By now, the snowpark located in the heart of the Dolomites counts 40 different obstacles which offer something for every freeskier’s and snowboarder’s needs. The whole thing started quite smaller, as Lux – a founder of the local freestyle legends “Pirates” – explains. “Right in the beginning, Werner Crazzolara built two or three jumps and by this, he first introduced freestyle to Alta Badia. Being a freestyle pioneer, he did excellent work and built nice jumps. Since Snowpark Alta Badia is run by QParks, the park grew quite a bit and became more professional.” And Lux is right, Snowpark Alta Badia just won three prizes last season. The park was among the Top 10 in the Downdays European Poll while walking off with the first prize in the category best local park at the Skipass Snowpark Awards 2018. And on top of that, the park impressed with a third place in the ranking “Best Family and Fun Line”.
Lux knows about that even without awards or rankings. Because the park is unimaginable without the Pirates and vice versa. The Jolly Roger has already waved for 15 years now in the Dolomites. Even longer than the QParks vessel is sailing through the waters around the Sella Ronda. “When we founded the Pirates, we had to shovel and build the jumps on our own in the backcountry in order to get some airtime,” explains Lux and reminisces about the team’s tough early days. Now, the Pirates easily send jumps with sizes ranging from 3 to 13 meters – completely without shoveling.
“We realize that more and more kids are hitting the park,” says Altin happily. He’s the second captain of the Pirates. The Pirates Freestyle Team coaches become aware of this as over 30 kids have shown up for the weekly classes at the park, this year. Lux and Altin take care of the snowboard youngsters while Max and Ossi teach new tricks to the junior freeskiers.
And you can see that they’re successful with it, just by observing the skillful young guns who shred the park with the Pirates logo on their chest. For example, Mattia Mersa, he was the first pirate to qualify for the World Rookie Finals. Altin says “As we are practicing very often at Snowpark Alta Badia, the team’s riding level is pretty high now. That’s why we wish to see bigger jumps in the future.”
Park designer Konstantin confirms the effort of the Pirates: “The juniors become sicker and sicker. Sometimes 8-year-olds have a level which is not visible in other parks at all. So, we definitely have to consider maybe adapting the park design a bit to the improved riding level.” His work buddy Dave who also works as a park designer in Alta Badia also appreciates the work of the Pirates: “The Pirates are important for the park, because they motivate and push the kids. I also think, they encourage the youngsters to have a good time on the mountain instead of sitting at home playing video games.”
Thus, Snowpark Alta Badia’s future is definitely secured. This was celebrated at this year’s Shred Feast by shredding, barbecuing and simply hanging out together at the park. Of course, everything has been captured on camera, so the future shred heads will have the chance to look back in 20 years. Click here if you wanna check out what the crew of the Shape Academy is capable of. For all snowboarders we have a neat edit and the special obstacle at Snowpark Alta Badia also deserved a gunfire edit. You wanna see how hard the Pirates are sending it? We have some top-to-bottom runs here plus an exclusive team edit.