We're here in Mayrhofen and can report back that once again the Vans Penken Park is ready and waiting for riders of all abilities to get amongst its sick setup.
The park itself opened last weekend and kicked off the season in style with a Groms Open for all the local imps to show what they're made of, and when all was said and done it was Simon Seig who stood tallest and came away with the win.
Sadly we were still spread across the four corners of Europa with the mamas and papas and missed that, but we nevertheless made the short hop from Munich today to check out the state of the park. And we can tell you that despite fairly solid conditions in the Zillertal right now, it's looking in fine fettle for any shredder who wants to get their freestyling feet limbered up right now.
Located at the foot of the Wängl mountain, the park is serviced by the high-speed four-man lift that will have you lapping the setup in no time at all, meaning you get more bang for your buck and more airtime per day than most other Euro parks. Aside from a couple of whoops, a big gaspipe and some mini kickers to the left of the restaurant, the main park has 3 main kicker lines (from rookie to pro-sized), more boxes and rails to jib than is probably healthy, and a moderate-sized hip at the bottom to finish things off. The pipe is not quite yet finished right now, though they were in the process of getting it ready, and you also know that head shaper Stefan has a host of more interesting features up his sleeve to drop in when there's a bit more snow.
Make no bones about it, it was rock solid today, the temperature hovering around -8 for most of the day and there's also a pretty short window of time when the sun's on the park at this time of year, but with more snow forecast it should soften up a bit. The killer thing about the VPP is that there's really something for everyone, regardless of freestyle savvy. From the baby line to the pro line, the kickers are all well shaped to give you a good chance of progressing your skills and the jibs range from straight ride-ons to kinked and curved offerings for the more advanced shred head.
As the sun dipped away from the park at around 2pm, we hooked up with Tyler Chorlton, Kalle Ohlson, Chris Kightley and Kiwi Stef for a bit of piste blasting that was being filmed for an upcoming Day in the Life that you'll see here soon. It was damned hard and there is no - repeat NO - base but they managed some fun stuff while we concentrated on not getting ol' blue ass. Did we mention it was pretty frickin' solid today?
All in all, the park's looking good and ready to go, but you might want to wait a while till it's not so hard before you try to step your game up.