Terrain park proposed for Eagle

A Boise business owner says he can 'bring the mountain to the kids.'

cmsewell@idahostatesman.comMay 29, 2013 

Ryan Neptune has a plan. He wants to create a 10-acre, year-round playground offering snowboarding and tubing in the winter and wakeboarding, skateboarding and mountain biking in the warmer months.

All this would be just minutes from Downtown Boise and Meridian, in Eagle's backyard.

What is the plan?

Neptune's company, Gateway Parks, would make about $1 million in improvements to the 200-acre Eagle Sports Complex off Horseshoe Bend Road. Those would include adding a "magic carpet" lift for tubers, snowboarders and mountain bikers, and a multifeature snowboard park.

Key to the plan is turning a large excavated hole that was intended to be the now-defunct Velodrome cycling facility into a 19 million-gallon reservoir. The reservoir would be used for snow making in the winter and "cable wakeboarding" and fire suppression in the summer. As part of the improvements, the company also would repair the skateboarding park and improve mountain bike trails.

Neptune told the Eagle City Council on Tuesday night that the plan can come at no cost to the city. The company would return 10 percent of lift-ticket revenue to the city.

Is it cold enough? What if it does not snow?

"It is not going to be an issue to make snow here," Neptune said. He said he has put his snow-making skills to use in 70- and 80-degree weather in San Diego and Las Vegas.

"Operationally, it is a flip of the switch for us. It is an easy, easy thing to do," he said. "We can make snow and a plethora of it."

What is cable wakeboarding?

An overhead cable system pulls the boarder across the water, simulating a rider being pulled behind a boat. Cable skiing is popular in Europe and is slowly gaining momentum in the U.S.

How much would tickets cost?

Neptune's initial estimate is about $15 for a daily ticket and about $100 for a season pass.

What is Gateway Parks?

The company says it aims to create affordable, family-focused parks in urban settings, encouraging kids and families to learn and develop an appreciation for activities often limited to far-away and expensive ski areas.

Gateway Parks includes Neptune; two-time ski jumping Olympian Bob Holme, who is Denver's Ruby Hill urban terrain park developer; Mike Langdon, who has experience with resort operations at Timberline in Oregon; and snow engineer Richard Schollum.

Gateway opened its first park, Hawk Island, in Lansing, Mich. It has plans to open facilities in Eagle, Milwaukee, Rockford, Ill., and Brooklyn.

Who is Ryan Neptune?

The Boise native was the 1999 U.S. National Boardercross champion. He has helped design and build parks for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and U.S., World Cup and Grand Prix events.

Neptune, 38, is co-owner of Planet Snow Design, builder of halfpipes and snow park terrain; owner of Neptune Industries, builder of skate parks; and owner of Planet Snow Tools, which manufactures grooming equipment, rails, picnic tables and terrain park jumps.

What is next?

Neptune and his company are putting together a park concessionaire contract. The city will schedule a public hearing to discuss contract specifics. If the city approves a contract, construction could start by July 1 and would take about 45 days to complete.

Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428

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