They look like snow parks, but are designed to be varied slopes for the whole family. The “funslope” has been an integral part of the ski areas for several years now. What is the attraction of these fun runs?
Funslope – fun on the piste for everyone
What exactly is a funslope? There is a simple-sounding answer to this question: funslopes are defined areas of slopes in a ski area, which are equipped with thematically arranged obstacles. So far, this definition is very similar to a snowpark. Contrary to the common opinion of the unsuspecting, it is crystal clear: funslopes are not snowparks. Snowparks are specially designed for freestylers, and mastering the obstacles requires practice and skill. On a funslope, there are elements that are also found in snowparks – for example, smaller kickers remind you of a beginner’s snowpark – but a funslope is rather a mixture of slope, funpark and boardercross and should be easily skiable for everyone.
The aim of this fun piste is – you guessed it – always the fun of skiing; it’s not about speed or a certain style, only fun. Most of the time, there is a sort of ideal line that runs through the course. Sometimes, there are also two lines that run parallel to each other. If the path is wide enough, several riders can ride next to each other, just like on a normal slope. The same rules of conduct apply as on normal downhill runs.
The repertoire of a funslope includes changes of direction in steep or further curves, bridges and tunnels like the “snail”, which is especially popular with children. Sometimes, one or more flat kickers are added. However, it should always be guaranteed that every skier, whether big or small, can change from the normal piste to this varied course and also master it. This concept brings variety to the piste and appeals to just about every skier and snowboarder, from ski school kids to best agers. This also makes funslopes attractive for ski area operators.
Companies such as Young Mountain Marketing GmbH from Graz, who design funslopes and implement them across the Alps, have their hands full because more and more operators want a funslope in their ski area. There is already a wide variety of funslopes in ski areas in Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland, including Oberstdorf, Mayrhofen, Warth-Schröcken, Lenzerheide, Zell am See, Rauris, Sölden, Nassfeld, Alta Badia, Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis and Turracher Höhe.
Important features at a glance
- The goal of the funslope is maximum skiing fun.
- The slope is flat, comparable to a blue piste.
- All obstacles must be suitable for beginners so that the widest possible range of people can use them.
- The length of a funslope is more important than its width, as it is about the longest possible skiing experience.
- It takes much less snow to build a funslope than a snowpark.
- Depending on the orientation of the ski area, creative elements such as colourful figures or ice sculptures are used.
Looking at these features, the differences between a funpark and a funslope become clear. On the other hand, they also show where the future of ski slopes is heading: it’s an easy-to-ski-on slope equipped with entertaining elements that children, young people and adults alike seem to want. No wonder that the concept of the funslopes is working out so well. We are curious to see where the next funslopes will open. Further projects are probably already in the planning stages.
Winter sports fans in search of big jumps and thrills should also plan a visit to a fun park.