Yukon's freestyle ski & snowboard jumpers will shortly be able to practice under the midnight sun.
Workers at Mount Sima are hammering Rebar & assembling pressure-treated 2×6 boards to create a freestyle jumping ramp that could be ready by the end of July.Â
The ramp will be covered in a plastic called Neveplast. The Italian technology has been used the United Arab Emirates & Argentina to allow summertime ski runs.Â
"It's the first one in Canada so it's pretty exciting," says Yukon Freestyle Ski Association President Lynda Harlow.
The ramp is moreover unique in that jumpers will land on a giant airbag, similar to what's used in Hollywood stunts. Other summer ski ramps in Canada have athletes land in water.
"It will be really neat to see the rest of Canada come up & check this out," Harlow says.
'A huge challenge' to build
Christian Vetterlein is a contractor who has been building the ramp with assist from volunteers.
He says he looked to Alberta for inspiration on how to arrange the lumber.
"I used a similar design of what's being used in the oil fields," he says, citing panels uses to buildÂ temporary roads in muskeg or swamps. "We adapted the system & make it a little bit lighter to obtain a slope," he says.
Vetterlein says professional surveyors reviewed the site, & an excavator was used to obtain the right angle.
"I personally ended up using stringÂ line & a water level just like the Romans did 2,000 years ago," he adds, with pride. "It's been a satisfactory piece of labour. Lots of pick-axing & gravel buckets went into this."
Vetterlein says he'll be testing the ramp with weights before the first jumper takes the leap. Â Â
"I am hoping that a lot of generations of athletes are going to have the opportunity to train…Â freestyle jumping on this facility."
The project is worth approximately $157,000, with most funding provided by Yukon Government's Community Development Fund & Lotteries Yukon. The Yukon Freestyle Ski Association will own the ramp which will moreover be used in winter.
About 40 to 50 people are involved in the association.
Freestyle acrobatic skiing has been a Winter Olympic sport since 1992.