Top pros blown away by Woodward Tahoe in wake of Grand Opening

Comments by Henrik Lampert/

The ribbon cutting ceremony at Woodward Tahoe was no ordinary ribbon cutting. Instead of clipping the yellow/black striped tape with scissors, BMX pro Nate Wessel—also the brains behind the interior design of Woodward Tahoe—bunny hopped his bike up and over the tape, slicing the line in half as he came back towards the ground. For a building that will host tens of thousands of extreme sports athletes in the years to come, it was only fitting.

The Grand Opening kicked off with an on-snow session at 9:00am. Skiers and snowboarders passed and perused an assembly of demo tents en route to the Castle Peak quad, and after ascending the lift they encountered a pristine 22ft superpipe, a 30ft jump, an airbag jump and nearly 20 jib features. Big smiles were abundant as most people were back on snow for the first time since the closing of the 2011/12 season. While the skiers and boarders lapped the Summer Shred Park, the 33,000-square-foot Bunker below was also bustling with activity as Woodward Tahoe staffers prepped for the opening of the facility, and the consequential onslaught of eager youth.

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Nate Wessel "cuts" the ribbon.

At 11:45 a large crowd gathered for the ceremonial "cutting" of the ribbon, and then—game on. As expected, a throng arrived. For the next four+ hours, visitors to the Bunker sessioned alongside a handful of action sports icons including the Inspired crew, Tony Hawk, Ryan Nyquist, Chas Guldemond, Curren Caples, Anthony Napolitan, Todd Richards and more. Amidst the bouncing and the jumping loads of autographs were signed and countless photos were taken as individuals posed with their heroes.

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Inspired—Phil Casabon, Tanner Hall and Henrik Harlaut.

Throughout the course of the day the common theme was a sense of awe. Between the six Olympic sized trampolines, the super tramp (one of just a few in the entire U.S.), the street park, the pump track, the mega ramps, the mini ramps, the foam pits and the spring floors, visitors to the Bunker have more than their fair share of toys and training tools to choose from. Watching people rotate from feature to feature, the excitement was tangible.

Situated a stone's throw away from I-80 at the base of Boreal Mountain, Woodward Tahoe's ease of access is just another added bonus. It's just a short drive from Tahoe, and for anyone looking to come from out of town, it's a 40-minute straight shot from Reno International Airport along I-80.

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Tony Hawk and Tanner Hall.

The construction of this building certainly stirs conversation about the future of action sports in Tahoe. As many local ski resorts continue to improve their terrain parks, the addition of Woodward Tahoe is particularly exciting for skiers and snowboarders in the area. We spoke with Tanner Hall this evening after opening day drew to a close; he shared his thoughts on how Woodward Tahoe benefits the community:

"The importance of having a facility like this in Tahoe is that it provides so much opportunity to the young kids, the next generation of shredders out there. With a facility like this, it essentially makes the rate of people getting better that much more rapid. If you take any one of these kids in Truckee or the surrounding Tahoe area, to me, these guys have the best backyard playground in the world. I've never seen a facility like this. This is one of the first places in the U.S. that has a super tramp into foam pits, mega ramps into foam pits, roller skis… there's just new, really progressive stuff going on here."

Hall elaborated noting, "[Woodward at] Copper was a great start, and it's so great to have that in Colorado, but they've taken it to the next level here at Boreal. Plus, everybody loves California. The Cali vibe is one of the best in the world. What this is going to do for the next generation of not only skiers but snowboarders, BMXers, skateboarders and so on, it's just crazy. In my mind, I'd really be excited to see action sports in 20-30 years take the rise over the NFL, NBA, MLB and all those big boys, because at the rate it's going right now I think we've got a chance, and it'd be sick to see that happen. Places like [Woodward Tahoe] are helping to strengthen our culture."

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Hall jumps from the tramp and stalls on the DJ tower. Madhouse in the background.

We also caught up with Sammy Carlson who touched on opening day, and his favorite aspects of the Bunker:

"Opening day was awesome. It's super fun here, I'm really glad I came down for it. [It was] great to be in the Bunker this morning, and then I headed up on the hill later on. It's exciting to be on the snow out here in Tahoe in June." Sammy continued, "My favorite thing about the Bunker is definitely the super tramp. It's unreal. It's so much softer than normal fly beds. It absorbs your bounce and you don't have to worry about traveling at all. I always travel and drift away from the center of the tramp and with this one I don't have to worry about it. People are going to dig this thing big time."

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The super tramp in all its glory.

For me personally, what I enjoy about a place like Woodward Tahoe is that it unites people from many different corners of the action sports world. Skiers, snowboarders, BMXers, skateboarders, rollerbladers and more have the opportunity to feed off one another. While many rifts exist between some of these sports, the dividing lines disappear under the Woodward roof; it's fun to see everyone gel as one big family.

Woodward Tahoe becomes the sixth Woodward installation worldwide, and I have no doubt that we'll be seeing a seventh, and an eighth, and so on, in the not too distant future. Big thanks to everyone who came out to make the Grand Opening a great success.

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