BLACKFALDS — The Bjarnason family were looking for some thrills on Saturday afternoon and weren’t disappointed at Riders’ Rush Cable Park.
Shayne Bjarnason and three-year-old son Logan were all smiles after their cable-pulled inner tube ride in All-Star Park.
“It’s actually cool,” said Shayne after completing a run. “It goes a little faster than you think it would.”
The cable park has only been open for six days but word is already spreading.
Owner Sam Kiat said the Facebook page has drawn 8,000 hits in two weeks.
Kiat got the idea for the cable park after seeing a similar setup on a trip to the Philippines, where it was used in a water setting for wakeboarders.
The cable system had already been adopted for snow in numerous places in North America and Europe and the Blackfalds resident saw an opportunity.
Powered by a 480-volt electric motor, the cable can whisk inner tubers, snowboarders or skiers down the course at speeds up to 45 km/h, although around 30 km/h is typical for most riders.
At the end of the several hundred-metre course the pulley reverses and pulls riders back to the start.
Bjarnason is glad to see a new attraction in town.
“I think it’s just a great thing for the town, that’s for sure. It’s nice to have some stuff for the kids to do.”
Josh Kiat, Sam’s 17-year-old son, is an avid snowboarder and says the cable system provides a similar experience. The pull takes a little getting used to at first, but beginners can set the speed to as low as they want until they are comfortable.
Riders’ Rush has a number ramps and other features for snowboarders to test their skills, similar to what you would find in a mountain terrain park.
The system allows two riders to go at once if they like.
Sam Kiat said he bought the equipment from Florida, where it was used for wakeboarders.
The installer said the calbe parks are really taking off in Canada. Ontario has more than 20.
Kiat wants to find a site to set up his cable gear for wakeboarders this summer. He needs a stretch of privately owned water at least 24 metres wide and 1.2 metres deep.
Those who want to check out the park should bring a helmet. It costs $15 per person for a one-hour ride and $25 per person for two hours for residents and $20 and $30 for non-residents. Group events can also be booked.
For information go to: www.ridersrush.com