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Plans for Dry Ski Slope at Burning Man Festival

A group of skiers and snowboarders have launched a crowd funder to try to raise at least $40,000 to install a dry ski slope at the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, USA.

Naming the slope Lake Lahontan Ski Resort, the dry ski slope is intended to be “an interactive art installation that brings Radical Inclusion to snow sports!” say the BRC Snow Club who are behind the idea.

The proposed slope would be built with scaffolding nearly 5 metres (14 feet tall) and be around 18m (62 feet) long. The group have named the ski slope after the ancient lakebed upon which it will sit.

This year’s Burning Man takes place from August 27 to September 4th 2023 in the Black Rock Desert.  The festival, which attracts around 75,000 people celebrates artistic self-expression and the building of a community intended to be temporarily self-sufficient.

“BRC Snow Club is a Burning Man theme camp that hosts daily après ski parties, provides a shady space to escape the sun, hosts snowball fights, and is a place to connect and make new friends, all while surrounded by snow-themed decor and interactivity.  Off Playa, we are a community of over 1,100 burners and like-minded humans across the globe!  Our members host events, share resources, provide community support, and of course ski and snowboard together!” a statement from the club explains.

The slope will consists of four key segments, firstly a drop-in platform and upper ramp, second a flat middle section with removable kicker and jib feature, third the lower slope and finally a flat runout and stopping zone.

In 2022 the Club took several samples of different dry ski mats to the burn, left them in the sun and dust, and encouraged visitors to play with them so they could better understand how they would hold up under the harsh conditions of the Nevada desert.  Later inspecting the samples, the club decided on a plastic polymer surface with a typical lifespan of 7 years. 

“Skiers can achieve about 80% of the speed of real snow while using standard equipment.  The mats also produce a sound similar to that of icy snow, giving you auditory feedback to match!  Most importantly, these dry ski mats do not require lubrication, making them the perfect choice for our hill in the desert!” the Club statement continues.

The Club’s goal is to begin construction on the frame in early June, and have the entire slope completed and ready for testing by late July. 

“This project is designed to do several things: remove the usual barriers to entry for snow sports (financial, environmental, and so on), raise further awareness of the effects of climate change (this kind of slope may be what we’re stuck with riding year-round in the not-so-far-off future if we don’t make changes), and further build our community.  It’s a unique opportunity to do something new at Burning Man, and we are so excited to be embarking on this journey!” the group statement continues.

After the festival the club plan to take the slope on tour in Northern California and beyond. They plan to partner with local retailers to collaborate on gear demo days, give lessons, host Rail Jams, and offer folks who might not have the opportunity to get to the snow a chance to try skiing, riding, or sledding right in their home town. The also plan to bring it out for organized events like music festivals, street fairs, and other gatherings.

1 Comment
  1. Greg in NZ

    29th May 2023 3:55 am

    Plastic polymer artificial ski slope because ‘climate change’? Don’t these freaks read snow-forecast? There’s SO MUCH SNOW that real ski areas are open all summer. City folk, huh.

    I’ll put a fiver on that lake flooding this summer & everyone will be water-skiing or wake-boarding…

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