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Construction of Airbag Training Center Nearing Completion

October 27, 2011

It’s been exciting watching the transformation of Snows Mountain into what will undoubtedly be one of the region’s premier snowsports training centers.  Our Waterville Valley Realty team is a proud supporter of the new Phil’s Hill Airbag Training Center!

Check out Jeremy Gasowski’s story below.

By Jeremy Gasowski

Caleb Kern, an 11-year-old snowboarder from the Waterville Valley Black and Blue Trail Smashers Snowsport Educational Foundation (WVBBTS/SEF), drops into a steep in-run and picks up speed as he approaches the jump. He launches into the air and performs a back flip then drops safely into a huge cushioned airbag.  Everything has the feel of winter until Caleb unstraps his snowboard and steps off the airbag, onto grass, in the middle of summer.

Welcome to the new vision of training for regional freestyle and snowboard athletes that will soon become a reality!

Construction on the Phil’s Hill Airbag Training Center is nearing completion. This one-of-a-kind venue, located on the campus of Waterville Valley Academy, will provide a safe and innovative training environment. It is named in honor of Phil Holmes, a talented WVBBTS snowsports athlete who passed away at a young age, and his mother, Sandra Holmes, a staunch supporter of  the organization who passed away this past winter.

“We’re really excited to be building out this Master Plan project,” says Peter Stokloza, CEO of WVBBTS/SEF.  “Year-round, specialized training in conditions of increased safety will be a significant benefit to athletes throughout New England.”

Construction is scheduled to be done by early November. When finished, the 270 foot slope will be covered with 3,000 square feet of Neveplast artificial snow surface. Two jumps, accommodating different ability levels, will launch athletes into the air over the 50’ x 50’ x 12’ BagJump airbag, a professionally engineered apparatus providing exceptional safety and enabling athletes to qualify their tricks before taking them onto snow.

“Coaching athletes through the off-season increases both the number of jumps possible and overall conditioning while decreasing the amount of risk,” according to Dan Shuffleton, Head Freeride Coach.

From late November to early April the venue will be used exclusively by WVBBTS Academy and Club athletes. A full schedule of camps will be offered to all interested athletes starting in the Spring of 2012.

“This is a great example of identifying a need and working collaborativelyto best meet that need,” explains Stokloza. “On behalf of the athletes and families who will benefit from this new venue, we would like to thank our founding donors and corporate sponsors for making this project a reality!”

Corporate supporters include Benson Lumber, Mad River Coffee Roasters, Community Guaranty Savings Bank, Speare Memorial Hospital, Neveplast and Waterville Valley Realty. Learn more about the WVBBTS Phil’s Hill Airbag Training Center at

This is a great before and after shot!

About Jan Stearns

I've been living in and loving New Hampshire's White Mountains for most of my life. I moved to Waterville Valley in 1981 and quickly realized why it was dubbed a Yankee Shangri-la. Once you’ve experienced Waterville Valley, you’ll want to call it yours. The great team of Realtors at Waterville Valley Realty can help you find a Waterville Valley home that fits your lifestyle and budget.

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