Lord of the jumps and boxes in the Snowpark Scuol

Curdin Erni

Der Snowpark Scuol im Unterengadin, Schweiz. Bild: Dominik Täuber
The snow crunches under the soles, the slopes empty and the après-ski begins. On the "Naluns" slope, a piste machine pushes its way up the mountain and piles up snow. Next to the regular slope, the "Snowpark" is created with kickers, rails and boxes. Curdin Erni steers the large machine with centimeter precision. He has been rebuilding the park on Scuol's local mountain every winter for 14 years. At the beginning of the winter season, he looks forward to the first big snow so that the base for the park can be built.
Curdin Erni. Bild: Dominik Täuber

A sustained enthusiasm

Already as a small boy Curdin built small jumps, over which he jumped with the skis or the bob. When he started to make the slopes of the ski area unsafe with his snowboard, new "jump hills" were also diligently accumulated on the mountain. The boy grew up and with him grew the jumps that he built.

Arbeit am Snowpark Scuol bei Nacht. Bild: Dominik Täuber.

The snowfall sets the tone

During the day, he is deputy to the technical manager of the Motta Naluns mountain railroads. But at night, his undivided attention belongs to the park. The work at the "Snowpark" depends on the snow and the weather: the amount, consistency and timing of the snowfall determine Curdin's working day. Sometimes the job lasts until late at night or starts at 3 in the morning.

Shaper im Snowpark Scuol. Bild: Dominik Täuber.

Diverse support

He receives support from his two "shapers," but also from the technical side. For example, today's snow groomers offer detailed data on slope inclination, shovel position and even GPS positions. The machine is able to do the bear part, but for certain jobs the chain saw or even the classic shovel are still used. These are strongly necessary for the visual appearance and thus for the image of the park.

Früh am Morgen im Snowpark Scuol

Something for everyone

During construction, great importance is attached to including obstacles that appeal to every level. On the one hand, Curdin still likes to jump over the big kickers, but on the other hand he also takes his three-year-old son to the park for his first turns. Curdin appreciates the south-facing slope of "his" park. The shade keeps the jumps hard, while the landing areas are softened by the sun. The panoramic view also sets Scuol apart from other parks.

Sicherheit im Snowpark Scuol.

Safety increasingly important

In the past, the parks were negligent and criminal, he said. Although today the adrenaline kick is still very much sought after, the parks have become steadily safer. This is influenced by the jump and landing angle, the distance in between and many other factors. Safety aspects form the most important experience value, which is difficult to learn. For example, the trajectory of a kicker is analyzed with the help of thrown snowballs in addition to precise calculations.

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