by Dash Hegeman

It was a busy week at HoliMont. The Acrobag Progression Tour hit, to the delight of many. From Wednesday, March 26 to Sunday, March 30, skiers and snowboarders of all ages and ability levels came out to check out the airbag.

For those not familiar, the Acrobag is a tool to help people safely learn new tricks. Described as a “great big nice pillowy soft air bag” and a “tool that’s safe for learning,” the Acrobag has helped athletes of all sports reach new limits. From mountain bikers learning their first backflip, to Peetu Piiroinen perfecting his flips on route to winning an Olympic silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Games, the Acrobag has helped athletes safely learn new skills in a controlled environment.

Acrobag is a rider-owned and operated company whose mission is to reduce injuries while advancing athletic progression.

Former professional snowboarder Marc-Andre Tarte owns Acrobag and brings a wealth of knowledge and energy to the events that he runs. Tarte and his crew rolled into HoliMont on Tuesday, March 25 and, with the assistance of the HoliMont Mountain Crew, they began constructing the jumps for the 50’ by 50’ airbag.

Despite less than ideal jump formation conditions, by the end of the day a large 45’ wide by 12’ tall jump was shaped at the bottom of Snow Bird. All that needed to be done after that was to let it set up overnight and then do some grooming/shaping the next morning and it would be good to go.

Naturally, Wednesday’s Acrobag traffic was minimal, but as the week progressed, so did Acrobag sales. On Thursday the 27th, Acrobag saw the nicest weather that it would get during its stay at HoliMont. The morning started off brisk, but as the day went on, the temperature rose a bit and a solid group of local skiers and riders came out to show off their skills in the air.

By the time the weekend hit, HoliMont Members were chomping at the bit to start hitting the airbag. Saturday the 29th was HoliMont’s annual pond skimming event, which brought a lot of members and guests out to the club. The circus-themed pond skimming (put on by HoliMont’s Lift Maintenance Department) was entertaining to the spectators and challenging to the brave participants.

Two people made it across the chilling pond (while dressed in circus attire) and the other 23 participants got wet. Some much more than others. Amid the costumed participants, the Lift Maintenance staff in full circus attire, and the elephant that was walking around the pond, HoliMont really did become a circus for the afternoon.

Between pond skimming, the freestyle airbag and the tubing airbag that Acrobag brought this year and set up specifically for the weekend, the airbags got a lot of action throughout the course of the day. In fact, after pond skimming culminated it started raining, but the Acrobag fans would not be deterred. Even as the rain poured from the sky, kids kept racing down the hill on snow tubes and getting vaulted into one airbag while others adjacent to the tubing slope launched themselves into the air on their skis/snowboard and practiced twisting, spinning and flipping into the massive airbag.

HoliMont plans to stay open through April 13 and, as always, will be open to the public Monday through Friday. We hope to see you out here enjoying the slopes before we shut them down for the season.  With any luck, we’ll even have some nice spring conditions to enjoy before it is all said and done.