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Paving the Way to the Olympics: Pipelife Latvia Donates Rails to a Snow Park
December 21, 2022
3 min read
Baldones Jib Park is Latvia’s only sports complex that offers a space for budding snow athletes to train for international competitions throughout the entire year. To help develop the park’s ski tracks and rails, Pipelife Latvia donated 24 meters of PE pipes — putting their durability to the test.
Building the Leading SNOW Park in Latvia
In Latvia, sports such as skiing and snowboarding are key to making the most of the long, snowy winters. However, Baldones Jib Park offers more than that — it is the only course in the country where winter sports enthusiasts can train all year round thanks to artificial turf.
“Jib Park provides an environment that helps children find and develop their talents, encourages them to step outside their comfort zone and develop their personality,” says Agnese, the mother of one of the young athletes training in Baldone.
The park has become a place for the local community to engage in various winter sports with or without snow, and also hosts national and international freestyle skiing and snowboarding competitions.
In late 2020, a representative of the Latvian Ski Federation and freestyle skiing enthusiast, Einārs Lansmanis, approached Pipelife Latvia about a potential collaboration with Baldones Jib Park. Einārs felt that Pipelife’s light, crack-resistant pipes could be used to construct safe training obstacles and rails.
ADVANTAGES OF HDPE PIPES FOR SNOWBOARDING AND SKIING
So far, Pipelife Latvia has donated 24 meters of 400-millimeter high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes, which are light, durable and easy to transport. This was ideal for the team at Jib Park as they regularly move rails to create new tracks and maintain the ground underneath.
As Einārs notes, rails made from HDPE are also safer and more suitable for sliding than other materials:
“While being highly durable and crack-resistant, HDPE pipes are more elastic than, for example, metal, and are less likely to cause severe injuries if you fall against them. Furthermore, you can easily slide on plastic even when there’s no snow, which is crucial for us to be able to train throughout the year.”
Hosting international competitions
In 2022, Jib Park’s updated slopes welcomed the Latvian Ski Federation’s freestyle skiing and snowboard competition, where 34 participants from across the Baltics came to show off their skills.
In the same season, the pipes were lent to a neighboring ski resort, Mežezers, for a national sports event with more than 120 participants. The modular, lightweight pipes were easy to disassemble, transport and modify, which was crucial as both courses are located almost 50 kilometers away from each other.
Champions in the making
Currently, training for the Winter Olympics has already begun at Baldones Jib Park, and future Latvian champions are honing their skills for the upcoming contests. By hosting locally accredited competitions, the park allows athletes to accumulate points for international rankings, enabling their qualification for the Olympic Games.
“Olympic training requires both slides and springboards, so without the pipes, our freestyle snowboarders would not be able to train properly and reach their full potential,” explains Einārs. “Larger-diameter pipes are perfect for learning new tricks, and smaller diameters are used to polish the technique.”
The collaboration between Pipelife Latvia and the Latvian Ski Federation continues, exploring ways to further support the development of winter sports in the country. This season, Pipelife Latvia is donating another 24 meters of HDPE pipes which will be used to set up slopestyle slides and rails in the Mežezers ski resort. The new course will allow for further growth of Latvia’s skiing and snowboarding community and provide even wider training opportunities for young athletes.