of snowmaking for the top riding surface. Crane load after crane load of ice was placed onto the massive steel framed structure that towered over the once seemingly huge Green Monster. Standing at 140’ tall the ramp was compressed to fit inside the stadium, which had a smaller footprint than the average scaffolding structure big air ramp. With an impressive set of numbers measuring in at 38 degrees on the in-run, a 32 degree takeoff and a 38 degree landing, this was not your average big air jump. While although the gap to the breakover was only 47’ and the sweetspot around 60’ this was still a massive and intimidating jump. With the backdrop of the takeoff the Fenway Park sign, this was a sight to be seen.
Not being a baseball fan per say, there was something magical about the being in this historic stadium. Memorabilia hangs from about every corner of the place and the whole atmosphere let you know that something amazing was about to go down. As the actual event date creeped closer and closer, the temperatures finally came down enough for the snowmakers to do their thing and give the ramp its much needed top dressing. Once again, the massive crane which looked small in comparison the ramp itself, did its job and brought all the creamy goodness to the top of the structure to prep the ramp for showtime.
Practice day saw a mild and sunny day to allow the riders to get a feel of the jump and dial in their trick. While it took some a few runs to figure out the ramp, the ramp took others out altogether. Just standing atop the drop in was intimidating, let alone sending it full speed towards the jump itself, but that’s why they are pros, right?!? With a prize purse of $75,000 the crowd knew they were going to get a show. And that they did.
On Thursday February 11th the Polartech Big Air at Fenway went off on schedule and provided everything Everyone had hoped for. With a packed house the riders pulled out all the stops and flipped and spun every direction to hit the proverbial homerun and walk away with a huge check and Louisville slugger baseball bats as trophies. After the ceremonial singing of Neil Diamonds Sweet Caroline at the 7th inning stretch results ended up being new England local Chas Guldemond in third, Mikey Ciccarelli in second and dominating Max Parrot in first place. For the ladies it was Brooke Voigt 3rd, Jenna Blasman 2nd and new England local Julia Mariano in first place.
When all was said and done, the Fenway franks digested and the beers drank, snowboarding came to Bean town and left its mark. Fenway will never be the same for me, and that’s all for the better…