Nov. 23 2011 12:00 AM

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


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

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