BOARDSPORT Terrain Design Interview with Brian Snabes
MSR: How did you get your start in the snowsports industry?
BSTD: I was picked to ride for the Joyride Pro Snowboarding and Wakeboarding team.
MSR: How did you come up with the concept behind BOARDSPORT?
BSTD: It came from my five years attending school at Western State College of Colorado in Gunnison, CO. As a professional snowboarder during my college years, I got to travel all over to terrain parks around the country and see what was being done. I owned a wakeboarding school in Michigan in the summers and ended up moving back full time after school to keep that going. After spending my first winter back home, I quickly realized that there were hardly any terrain parks at the local resorts. I quickly decided to build a rail for Alpine Valley Resort in White Lake, MI and after great feedback from the riders, I started the company and advertised my services around the midwest.
MSR: What does BOARDSPORT and BOARDSPORT Terrain Design do?
BSTD: BOARDSPORT is the parent company, providing a structure to operate our other organizations: WakeBoard Clinic, Boyne Wake Camp, Midwest Progression and BOARDSPORT Terrain Design.
MSR: You have dubbed the phrase "progressive park", explain to us what that is?
BSTD: Burton Snowboard Company invented the concept of the progression park at Northstar in Lake Tahoe. I brought the idea to Michigan and soon after created multiple parks at resorts based on the various skill levels, giving riders a way to progress their skills.
MSR: Where can we see your work, where do you go?
BSTD: We have done work for a number of resorts and companies in Michigan and throughout the United States. Michigan resorts include: Alpine Valley, Apple Mountain, Boyne Highlands, Mt. Brighton, Caberfae, Mt. Holly, Nub's, Otsego Club, Pine Knob, Timber Ridge, Treetops, TWC Surf and Sport, Epix Snowboards, Moosejaw, then there is Devil's Head in Wisconsin, and work performed for Red Bull.
MSR: We hear you're headed to the Burton US Open in VT. Is this for business or pleasure?
BSTD: Through my camps and wakeboard clinics, I met a youngster named Kyle Mack at his 5th birthday party to teach him how to wakeboard. I quickly saw great natural talent and began to coach him throughout the year wakeboarding and snowboarding. Around the age of 7 he was sponsored by Burton and we have been traveling to comps and video shoots ever since. This is the 4th year Kyle has been invited to the US Open to snowboard during the halfpipe and slopestyle events.
MSR: How has this helped you?
BSTD: Traveling the world with him has kept me very current in the terrain park world, getting ideas from some of the best parks around and bringing them home to the midwest.
MSR: How do you start designing a park layout and what are some of the things you take into consideration?
BSTD: It all starts from the ground up. Run selection based on the natural topography of the run - rails, boxes and other jibs on hand by the resort, lighting, snowmaking, equipment and above all, safety and flow of the park.
MSR: What are some of the most popular features you are currently seeing in progressive parks?
BSTD: The focus has gone full circle from the craziest things you can think of, to more simple designs that promote the "progression". We see the bulk focusing on beginner to intermediate riders. The park must be rideable for everyone, not just the pros, and the beginners and intermediates have been a focus of ours as of lately.
MSR: Do you see any push back from the resorts on the type of obstacles that you're proposing to them?
BSTD: No, usually by the time we are contracted to do the job, they realize that we are the professionals, a trusted source with years of experience to make the best and safest decisions for their park goers.
MSR: We noticed a product called "yard-box" can you explain to us a bit more what this is?
BSTD: Yard boxes and rails have become very popular amongst our residential customers. We have begun to build a downscale version of our boxes and rails for residents who wish to build their own backyard parks. The features can be set up with little to no snow cover and you're all set!
MSR: Do you see the need for more "backyard" type products coming out, is the demand there?
BSTD: Yes, mostly they are simple designs built with progression of skills in mind.
MSR: What are some of your favorite projects you've worked on or been a part of?
BSTD: Well, we take pride in all the parks that we build and have a great time at every venue. I do have to say that this most recent rail jam event in GR was a ton of fun because the venue at The B.O.B. was perfect and the crowds were huge and excited to be there.
MSR: You have been in business now for 10+ years, what keeps you going and motivated every day?
BSTD: I have been in business for myself since 1999 and still love every part of what I do. The best thing I could have ever done is stick to what I know best and never give up. Every year it seems to evolve into something new and exciting, and it's all based on the boardsports I have loved my entire life. I am very happy to be able to help the progression of freestyle boardsports in the midwest. That is where our team and clothing company has come from - Midwest Progression MWP.
MSR: What's your favorite park feature?
BSTD: Either a 40' jump with a good transition or a line of fun boxes. Don't be fooled, I will always close up shop for a good powder day!
MSR: What's your favorite trick to throw?
BSTD: Grab - method, Trick, backside 180.
MSR: What do you do in the off-season?
BSTD: There is no off season! We go right into wakeboarding camps in the spring and are overlapping terrain design and planning in the early fall.
MSR: What's the future hold for BOARDSPORT and MWP?
BSTD: I always try to plan ahead but have learned that with private businesses you can never say for sure where the future will lead you. You just have to be prepared to adapt to changing times and not be afraid to take risks. I can only hope that in the end, I have done some good for the sports and lifestyles that I have believed in my entire life. Just going to keep moving forward - "Many a false step was made by standing still." -Fortune Cookie-
MSR: Finally Brian, any advice for young riders out there?
BSTD: Never forget that the reason we ride is because it's fun!
About Brian Snabes and BOARDSPORT
Brian Snabes is a progressive sports enthusiast involved in snowboarding, wakeboarding and skateboarding almost his entire life. His companies include BOARDSPORT Terrain Design, The Wakeboard Clinic, Midwest Progression (MWP) and Boyne Wake Camps. To learn more about Brian Snabes and his companies' services you can contact Brian at 248.214.9052 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.