Behind the Scenes of the Perfect Snow Playground

Behind the Scenes of the Perfect Snow Playground

Remember when a crew of snowboarders took over an abandoned resort? Here’s how they did it.

Curated by Originally published by Red Bull on May 10th, 2016.


Remember Red Gerard, Tim-Kevin Ravnjak and Marko Grilc‘s recent adventure at an abandoned resort? The Slovenian duo assembled a crew of riders, shapers, filmers and photographers and headed for Kanin, a picturesque resort high above Soča Valley in Slovenia, where they built a one-of-a-kind Perfect Playground.

Snowboarder Red Gerard pulls an Indy Air during filming of Pefect Playground for Red Bull in a disused ski resort in Bovec, Slovenia
Red Gerard, Indy Air © Chris Wellhausen

Building and riding your own park is not considered easy business at the best of times, in the simplest of circumstances, when everything you need is at hand or nearby. Building and riding a park a mile above the small town of Bovec, in an abandoned resort that has no running water, no mountain rescue and no operating lifts is another story.

Snowboarders inspect ramp built for the Perfect Playground film project for Red Bull in a disused ski resort in Slovenia
That’s what we call a kicker! © Chris Wellhausen

It took the shaping crew two solid weeks, well over 140 hours of teamwork and countless calories to prepare the setup. For the Big Air ramp alone a staggering 13,000 cubic meters of snow had to be moved and shaped.

With only one snowcat and hand tools at their disposal, shapers had to be pretty resourceful to meet the daily construction plan. The upside of building a park in an abandoned resort, however, is that you can take advantage of whatever you can salvage around the place. A snow blower found buried somewhere deep in the attic of the upper gondola station made life a lot easier.

After days of back-breaking work, five unique features transformed the eerie, lifeless slopes into a snowboarder’s dream getaway, loaded with potential. On arrival Grilo, Ravnjak, Gerard, Žiga Rakovec and Clemens Millauer grabbed the shovels for some last-minute fine-tuning, and it didn’t take long before the Perfect Playground was ready to shred.

With everything in place, it was a matter of getting up there, having fun, laying down tricks and being back to the valley before sunset. Or so it seemed. Shredding the Perfect Playground proved to be an adventure on a scale few had expected.

The daily commute to the top alone presented a challenge unlike any other. Since the last gondola bound for Kanin departed Bovec three years ago, nowadays the only way up includes a 45-minute ride in a Land Rover Defender, followed by an equally long, yet even gnarlier ascent with a snow cat via a narrow road, made by bulldozers and dynamite barely six months ago.

Marko Grilc performs a double backflip during filming of Prefect Playground at the disused Kanin ski resort in Slovenia
Marko Grilc nails a double backflip © Chris Wellhausen

The 18-strong crew required two Defenders and two Pisten Bully 400 snowcats in order to reach the Perfect Playground, but three days into the feat a rock derailed a snow cat’s track and left most of the crew stranded halfway up the mountain. Fortunately the diehard attitude and amazing skill of the cat drivers saved the day, and the whole project. The remaining cat most likely broke the official load carrying record, when it reached the summit with 18 people onboard.

The team who made the Perfect Playground video for Red Bull pose in Kanin's disused ski resort in Slovenia
The team © Chris Wellhausen

Once up there, riding wasn’t easy either. Hitting the features often meant hiking back up, as the slushy spring snow prevented the crew from using sleds for shuttling uphill. Rough snow conditions and fast-changing weather gave everybody a pretty harsh time, but the desire to stomp tricks prevailed.

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