Saturday, January 11th marked the grand re-opening of the newly designed snowboard dreamscape that is currently engulfing the mind of every shred in the state. Cannonsburg, who is already known for being a terrain park powerhouse, has not only raised the bar on what is considered a sick park but went ahead and threw that fucking bar into space with this new park. I mean, maybe I’m just easy to impress, but this portion of Cburg’s facility truly is a god damn marvel. Despite early morning rain showers, a rather sizeable amount of snowboarders and skiers showed up to be some of the first to lay siege to this behemoth setup.
One of the courses most endearing traits is that despite the sheer enormity of the wall and the visually overwhelming quality of the features it remains entirely fun and mostly safe. Don’t get me wrong though… you could totally get broke off, so it may be a good idea to warm up in one of the other four parks, but generally speaking you won’t die or anything.
The course is laid out as such…you obviously start at the top of the course. The first feature is, I don’t know something like a…yeah, I don’t know, but here is a picture and you have the option to hit either side or ollie to flat. Clearly one side is a rail and the other a box. Fun as shit!
Then you roll into the wall area. The possibilities here are extensive with the obvious choices being kicker to wall, ollie over closeout to flat, rail down stairs, gap stairs, rail against wall and finally hit that flat rail to big drop. Of course there are tons of other possibilities, but those are the “ no shit” ideas… you’re welcome!
The third area’s main idea is to hit the kicker to power box and then quickly pop over the fence. In pictures this looks inviting. In person it looks like your buddy calling your mom from his cell phone to tell her you’re on the way to express care. The other ideas are to hit rail and gap stairs or what have you.
Then surrounding the areas you have an extremely life like Monster can feature that you can’t help but notice is fucking perfectly painted. No really, it’s impressive. You also have a cone feature, a closeout rail feature, and a military-styled gate rail that bounces when you hit it. Bounces when you hit it…. ya know 😉
So with these amazing features before them a horde of riders, who by this time were foaming at the mouth, gathered at the top and awaited the opening of the gate. Park manager /designer Marc Moline awaited them there. Marc said a few words, shed a tear, stoked the kids out then quickly opened the gate and let everyone loose. The group that stood at the top of the hill nearly vanished and as they went on to explore what I consider, a snowboarding Disneyland. The event ran well and was pretty laid back. We had our opinions on who was killing it, but most noticeably Mark Reinhardt on the wall feature beat everyone’s high score by about 2 feet. The Erickson brothers (Avery and Evan) were on fire! Sam Ralston was kickin’ names and taking ass! Of course you had Harrison Mcilhargey and Sam Schowalter beating the course up. Every once in a while you would see Drew Nelson bust through real quick with effortless style. Honestly though everyone was riding good and having a killer time. Words can’t really do this park justice, so we recommend you check out this edit by Marc Moline for the big picture.
I hit Marc off with a few questions on what it takes to get something like this together. Some of these questions will lead into a piece we have brewing for next week’s site update. Read and take notes. Marc is a nice guy and has put together a great staff. Marc, along with an apparently very hip owner, has been able to transform Cannonsburg into something that has reached notoriety on a national level. This duo has heard and answered the call for something more than your standard terrain park and it provides more than you think. The level of riding that Cannonsburg’s parks are facilitating is ridiculous. It’s getting their resort wide spread attention and is obviously helping with their bottom line. We can only hope other resorts see the positive outcome of having such an investment and will consider giving their park a little more love.
MB interviews Marc Moline of Cannonsburg about the Monster City Park.
- Who designed the course?
I was responsible for the design of the park.
- Who built the features?
Stephan Miller and Kelly Bennett are our primary fabricators and cat operators when it comes to the parks. We’re also fortunate to have guys like Dave Maclean around who has a lot of surveying and engineering experience, plus he’s one hell of a cat operator himself. Our park crew, maintenance, and marketing department have all been hands on in the process as well. Really it’s been one big team effort.
- What kind of an investment is that monetarily speaking?
We have a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Monster Energy and have committed to matching their monetary investment in hard material costs with our investment in labor and personnel. I don’t feel comfortable giving an exact number, but it’s a sizable one and one we have completely tapped out each year to make Monster City Park the best it can be. No sponsorship money has been pocketed. It all goes directly into the park.
- Does each section of the course have a name?
They were never intended to be named, but there were some funny ones being tossed around at the Grand Reopening Party, especially by our Ski & Ride School Director Kyle Naumann who was standing in as guest MC. I think a few he came up with were “The Hubba Hideout” and “Tube of Doom” for the top set. We let our guests name our lifts and trails, so they can come up with whatever names they want for these features too.
- The features are rumored to be stylized after infamous street spots in the area, is this correct?
We’ve always tried to keep the local tie across our slopes, from our two Burton replica street features, the Lakeside and Aberdeen rails to the names of many of our lifts and trails. The Monster City Park features were a little more loosely inspired, but yes, I’ve spent plenty of time studying spots in the area and trying to figure out how I can include elements of them into our park designs. Several dimensions were taken from Creston High School for instance.
- What does a setup like this do for the resort and the kids who ride there?
I could literally see it unfolding in front of me on Saturday. Hearing a kid like Adam Marks on the approach to the massive 40×20’ wall ride for the first time yelling, “This is so scary” and then stomping it clean and saying, “That was so much fun!” I think the design of this park in particular gives our riders an opportunity to ride things they otherwise may not have been introduced to and will maybe even inspire them to try riding new things outside of the resort.
- The grand reopening seemed very successful, how do you guys feel about it?
I always have an ideal vision in my head. Sunny day, mild temps, packed park, etc., but that rarely is the case here in the Midwest. We received almost an inch of rain between 4pm the night before and noon the day of the event, so I think it put some people off. We had to postpone the opening a couple hours, but were able to pull it together. I think if the weather would have been better we would have a seen much greater attendance, but it was still an awesome time. I’m very appreciative for those who came out!
- We have our opinions, but who were the stand out riders?
I’ve been digging through literally hundreds of video shots from the event over the past couple days and the riders that are really stood out to me were Harrison MCIlhargey, Brett Kulas, Avery Erickson and Tye Kowalski. Not that everyone else wasn’t ripping, but those guys were standing out even more than they usually do.
- If you had to say who owns what section of the course?
Mark Reinhart was immediately all over the main wall ride, bringing his street-cred back into the park which was fun to see. Brett Kulas’ 270s back to regular onto the overpass rail were ridiculous and Avery Erickson had some really smooth front blunt 270s out on it as well. Since the bottom feature set was essentially the same as last years, it was a little neglected during the event, but Evan Erickson had some mega nose presses on the 24’ stair set rail.There was some good stuff on the outside line too. Harrison McIlhargey board slide disastering to the last couple feet of the gate rail, Avery Erickson’s Miller Flip on the Monster Can and Tye Kowalski had some really nice spins/taps over the road cone.
- Looking over the course now is there anything you would have done different?
There are a few small tweaks to lips and landings that I’d like to make, but overall I think the flow of the course came out as well as we could possibly hope for, especially given the magnitude of the build. I went with my gut and experience on almost everything, but was losing sleep for a while there not knowing if there was going to be enough speed, pitch for landings or distance between features. Fortunately it all seemed to work out okay. We will also be adding another feature to the right side of the main wall ride in the next couple weeks.
- How important is it in your opinion for a resort to have and maintain a quality terrain park?
I’d like to say that it’s essential, but I think it depends on the area’s location and what their intentions are. Everyone knows cash is king and most areas are just trying to find their niche to make money. For us at Cannonsburg, parks have been a big part of that. Our main goal is to balance our parks with affordability and family friendliness though. I think if most resort owners were looking at a resort balance sheet and saw that they could get by without making a major investment in terrain parks, they probably would and I think many have.