What it takes to build a snow tube park

WinSport is launching a new and exciting activity the whole family can take in this winter – The Acura Tube Park.

The Acura Tube Park construction began with the installation of a magic carpet and building an area to slow tubes down at the bottom of the run.

This giant park, located on Canada Olympic Park, has variety of lanes some of which are 200 metres in length. It also has its own dedicated magic carpet. It’s a great way to get on snow and enjoy winter for those who don’t fancy skiing or snowboarding or for those just wanting to try a different winter activity.

But what does it take to make Western Canada’s largest tube park? Mike Tanner has the answer. He’s the Director of Venues at WinSport and has a wealth of experience building and consulting snow structures at WinSport and the Canmore Nordic Centre. He also travelled to Salt Lake City, Utah, to help build structures for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Mike says one of the biggest challenges isn’t creating create speed on the park, it’s to ensure the riders can slow down safely. As a result, a significant amount of dirt was needed on the north east side of the hill.

“A total of 8,000 cubic metres of dirt was put down in that area to create the outrun, or stopping area,” Mike explains. “It’s a lot of dirt and it took about four weeks to complete with the assistance of bulldozers and rock trucks.”

From there, WinSport staff tested the grade to ensure tubers would be able to reach a fast, but safe speed. Once Mike’s team determined the grade was sufficient, they began to build the lanes using a special attachment that hooks onto the back of a snowcat.

The Acura Tube Park has 10 lanes, each 200 metres in length, making it the largest of its kind in Western Canada.

“We just drive it down and it plow the snow in a way that forms banks on both sides, essentially forming the walls of a tube lane,” Mike explains. “We just continue the process until 10 lanes are formed.”

Lanes 1 and 2 are slower for kids, while the rest are faster lanes for adults. Now that the park is built all that’s left is the regular upkeep.

“The maintenance on the park is quite minimal and all we really have to do is groom it every night to make sure the lanes are smooth and not icy,” Mike explains.

WinSport is kicking off the opening with a Christmas themed event which includes Christmas music and a visit from Santa on December 17 and 18. Santa will be based in the Frank King Day Lodge, just outside the WinSport Coffee Market, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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