Snogression: New indoor facility in SLC
In the early days of freeskiing all you needed to learn a new trick was a powder landing. That might still be a good bet, but as Kevin Brower says, "Powder landings are hard to find." This month, the Utah native opens the doors of his new indoor ski and snowboard training facility. Located near Snowbird in Sandy, Utah, Brower's Snogression facility boasts Olympic fly bed trampolines, a foam pit and a fully adjustable ski jump. With nothing else like it in the Salt Lake area, Brower sees Snogression as a unique training opportunity for freestyle skiers and snowboarders. And, even in Utah, it's easier to get to than a powder landing.
ESPN: Tell me a little bit about Snogression. What's your vision for your new facility?
Kevin Brower: Basically, I've been skiing my whole life, I love it, and I wanted to build something that would allow skiers and snowboarders to extend the season a little bit in training and improve their air awareness in a safe way. Powder landings are awesome, but they're always pretty hard to get to. Basically I just built a facility with some trampolines and a foam pit with a synthetic snow ramp going into it. That's phase one. And we'd like to expand after that, obviously. It's just a place where kids can come and jump and get better in a group setting, get to know other people that are interested in the same things they are.
Are you open already?
I had the Snowbird Freeride Team come in last weekend as a soft opening. I don't know exactly when the official grand opening is going to be yet. The facility is about 95 percent built. What's left is all cosmetic stuff. A little painting here and there. As a whole it's pretty much done.
Where's Snogression located?
It's in Sandy, just off of 9000 South and I-15. Really, it's just across the street from Classic Roller Skating.
What's inside the Snogression facility?
Right now the gym takes up 5,000 square feet of the warehouse I'm renting. There are three Olympic quality fly bed trampolines and a 20-foot by 30-foot foam pit. Two of the trampolines are up against the foam pit, so you can jump off of those into the foam. The third one is behind. There is also a ski jump that lands in the foam pit. The takeoff is fully adjustable -- you can adjust how far away it is from the foam pit, the angle of the takeoff and you can adjust the height of the takeoff. We can also change out the ramp surface to accommodate BMX bikes.
Another thing that's unique about the jump -- a new launch system has been invented for it. The drop-in isn't 40 feet high, like Woodward at Copper's. Instead, it's 12 feet off the ground at kind of a slope, and then it goes into transition. On that slope, you're actually getting towed in by a machine called a Hyperdrive. It's not a winch, it's not a bungee, but it's a fully automatic propulsion system. It's really smooth -- pretty intuitive and natural.
Who's building all this? Are you doing it yourself? Yeah. I've actually done most everything myself. I had a little help from a contractor friend of mine, to steer me in the right direction. Other than that, it's been fully self-funded and self-built. So it has been quite a project. I've been physically working on it for about two-and-a-half months now. The planning started over a year ago.
Besides the Olympic Park water ramps in Park City, is there anything else like this in Utah?
There used to be the Jibyard in Ogden, but they shut down. And that place was more focused on rails. So really, yeah, Snogression is the only facility like it in Utah that's specific to ski and snowboard training. Really, there aren't many like it in the whole country. There's Woodward at Copper, Windell's and Ohio Dreams. Those are the only other facilities like this in the US.
What's your opening schedule? Will you be open year-round?
Yes. I definitely want to stay open in the winter to complement the training that skiers and snowboarders are already doing on-hill. While something's fresh in your brain, come here and practice it and then take it to the hill. In the summer I want to start doing some camps, like a two-day camp where kids can come and be coached by some of the pros that live in the area.
USSA licensing is required to use the Olympic Park. Will that be the case at Snogression as well?
No. Accessibility was one of my highest priorities when I was starting Snogression. At the water ramps, you have to have a coach, and like you said, USSA affiliation. It's hard to get up there. The way I've modeled my business is that anyone with their own equipment can come in, take a one-time class to get oriented with the rules and the proper use of the equipment, and then after that the structure is just two-hour sessions. You can just come in and work on whatever you want. If you want coaching, that can be arranged too, but it's not going to be mandatory. I think that will be a great draw to Snogression -- the free reign that you'll have in the gym while you're there.
How much? What are your rates?
The mandatory first-time class costs $35. That's a two-hour class that covers basic tumbling, gym safety, gym rules and safe trick progressions. After you've completed that course, you can participate in the two-hour freeride sessions that we'll be having throughout the day. And those cost $15 per session. There will also be 10-day passes available for a discounted daily rate.