Austrian Resorts Adds Year-Round ‘Startpark’

Austria’s Schladming ski area is set to unveil a new ‘startpark’ this spring at the resort’s Reiteralm ski area, already a favoured destination among ski and snowboard cross specialists who come from all over the world to train at the existing Cross Park there.

The new startpark will have an added dimension that other training facilities do not however – it will be able to operate year-round. That’s thanks to the fact that the ground will be covered with Neveplast dry slope material, so it can still be used once the snow melts.

The layout of the new Neveplast Startpark Reiteralm includes six different training lines with whoops, jumps and parabolic turns especially designed to replicate racetracks on which athletes will compete during the winter season.

“When I used to train the Austrian ski cross National Team I was looking for an efficient solution which would allow my athletes to train all year long. It was indeed one of my top athletes, Katrin Ofner (recent winner of a World Cup race in Val Thorens) who introduced me to Neveplast,” said Willibald Zechner, commonly known as Willi, currently the head coach of the Chinese Alpine skiing National Team, who also covered the role of Head Coach of the Austrian Ski Cross National Team for many years in the past and was the main supporter of the realization of the Cross Park.

“Katrin has been training for a few years now on a pump track and a start section that were especially created for her, and she is very enthusiastic about this solution. Right after a talk with Katrin I immediately reached out to Neveplast and in a very short time we closed a deal for the supply and the sponsorship of the Startpark,” Willi added.

Every athlete who practices the cross discipline, whether on skis or snowboard, knows how important it is the starting phase. The one that begins in the starting gate and ends at the first few whoops. In other words, the phase recreated in the start section.

in the ski and the snowboard cross, athletes start together, and the athlete who gets out of the whoops first has a great advantage over others, since they will find themselves battling with each other to reach the front of the race. It is much better to be in the front from the beginning because following and overtaking others is becoming more and more difficult.

“The lines perfectly suit the characteristics and the needs of ski and snowboard cross specialists. They are entirely covered of Neveplast, eco-friendly and totally regenerable material which replicates the feeling of skiing and snowboarding on a layer of compact snow. The Neveplast material, once laid on the ground, will stay even during the winter season, so to help in case of snow scarcity and hotter weather. In that case, just a few centimetres of snow will be enough to train efficiently and in total safety,” a Neveplast spokeperson said.

The new Neveplast Startpark Reiteralm will open in May 2021, and reservations from athletes from different nationalities are expected, wishing to come to Reiteralm specially to train at the Neveplast summer park.

“I am really looking forward to seeing and testing the Neveplast Starpark Reiteralm personally when it is finalized. I really hope that it will become a favourite destination for international athletes coming from all the continents and that it could be a forge of champions, who, thanks to this training ground open all year long, can grow their strengths and excel in the international scene,” said Neveplast boss Niccolò Bertocchi.