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Wednesday, November 23,2011

Hawk Island Park is going downhill fast

Snowboarding will be among the activities at a new Snow Park, opening soon

by Cristina Toscano
When you live through a Michigan winter, you come to accept the fact that Michigan is all about winter sports. So the time is right for Hawk Island Snow Park, which opens Dec. 17 in Lansing. 

Pete Bosheff, principal of Urban Snow Parks, said the inspiration for the park came from “hearing about how there were kids who would get Zamboni snow from ice rinks and haul it to local hills so they can ride their snowboards.”


So Bosheff, along with Bob Ford and Modern Skate and Surf owner George Leichtweiss teamed up with Ingham County Parks to open a multi-purpose facility for snowboarding, skiing and tubing.


The partners also brought Ryan Neptune onboard to assist in the design. Neptune, owner of Planet Snow Design and a champion snowboarder, has been building snowboarding venues for almost two decades. Currently head of operations at Otsego Resort in Gaylord, Neptune will work with snowmaking equipment, designing of the parks and rails and setting up the correct lighting.


“We’re partnering to bring resources to make it a functional hill,” Neptune said.  


Leichtweis, the park’s design operator, noted that parks used to forbid the sport in the 1980s. The sport has come a long way since then. 


“You don’t have to be best in the world to do it, and you also don’t need an 11,000-foot mountain to have fun,” Leichtweis said. 


Although snowboards and skis will not be available at the park, director of Ingham County Parks Willis Bennett said the tubes for tubing would be provided and that the YMCA is looking into creating a class to teach snowboarding and skiing.


Admission to the park —located at 1601 E. Cavanaugh Road in Lansing — will be $7.


“It’s a great opportunity to open to more people while being focused on being a family park,” Bennet said. “It’s all about getting the community involved and improve quality of life through activity.


 “Seeing public enjoying themselves and giving a great visitor experience will be our greatest reward.”





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