Free-form terrain park open to public this weekend
The Holy Bowly has returned to Mammoth Mountain. The massive free-form terrain park (think skatepark made out of snow) will be open to the public for two days Saturday, April 20 – Sunday, April 21, in the Mammoth Mountain South Park, next to the Rollercoaster Chair.
Holy Bowly is the brainchild of Krush Kulesza of Snowboy Productions. He created the first snowscape bowls in Washington State in the early 2000’s. The concept grew, and the first Holy Bowly happened at Hakuba Happo-one in Japan in 2012. It was brought to Mammoth for the first time in 2015.
This years bowl, at 2,000 x 500 feet, is the largest that Kulesza has ever built.
The idea of the Holy Bowly is to open up the normally linear nature of a terrain park.
“The whole course is rideable,” Kulesza said. “It’s made of things that can be approached from any angle: bowls, snowboobs.”
A snowboob is a rounded snowmound.
Kulesza builds one Holy Bowly a year, and it is different every time. He does not come to a mountain knowing what the terrain is going to look like. He said that he has “Legos,” which are features that have been proven to look cool and been fun to ride. The Snowboy Productions crew tweaks and adds to its sketchbook as the build evolves.
This years Holy Bowly doesn’t share any feature in common with the one from three years ago, and, Kulesza said, “If if we built it a week from now it would be totally different, too.”
Kulesza has had one feature in mind for the Mammoth build that he couldn’t put anywhere else. “There is a giant snow mound that is the top of a mammoth skull. Then there are two sweeping tusks that come out of the snow beneath.”
Building such a park is an unparalleled feat, according to head of Mammoth Terrain Parks, TJ Dawoud. Dawoud had the task of manifesting Kulesza’s vision.
“It is building at the highest level of creativity possible,” Dawoud said. It took eight days to build, and Dawoud said, “On day one you have no idea what it is going to look like on day eight.”
To do a park like this for a long period of time would be, “nearly impossible,” Dawoud said. It took three days working with an excavator and five snowcats to get the park to 90% completion. Then it took hand crews of 10-15 people shoveling and raking for five days to finish the park. The freedom of Holy Bowly is completely different than the specificity needed to build a competition park like the one Dawoud built for the Toyota Grand Prix.
The riding style is different too.
“This style of park is geared heavily toward creativity, flow, picking your own lines,” Dawoud said. “It creates an opportunity for riders to do what they want and think outside the box.”
From April 15-19, the bowl was only available to invited riders. Kulesza said that he, “Invited some of the most stylish riders in the world to explore that canvas for a week.”
There will be photography and a film shoots in the bowl, then it will be opened up for the public.
Kulesza said that it was great coming back to work at Mammoth. This is the first repeat location for a Holy Bowly.
“Mammoth has a ton of resources, which is good when you are tackling something so big,” Kulesza said.
“Also, all the snow in the west landed in Mammoth so we’ve had a lot to work with.”G