Seven Springs Mountain Resort is giving off urban feel

| Friday, Jan. 20, 2012

The new ski and snowboard terrain park that opened at Seven Springs Mountain Resort on Thursday looks less like what you'd see watching the Winter Olympics and more like what you'd see waiting for a bus Downtown.

Which, it turns out, is the whole point of The Streets.

The new park has its own bus stop, as well handrails and stairs, things made of concrete and granite and even a building made to look like PPG Place.

"Whenever we were designing it, we wanted to make everything as rideable as possible but being right outside Pittsburgh, we wanted to tie it back into Pittsburgh," said Joel Rerko, 32, director of action sports at the Laurel Highlands resort.

The Streets is based on the relatively new trend of urban snowboarding that started in cities with lots of natural snowfall.

"There are pro riders who go out into downtown cities and travel the country just riding handrails, ledges, pretty much anything they can find that's neat to snowboard on," Rerko said. "They go out in the middle of the night while everyone's asleep, set up generators, shovel snow and just ride. It's a lot like skateboarding and it's really taking over the younger generation of the sport."

Rerko said The Streets is the first of its kind for a major resort terrain park. It was designed with input from professional snowboarders and Forum team riders Pat Moore — one of Snowboarder Magazine's Top 10 riders for 2012 — and two-time X Games medalist Nic Sauve.

"It's like skateboarding," said Sauve, 24, of Quebec City. "You set yourself little goals, and it's all about tricks that you want to accomplish. You see what your friends are doing, and you want to be at their level. It usually takes a lot of tries to get it, but once you get it it's so satisfying, and that's what it's all about, setting goals and having fun and getting better."

Moore said The Streets is taking what the professionals do and making it more accessible to everyone. In designing the park, they took care to have different features that would appeal to all levels of skiers and snowboarders.

"This is very unique," Moore said. "Usually a set-up like this is specifically for a big contest like X Games or Dew Tour. Now it's here, it'll be here every day and it's available to kids, which is really cool, because usually you have to be invited to ride stuff like this."

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