Halfpipe Construction: The Site

The Site
In considering the site, three concerns need to be addressed. These includethe physical dimensions of the overall halfpipe site (including above groundor permanent foundation pipes), the slope of the land, and public accessincluding the technical issues of lifts and electricity.

The first thought of building a pipe needs to center on the decision of thehalfpipe being above ground or shaped as a permanent foundation in the ground.Here is a breakdown on the advantages and disadvantages of both systems:

Above Ground Halfpipe

Medium level of thought and planning
Medium level of cost to build and maintain
Easy to move if site needs change
Every year you start over
Takes substantial amount of snow to construct
Orientation to sun is a medium factor
Spectator viewing adequate at best
Maintenance less difficult

Permanent Foundation Pipe

High level of planning
High level of initial cost
Not easy to move
Consistent base to start
Saves on amount of snow needed
Orientation to sun a high factor
Spectator viewing is enhanced

The permanent foundation pipe’s main attractions are the consistent basein which to build the halfpipe and the fact that it takes less snow to construct.The maintenance issues, however, are extremely high and variable. This meansthe level of commitment and cost precludes many areas from building permanentfoundations. As it stands, the best pipes are built above ground becausethey allow for the continued maintenance without hitting dirt or grass thatis found in permanent structures.

The physical site for an above ground halfpipe needs to be at least 60 meterswide and 150 meters long. This will guarantee enough room for the halfpipechannel, 10 meters of roll-out deck on each wall and a start and finish area.I also guarantees that the snowcats have enough turning radius to move snowaround when building the pipe.

The slope of the halfpipe is very important. The perfect pitch for a halfpipeis 18(deg) and should be measured with an inclinometer for verification.This pitch needs to be kept throughout the construction of the halfpipe andthe final product (the inner slope of the channel) should be consistent fromtop to bottom.

Public access, including the technical issues of lifts and electricity, arevery important for the overall use of the pipe. The pipe should not be placedaway from the public. Rather, it should be close to facilities like ski liftsfor access, built at the base of the area for easy transportation and viewingand close to facilities for material moving, electrical connections for music,and competition results. The halfpipe should be a showcase venue and shouldhave access for all riders to enjoy.