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(This arti­cle may or may not con­tain affil­i­ate links. What does that mean?)

It’s a side-effect of par­ent­ing. Once your kids get close to 10 years old, you are sud­den­ly the least cool per­son they know. No mat­ter what you were before becom­ing their moth­er or father, you are now the voice of Char­lie Brown’s teacher any­time you try to talk to them. A rem­e­dy to this hope­less uncool­ness is to take them on a trip to one of the 12 Wood­ward extreme sports cam­pus loca­tions, per­fect for fam­i­ly adven­tures, spread across North Amer­i­ca. There, you can drop from the lip of a wood­en half-pipe, feel your body whipped up by grav­i­ty as the tube curls back and launch­es you, spin­ning, fly­ing, into the air, after which your kids will final­ly real­ize just how awe­some you real­ly are. 

 

Woodward Park City

© Rina Nehdar

 

OK, this might not be you but the guys and girls who broke their bones in the 70s and 80s, try­ing to land those types of tricks on skate­boards or bikes, who crashed into the mer­ci­less con­crete of emp­ty pools, are all grown up now and have kids of their own. Like most par­ents, they want to teach their chil­dren what they know but they also want to pro­tect them from being hurt. The solu­tion is Wood­ward, the most state-of-the-art, indoor-out­door extreme sports park. 

 

 

 

 

 

Woodward Park City, Utah

 

Woodward Park City

No need to break bones © Rina Nehdar

 

Wood­ward began 50 years ago in Penn­syl­va­nia as a gym­nas­tics train­ing facil­i­ty, the extreme sports of those days. Its pro­gram nat­u­ral­ly pro­gressed to include BMX bik­ing and skate­board­ing, the new­er extreme sports gain­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty in the 80s. The idea was to offer kids a safer way to learn those skills. Wood­ward invites all types of kids into their camps and class­es, from the nev­er-before-tried-it to the Olympic and X‑Game com­peti­tor. Today, Wood­ward facil­i­ties offer work­shops in skate­board­ing, scooter­ing, BMX and moun­tain bik­ing, cheer­lead­ing, park­our, tub­ing and snow­board­ing. The dif­fer­ent areas around their facil­i­ties are divid­ed into what they call Zones. Each Zone has Coach­es respon­si­ble for train­ing the kids in each of the offered activ­i­ties. Zone Coach­es offer tips based on their own exten­sive expe­ri­ence to progress safe­ly and effi­cient­ly to their goals. Wood­ward also offers class­es in dig­i­tal media for friends to get those stunts in action.

 

Woodward Park City

Learn By Doing © Rina Nehdar

 

I took my 11-year-old son, Kaleb to the grand-open­ing of Wood­ward’s newest indoor-out­door cam­pus in Park City, Utah on Decem­ber 14, 2019. Kaleb is just now get­ting into scooter­ing and skate­board­ing with Knox and they both love to watch the Wood­ward-based show, Camp Wood­ward on YouTube. Camp Wood­ward fol­lows the lives of young, extreme ath­letes as they test their skills and friend­ships at that first Wood­ward loca­tion in Pennsylvania. 

 

Roman from Camp Woodward and Kaleb

Kaleb with Roman from Camp Woodward

 

 

Action Sports Hub

 

On open­ing day, we walked into the indoor sec­tion of the 125-acre Wood­ward Park City cam­pus called the Action Sports Hub. My friend, Lexi Rohn­er, who had recent­ly moved to Park City from Los Ange­les, told me the com­mu­ni­ty had long antic­i­pat­ed the kick­off of this new enter­tain­ment and fit­ness com­plex, so lines formed ear­ly. As a gift to the sur­round­ing cities that day, Wood­ward did­n’t charge admis­sion on open­ing day and donat­ed 100% of their earn­ings for oth­er things to local charities. 

 

Grand Opening Woodward Park City

Grand Open­ing Wood­ward Park City @ Rina Nehdar

 

First, we joined a group gath­ered inside the Action Sports Hub for a tour. We watched pro ath­letes Tony Hawk, Tyson Bower­bank and Lyn‑Z Pas­trana, as well as some of the kids from the Camp Wood­ward show, Zion and Roman, do skate­board­ing tricks in the Con­crete Park. Par­ents and guests observed all the action from a view­ing plat­form set right above. There they oooohed and ahh­h­hed while the ath­letes pushed their lim­its. Alco­hol laws are tight in Utah but there’s a bar a few steps from the deck where vis­i­tors can order food and drinks while being impressed by the daredevils.

 

Grand Opening Woodward Park City

Con­crete Park © Rina Nehdar

 

Mini-Mega

We head­ed over to an exhi­bi­tion at the oth­er side of the facil­i­ty where ath­letes took turns rolling down what they call the Mini-Mega; five ramps, of var­i­ous sizes, with a ramp that shoots up at the end, launch­ing the dare­dev­il into space with a for­giv­ing land­ing into a pit of foam bricks. 

 

Grand Opening Woodward Park City

There’s Noth­ing Mini About It! © Rina Nehdar

 

Although rid­ers per­formed many of the stunts on bikes, there were also Wood­ward-designed snow­boards and skis, with wheels on the bot­tom, to sim­u­late what it would be like to attempt their leaps out on the actu­al snow in the out­door park outside. 

 

Woodward Park City

Wheel­ing Around © Rina Nehdar

 

As ath­letes com­plet­ed mul­ti­ple flips in the air, while hold­ing onto their sports equip­ment, the throng sur­round­ing the area reg­u­lar­ly dropped their jaws, punc­tured their faces with round­ed lips and hoot­ed in aston­ish­ment. Even the ath­letes were impressed.

 

Woodward Park City

Ooooohh­hh © Rina Nehdar

 

On reg­u­lar­ly opened days,  guests can scan their ID wrist­bands, before and after per­form­ing these feats, to obtain video footage of their action. This way they can cap­ture their progress, iden­ti­fy what needs improve­ment and obvi­ous­ly, cel­e­brate their shred­ding abilities.

Above the Mini-Mega, bik­ers and skate­board­ers raced back and forth on the Pump Track, a length of wood floor undu­lat­ing like waves with rails and a wall to attempt tricks. 

 

Woodward Park City

Fly­ing High © Rina Nehdar

 

The Pump Track, and many of the ele­ments around Wood­ward, are designed by leg­endary ramp archi­tect, Nate Wes­sel and Cal­i­for­nia Skateparks who also build the parks for the X‑Games and the Olympics.

 

Woodward Park City

Nate Wes­sel and Me © Rina Nehdar

 

“The whole expe­ri­ence is designed to be a pro­gres­sion,” said Ali Goulet, the leg­endary pro-snow­board­er assigned to be our guide for the day. And that’s the thing. Even­tu­al­ly, these skate­board­ing and snow­board­ing pio­neers grow up and most have to get real jobs because the younger gen­er­a­tion nudges them out of the spot­light. But now there’s anoth­er option. Goulet and every coach that works for Wood­ward has a pro­fes­sion­al back­ground in these extreme sports. “I get to teach and guide the next gen­er­a­tion,” Goulet said. 

 

Woodward Park City

Buds © Ali Goulet

 

Goulet called Kaleb over to fol­low him from the mind-bend­ing ramps of the Mini-Mega over to the train­ing area for it; two long con­crete rooms con­nect­ed by a wall open­ing. A mini-ramp and foam cov­ered stairs and rail filled one side and two small­er half-pipes dis­sect­ed by a foam edge sat in the oth­er. There, a pack of tweens prac­ticed tricks on scoot­ers. Goulet found a scoot­er for Kaleb and after a bunch of my prod­ding and a hearty invi­ta­tion from the old­er boys, my not-usu­al­ly-shy guy final­ly joined them. 

 

Woodward Park City

 

He watched for a while and then took off from the top of the lit­tle ramp toward a wall that curved up from the bot­tom. He stopped him­self before his momen­tum took him up the wall. He did this a few times between the flips and mid-air scoot­er rota­tions exe­cut­ed by the more expe­ri­enced boys. I walked away because I guessed my pres­ence was embar­rass­ing him as Goulet was telling him ways to nav­i­gate the wall once he felt secure enough to get there. 

 

Woodward Park City

The Crew © Rina Nehdar

 

Around the cor­ner, a launch ramp, the size of a large liv­ing room, led to a giant air pil­low that absorbed the impact after bik­ers and skate­board­ers hurled them­selves into the air above it, prac­tic­ing tricks they’d lat­er attempt on the Mini-Mega. I watched for a while mar­veling at their bravery.

 

Woodward Park City

No. He did­n’t get hurt. © Rina Nehdar

 

Mountain Park

 

The out­door por­tion of the com­plex, called the Moun­tain Park, invites snow­board­ers, skiers and tubers to do their thing on its extreme cours­es, trails and runs.

 

Woodward Park City Mountain Park

Wood­ward Park City — Moun­tain Park © Rina Nehdar

 

We arrived for a rit­u­al called “First Chair” that involves a his­to­ry of cows in Switzer­land and the cow­bells that rang their arrival back at the vil­lage after graz­ing the hills around it at the end of sum­mer. Dur­ing the win­ter, the Swiss used these dor­mant cow­bells to cheer on the cow farm­ers, who were also down­hill skiers obvi­ous­ly, as they made their way down the moun­tain. First Chair cer­e­monies are used world­wide to cel­e­brate the open­ing of new ski resorts. After what seemed like hours of prepa­ra­tion for this in the cold weath­er, but was prob­a­bly about 20 min­utes, the first four rid­ers final­ly got a chance to put their tush in the chair­lift and ride up the moun­tain. One of the men who got that hon­or, Kasen Bak­er, had arrived at 6 am to be one of the first to ride up the new moun­tain. “I’ve already bought my sea­son pass,” Bak­er said before his ride up. 

 

Woodward Park City Mountain Park

Lucky Rid­ers © Rina Nehdar

 

A ski lift and mag­ic car­pets bring kids and adults of var­i­ous skill lev­els up the moun­tain. Jumps, rails, moguls and snow-packed quar­ter-pipes pre­sent­ed chal­lenges that ath­letes had start­ed to work out in the indoor hub and were now ready to try on the real deal. In the sum­mer, this area con­verts into moun­tain bik­ing courses.

 

Woodward: A Place For All Abilities

 

Lexi brought her triplets to the grand open­ing and I found them inside the Action Sports Hub on the padded exer­cise floor. Coach­es sep­a­rat­ed a pack of excit­ed, young ath­letes into small­er groups to get their first expe­ri­ences around Wood­ward and to tour all the oth­er floor Zones: Park­our, Tram­po­line and Acro. 

 

Woodward Park City Action Sports Hub

Wood­ward Park City Action Sports Hub © Rina Nehdar

 

I watched as one tiny fig­ure, maybe six years old, jumped off a two-sto­ry plat­form into a foam pit. It turned out to be the daugh­ter of extreme ath­letes, Lyn‑Z and Travis Pas­trana.

 

Woodward Park City Action Sports Hub

Apples and Trees © Rina Nehdar

 

But Wood­ward is a place for all types of kids, includ­ing those with spe­cial needs. My friend Lex­i’s chil­dren were born pre­ma­ture and have dealt with phys­i­o­log­i­cal chal­lenges their whole lives, how­ev­er, her son, Cole, held the hands of a Zone Coach who gen­tly guid­ed him while he jumped soft­ly on a tram­po­line. Cole’s broth­er, Chase, flew behind them, on anoth­er tram­po­line, what appeared to be about 20 feet into the air. 

 

Woodward Park City Action Sports Hub

Chase and Cole Rohn­er © Rina Nehdar

 

The Tram­po­line Zone offers sev­en tram­po­lines, two of them called “Super Tram­p’s,” the largest tram­po­lines in the world, where jumpers bounce three times high­er than on a nor­mal tram­po­line so they could learn aer­i­al tricks that can’t be taught any­where else. Around us, cheer­lead­ers prac­ticed mid-air tum­bles, kids som­er­sault­ed down foam wedges and some ran head­long into more foam pits. A DJ played bump­ing music above it all on a raised floor.

 

Woodward Park City Action Sports Hub

Bumpin Beats © Rina Nehdar

 

I found Kaleb still prac­tic­ing on the scoot­er, with the oth­er boys root­ing for his progress. He went down the mini-ramp, even doing a lit­tle hop in the mid­dle of his ride. He got to the wall and twist­ed his body to carve an arc onto it as he turned his scoot­er back toward his new friends. The oth­er boys high-fived him when he returned to the line-up. His smile beamed with increased con­fi­dence and my heart melted.

 

Woodward Park City Action Sports Hub

Ali Goulet and Kaleb on right © Rina Nehdar

 

Even if you’re not out there, drop­ping down a five-sto­ry plat­form on your BMX or buzzing around kid­ney shaped bowls on a skate­board, the fact that you know of a place where you could take your kids to learn to do that, makes you a way cool­er per­son than your kids ever imagined.

 

Woodward Park City Video

 

Now you can watch the whole thing in ACTION!

 

When You Go

 

 

Fly

Delta and South­west Air­lines offer two-hour non-stop flights from Los Ange­les to Salt Lake City. Park City is about a half hour dri­ve from Salt Lake City.

 

Drive

It takes about 10 and a half hours to dri­ve to Park City through the I‑15 N.

 

Stay

We stayed at the Hyatt Place Park City which had a jacuzzi, that, yes, we went into just to say we did it with snow around us. The room was clean and spa­cious and had a L‑shaped couch sit­ting area where you could chill if your kids are in bed. They also pro­vid­ed a nice break­fast buf­fet and the lob­by has a bar that also serves light meals and snacks. There is a bus stop right in front that takes you into the bucol­ic down­town or any­where you want to go and guess what? They’re all free.

Kaleb and I got invit­ed by the com­pa­ny that owns Wood­ward, Pwdr, to the Grand Open­ing so we could share our incred­i­ble fun with oth­er fam­i­lies who like active fun. They are awesome!

 

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