It's not what you imagine when you think skiing or snowboarding in Salt Lake City. Stuck away in the flat depths of the valley, far to the west of the Wasatch range in a warehouse district devoid even of the city's famous rail features. From the outside, the only thing distinguishing Snogression from the industrial facilities surrounding it is a green and black sign. Once inside, however, you'll find Utah's latest shred factory.
"It started with a tramp," says founder Kevin Brower, an Atomic-sponsored skier. "Get a tramp for my yard." Brower had been frequenting a
gymnastics gym for trampoline and air training. As he started shopping around, he realized he might be able to fill a need for other skiers like himself. "We have the [Utah Olympic Park] up in Park City, we have gymnastics facilities, but they're all kind of hard to get into," he says. "You have to pay $90 for a full day, you have to bring your own coach or pay for coaching. Here we tried to do more of a skate-park feel."
Snogression features four trampolines, two foam pits and a training ramp where riders can launch into one of the pits or hit interchangeable rail features. In order to generate enough speed for the ramp, Brower conceived a propulsion mechanism based on a wakeboarding winch that he calls the Hyperdrive. "It was either invent a tow-in system or find a 60-foot high ceiling," he says.
The clientele are passionate skiers and snowboarders who want to improve. "It's a little more of a serious crowd here," he says. "You've got your family fun center trampoline warehouse things, but we've focused our marketing and our image to the more core crowd. And they appreciate it. There aren't little kids jumping around." Snogression has a minimum age of 8, and Brower says the majority of his customers range from mid-teens to mid-twenties.
"We kind of have everything we need in there," says Ahmet Dadali, the Breakthrough Performance and Best Jib winner at the 2011 Powder Awards, and a regular customer and occasional coach at Snogression. "It's a nice, cool, relaxed environment. I learn something new every time I go in there."
Though Brower says they don't host birthday parties, that's exactly what walks through the door on this mid-summer evening—albeit it's a group of 20-something snowboarders. "We were just looking to do for something fun for our buddy's birthday," says Eric Geib, a Navy recruiter and avid snowboarder from Provo. "It was this or the water ramps up in Park city, but this is a better price and a little closer. It's awesome. By far one of the most fun things I've done this year."
As newcomers, Geib and his friends paid $35 for the mandatory introductory class. After that, sessions are $20 each and last two hours. There are three sessions per evening. For skiers who want a little more structure, Snogression offers coaching, and last summer introduced summer camps.
As the birthday group funnels out, the next session pours in. This time it's a group of teenagers and pre-teens. They pay their money and show signed waivers, head straight for the tramps, and start working on flat spins and backflips. These are the regulars, practicing tricks and improving their air-awareness as a few parents look on. "It's much more accessible than what's currently out there," Brower says. "The kids learn at their own pace. It feels almost more like a terrain park rather than a training facility."