What do you get when give a park rat architecture software and some creative license? A parkitect, and one of the best terrain parks in Hokkaido.
When Hanazono’s head park designer Taiki-san came to Niseko four years ago, the park was barely a few kickers and rails. Now riders can toy with eight features on the one line. The advanced line kicks off with one of the biggest and best half pipes in the region, leading into the Stomping Ground and two running 6m and 7m table-tops. There’s also an 8m flat rail into a steep landing, a 6m step up jump, and after a bit more snow the park’s centrepiece – a 12m table.
“It’s a good flow for the rider,” says Taiki-san. “It’s getting better and it’s started to get famous but it’s still not enough – I still have bigger ideas.”
That’s pretty exciting to hear considering Hanazono is serious about continuing to improve the park. They’ve just invested in a top of the range PistenBully park cat and hired a top shaper from Australia – where there isn’t much powder so a good park is an essential feature of their resorts.
One of the major new features of the park this year is an old bus which not only looks extremely cool but has created a buzz among park riders. The bus itself has an ineresting story. It was driven from the mainland by an old guy who parked it at Hanazono a few years ago and lived in it while he built a house. The house is now finished and with no use for the tiring old bus, he donated it the the resort.