Big Air Tower at Fenway Starts to Rise
A massive 150-foot snow ramp is slowly rising from the infield at Fenway Park as the fabled bandbox gears up to host Polartec Big Air. It’s one of three official events on the U.S. Grand Prix winter tour of freeskiers and snowboarders.
Fenway Park has hosted concerts, ice hockey, soccer, football, and more, but this will be the first skiing competition in its 103-year history.
The snow ramp, constructed mainly from steel planking and proprietary scaffolding, will run 338-feet long from the outfield warning track to home plate when completed. One of the more unique quirks of the snow ramp is that the 89-foot corral at the end will have competitors landing their jumps roughly where home plate is located. Because there is no bridge from the bleachers connecting the tower, competitors will have to climb several flights of stairs or ride an industrial elevator to reach the top of the snow ramp. When the snow ramp is fully completed, it will be taller than the Fenway Park light-towers and visible from the MassPike, according to project leader Mike Zorena of ConsultantZee.
“To fit in Fenway Park is a challenge. Proportionally, it’s working very well,” said Zorena in an interview at the ballpark.
Construction began January 18 and should be finished by February 2. The tear down of the tower will take 4-5 days depending on the weather. Oh, right, the weather.
It’s been a mild winter, so event organizers are not taking anything for granted at Fenway Park, particularly the snow situation. As long as temperatures cooperate, snowmakers from Killington are expected to help put down a fine layer of white stuff for the competition and operate a specialized snowcat (a snow grooming machine) for the out-run part of the ramp. If things are really dicey, organizers will call on the help of Crystal Ice in New Bedford to provide them with chipped ice and other snow materials for the ramp.
“We’re feeling good. We have contingency plans,” said Fred Olsen, director of special events at Fenway.
Portions of the park will be closed to spectators due to sightline issues, so organizers are anticipating roughly 25,000 people will attend the two nights of competition. It appears the best vantage points for the event will be from the roof seats.
Polartec Big Air at Fenway is scheduled for February 11-12, 6-10:30 p.m. Tickets for individual days start at $30. Two-day passes are available. Go here for more information on ticketing.