“Basically, you grab this bar, push the green button and hold on.” These were the words from Snogression owner and innovator, Kevin Brower. I stood atop the synthetic snow in-run, looking towards the kicker and foam pit. My palms began to sweat and my pulse quickened. With a mechanical whoosh, I was hurtling down the “slope” and before I knew it, I was airborne. Milliseconds later, I came crashing down into the pit. The landing was like jumping into a hot tub full of stuffed animals. I struggled to kick off my skis and waded out of the foam blocks thoroughly stoked. Let’s do it again, and again and again!
Brower’s vision for a state-of-the-art, indoor training facility for skiers and snowboarders began three years ago while he was contemplating how to keep his skills sharp during the summer. “Before, you always had to go to the gymnastics places and they were kind of hard to get into. They only had trampolines and you had to drive a long way to get to them,” says Brower. A simpler way to train spurred him to develop his own facility that catered to snow athletes. His original concept occupied a small space in Sandy and had a couple trampolines, a ramp and a foam pit. “The old building got the job done, but it was kind of decrepit and we only had a short-term lease,” says Brower. After testing and proving his idea at the first warehouse, he decided that it was time to move out and expand to a more desirable and functional location. Moving to the South Salt Lake spot (2828 S. 1030 W.) enabled Brower and his builders to be more creative with their designs and branch out to a larger portion of the population. He also cited that the new location is more central to the Ogden and Salt Lake crowds. With a plan in place, Brower, his brother, Mitchell, and Jordan Taylor set to work on the new and improved facility. “Jordan was the guy behind the wood. He had the framing expertise and helped it all come together. I also spent a lot of time on the CAD program trying to work out the rest of the details,” says Brower. By the end of summer 2011, Snogression was ready to reopen and get everyone excited about the coming season. They kept up their diligent social media marketing campaign and hosted a rail jam in December to draw exposure for their business. “We gave the contest an ugly sweater theme for the holidays and had a great turnout. The kids were absolutely going off on the jump,” says Brower. The next phase of Snogression had begun, and people seemed intrigued by the idea of an indoor training center.
At the heart of the project lies the creator’s deep connection to the progression of the sport. He believes that finding a better way to train will lead the next wave of talent to the pinnacle of performance. The layout of the Snogression warehouse accommodates all ability levels and is meant to keep a constant flow of movement. Four string-bed trampolines are arranged to allow participants to practice step-ups and hand-drags in a realistic setting. Adjacent to the tramps are a mini foam pit and padded landing zone to practice small tricks and maneuvers. The next step up from learning air awareness is the ramp. To propel riders down the in-run, Brower has designed a unique launch system called the Hyperdrive. “We are on the fifth or sixth stage of the hyperdrive, which is a modified winch system similar to a wakeboard tow set up,” says Brower. The current jump is covered in a synthetic snow mat that allows you to glide effortlessly off the lip and into the gigantic foam pit below. It is the perfect way for riders to try their hand at dub-cork nines and steezy superman front flips. Alongside the jump is an adjustable rail that keeps the jibbers happy, as well as a platform where users can air into the foam pit without skis or boards. In between sessions, visitors can also unwind on the mini ramp and skate to their hearts’ content.
The key to keeping things fresh at Snogression is the overall attitude of everyone involved. “We want to create a community feel and really get people working together,” says Brower. Professional athletes like Pep Fujas, Wiley Miller and LJ Strenio frequent the establishment and are always willing to lend some friendly advice to the up-and-comers. In addition to the freeride sessions, Brower and his team of athletes offer coaching and technique classes for anyone interested. In the future, Snogression hopes to offer summer camps and contests to help build the community of local riders into something special.
More info on session times and pricing can be found at snogression.com.