[caption id="attachment_8761" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] #bringbackweeklyparks[/caption] Hello folks! It’s been a while since my last post; hope you’ve all had a good Christmas and New Year. So the season is now well under way, which is awesome. Unfortunately this spells the end of the fortnightly parks at Chill FactorE until the end of February. Before I go any further, I should probably just qualify that this is in no way a rant, I’ll always be grateful for having a dome on my doorstep.... however I think the following subject is quite an important issue and should be highlighted. It would appear (as it has been mooted several times in the past) that Freestyle nights aren’t much of a money spinner anymore (if they ever have been). There has been talk of park nights stopping altogether, which is terrible prospect - we have some incredibly talented and dedicated park shapers in the UK that at times are underappreciated, they definitely don’t get the recognition they deserve (by both punters and the companies that they work for). I don’t know if you’ve ever helped shape a park, but its hours upon hours of hard work, most would call it a labour of love. There’s also an army of amazing freestyle coaches and instructors that are underutilised like The Boobytrap and Maverix (just to mention a couple). All these people, along with our talented pros and crews like The Grindhouse are helping push the UK snowboarding scene forward and for that they should be applauded. Now, you could argue that freestyle is just one aspect of snowboarding (and you would correct); but you would be an idiot to deny that the UK scene isn’t heavily freestyle influenced, just check your Instagram feed. By stopping freestyle nights you would be harming the exact scene that you are catering for. The domes and dryslopes have produced some awesome talents over the years, and without regular parks you are forcing these talents abroad or into other sports. I understand that domes are businesses first and foremost, but if freestyle isn’t financially viable it can’t hurt to sit down and discuss a solution with their customers (you know... the ones that come all year round, not just to practise for a week before their annual holiday). I suspect it’s more a case of prioritising which activity is more profitable to the company.... (lessons). The only thing I will ask is this: How are you planning on keeping people coming back after they have leant to ski or snowboard? I have been to dryslopes within the last year where both staff and customers are so desperate to ride freestyle that they have paid for features to be built with their own money (mainly due to lack of funding). What does this tell you? I can’t help but feel that there are opportunities being missed. Whether our domes are going to attempt to come up with a solution and take some responsibility remains to be seen. The death of the Saturday night TAMLANDZ (RIP) seems to indicate not. Be grateful for your domes, be grateful for your dryslopes, but don’t forget to thank your park shapers, your instructors and the people leading the way and pushing us forward against the odds.