Holiday surprise: Eagle Island State Park gets snow park

csewell@idahostatesman.comDecember 19, 2013 

This weekend urban snow park builder Ryan Neptune will fire up his snow guns and start crafting a tubing and snowboard park. But he is not doing the work at the Ada-Eagle Sports Park, which has been the subject of a bitter dispute between Ada County and the city of Eagle.

While the two agencies spent the past few months bickering, Neptune and Idaho Parks & Recreation entered an agreement for him to do a one-year pilot program at the state-owned Eagle Island State Park off Linder Road.

"If it is successful, we would love to have him come back next year," said Eagle Island State Park manager Gary Shelley.

Neptune's said his goal is a simple one: He just wants kids to have fun. And what is more fun than a big pile of snow? So he brought his snow guns to town and he and his crew are making a big pile of snow at the state park.

Neptune, a Boise native, and his company Gateway Parks have built snowboard and skateboard features at more than 200 venues around the globe. He also has competed professionally and in 1999 was the first U.S. National Boardercross champion.

Eagle Island and Eagle Sports Parks are Neptune's first snow park projects in his hometown.

The Eagle Island snow park will be a smaller version of the snow park Neptune wants to build at the Ada-Eagle Sports Park off Horseshoe Bend Road. It will include a lift, berms and moguls.

The lift equipment is still en route and the snowmaking has just begun. Neptune said he expects the Eagle Island snow park to be fully operational after Christmas. Until then, he is inviting kids to come check out the venue, watch his crew work and "play in the snow."

Neptune said the two snow parks are meant to complement each other and he is not abandoning the Eagle Sports Park project despite nearly five months of roadblocks. He said he understands the two agencies need to work things out and he harbors no ill feelings.

The Eagle Island snow park will be open seven days a week: 4 to 8 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends and holidays. Once the lift is operating, tickets will cost $5 to $10.

The state will receive 5 percent of all ticket sales in addition to the $5 park entrance fee. A state parks passport can be purchased for $10 at any county DMV office.

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