By Philip O’Connor
ZHANGJIAKOU, China (Reuters) – Snowboarding and freestyle skiing fans can expect a spectacular backdrop as slopestyle competitions begin at the Beijing Games on a course inspired by Chinese culture and featuring a replica of the famous Great Wall.
The course is at the Zhangjiakou Genting Terrain Park, with the International Ski Federation (FIS) describing it as “arguably the most technically advanced, carefully designed and impressive slopestyle course ever built”.
For Dirk Scheumann, CEO of course designers Schneestern, the challenge was to combine the art and the existing environment at the site, some 200 km (125 miles) northwest of Beijing.
“The main goal was a creative course linked to Chinese culture, and the main challenge was to protect the runners from strong westerly winds,” Scheumann told Reuters.
“Where would you like to be in windy conditions? Behind the wall, right? That’s how the design of the Great Wall of China comes into play.”
Slopestyle courses are typically designed with one set of rails at the top and three jumps at the bottom for athletes to perform jaw-dropping flips and spins after gaining momentum.
“Genting’s track features are installed in steps that descend more and more to the right side. We believe it will serve its purpose and the riders will be able to perform at their best,” Scheumann said.
“Once the wind problem was solved, we went all out to design creative lines, rails, take-offs and landings. We hope to see all the lines we imagined, and even beyond.
Athletes have already expressed their admiration for the eye-catching design.
“The course is quite amazing…there is a stunning snowy Great Wall artwork. I’ve never seen anything like it, they really outdid themselves,” said Zoi Sadowski-Synott, New Zealand snowboarder and Big Air bronze medalist from Pyeongchang.
Australian Tess Coady agreed.
“They’ve done a really good job in the build, and aesthetically it looks really nice – I’m sure we could watch that, but now it looks like it’s going to drive really well too,” said the driver. 21 years old. old said.
For Scheumann and his team, the task of designing courses is constantly evolving.
“With our current experience and tools, we can unite the functionality of sport and the history of the host country’s culture – the Great Wall of China is a great story to present and tell to millions of viewers,” said- he declared.
(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Robert Birsel)