It’s big. it’s loud and kids are jumping off the walls and burning calories like nowhere else in Summit County. That was the scene at opening day of Woodward Park City – the newest year-round action sports center at the site of the former Gorgoza ski area.
With construction trailers and cranes still in the parking lot, and the indoor concrete skate arena barely cured after being poured within the last three weeks, Woodward Park City welcomed the community including lots of kids – old and young – to see what’s behind the walls of the big metal building as you drop into the Snyderville Basin from the top of Parley’s Summit off Interstate 80.
Woodward Park City will be open every day of the year offering both indoor and outdoor action. Outside, there’s a single chairlift -which qualifies Woodward as Utah’s 15th resort by Ski Utah.
There, skiers and snowboarders can access the big jumps, a 22-foot halfpipe and rails, which will become BMX and mountain biking dirt trails and jumps in the summer.
Indoors, the squishy tumbling floor leads to half dozen trampolines, tumbling lanes and foam pits where kids build the confidence to flip and twist and go big safely - and softly-before bringing their tricks to the hard snow and concrete.
Kids were literally climbing the walls and hurling themselves off 6 and 10 foot jumps into the foam pits below. While they just bounced right back to the top of the foam blocks, there were a few adults who tried and needed help getting out of the pit by staff coaches and first aid patrollers who are stationed in strategic locations throughout the center.
An indoor concrete skate park and an outdoor skate plaza means skaters and scooters will have a place to ride all year long. The Parkour/Ninja course teaches athletes coordination and spatial awareness in a safe and fun setting.
Woodward is founded on a progression based learning system steeped in safety - in which they’ll give lessons to kids as young as 4 to learn the skills to help them progress at their own pace.
Nikko Morgan is an 11 year old who lives close to Woodward. He was having a blast and stopped jumping long enough to tell us what he thought about Woodward.
“Woodward is really fun,” he said. “It’s a great place to hang out with all your buddies and it has a lot of ski jumps – you can mountain bike, skate, do whatever you want.”
Nikko skateboards and rides a scooter. Because he lives so close, he plans to spend a lot of time at Woodward and says his family has bought him a pass and signed him up for an after school program.
Rue Harris is a 9 year old gymnast from Draper who could be seen practicing her tumbling runs over and over. While it’s a drive to get to Woodward, she was excited about the possibility the facility offers…
“My dad taught me how to a lot of backflips and aerials and stuff, so I like to do a couple of back and turn rolls and my goal is to get past 13 because that’s how many I’ve done in a row. But, yeah, I think it will help me a lot to train here.”
There was an impressive line-up of professional athletes on hand for the grand opening, including skateboarder Tony Hawk, and gold medalist slopestyle snowboarders Sage Kotsenburg of Park City and Red Gerard. In the Ask an Athlete segment, Hawk revealed that he burns through a pair of skate shoes about every two weeks. He also acknowledged that practice does make perfect. When he was asked how many times, he tried a 900 – that’s two and half revolutions in the air – he said 10 years and thousands and thousands of tries.
Woodward has partnered with Gerard to create what they’re calling Red’s Backyard at three of their facilities. The park mimics Gerard’s own backyard park where he trains in Silverton Colorado. Gerard was 17 when he won the snowboard slopestyle Olympic gold medal in Pyong Chang.
“I am so, so excited on this,” Gerard said. “This is something that me and my mom have been working on for quite some time. It was something more to just like give back to the community after the Olympics. Woodward has always brought me up in the way of snowboarding and making - for progression and all that - This is something I’m so honored that Powdr Corps helped us out with.”
Powdr used the expertise of park builders Jeremy Jones and Chris Gunnerson to design Red’s Backyard.
“I’m really psyched on how everything turned out,” he added. “And the features that they have in there, is a lot based off my backyard, just a lot, lot better.”
A daily all-access pass to Woodward starts at $24 for the youngest athletes – and can bump at to as much as $97 for those 7 and older during peak holiday times. The best deals are for those who purchase monthly memberships that provide unlimited access to the both the indoor and outdoor facilities.