During Winter 2011-2012, Smugglers' was the first resort in the East to partner with Vermont's Burton Snowboards to develop a permanent Burton Riglet Park, an on-snow play area with fun terrain features designed for introducing young children to snowboarding.
The park's focal point is a "treehouse," unique to Smugglers'. This elevated platform features ramps that children can ride down, balance stations on the treehouse platform and a lift chair that swings to help kids practice getting on and off the lift. "This treehouse concept takes the Riglet Park to the next level," says Jeff Boliba, Global Resort Director for Burton Snowboards.
Playing in the Riglet Park on small rolling hills, miniature box-style rails, pyramids and a mini-halfpipe allows children to gain the necessary balance and muscle memory to begin sliding and making turns on sloped terrain. The park is located at the Resort's Sir Henry's Learning Area with conveyor lift access.
For children in Smugglers' all-day snowboarding camps for ages 3-5 the learning process is enhanced by a low camper to instructor ratio and the indoor use of balance boards to prepare children for on-slope balance and riding. On the snow, these young children benefit from Burton's Riglet Reel, a retractable strap attached to the snowboard that enables an instructor to guide the child over features with ease.
At Smugglers', beginning snowboarders of all ages enjoy Burton Learn To Ride equipment. The LTR snowboards feature a softer flex, edge bevel and a convex base, which reduces the likelihood of catching an edge and makes linking turns easier. LTR boots and bindings are softer flexing, allowing for increased comfort and as well as easing the userís ability to guide the board into a turn. Youth bindings feature one strap with simple ratchets, and for the youngest riders, boots are secured with easily adjusted velcro.
"Young kids can excel at snowboarding with specialized support from their instructors and Burton LTR gear. When we launched our all-day snowboarding camp for 4 and 5 years olds in 2002, we were one of the first resorts to begin teaching snowboarding at such a young age," comments Harley Johnson, director of Smugglers' Snow Sport University. She adds, "Then we began teaching 3-year-olds because we were confident that the instructor/child ratio and LTR equipment would help these little ones excel on the slopes. The Riglet Park is the latest indicator of our commitment to promoting the sport of snowboarding to even the youngest little rippers."
During Winter 2012-2013, Smugglers' Snow Sport University began offering two hour Riglet Park sessions for 3 to 6 year olds, in addition to full day snowboarding camp for ages 3 to 5.
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