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The Snowflex Centre at Liberty University was the first of its kind to open on a college campus, and also the first in the country. This multi-million dollar innovation is one of the most widely-used facilities on campus and brings people from all over the country to the Lynchburg community. To build on its success and provide customers with more options, Snowflex is adding a new, larger and faster tubing run.
Students have been voicing their opinions about the shortage of the tubing options at Snowflex for a while. Originally, the slope was increased from the beginner level and later extended to reach down to the quarter pipe. However, the size and speed of these slopes did not provide that extra adrenaline rush to customers. In response to this, Snowflex management started brainstorming ideas on how to improve its tubing facilities.
Drew Sherwood, the general manager of Snowflex, plotted the original design ideas for new and improved tubing runs “using current conveyor lifts, having one start at the very top of the mountain and the second run coming off the half-way point.”
He wanted to give tubers that extra rush. This idea was initially created a year-and-a-half ago. Once it passed approval by Chancellor Falwell, the designs were sent to Ed Carton and his team, who have made the tubing runs some of the most extreme on the East Coast. Currently, the tubing runs are in the approval process, and the opening date will be announced soon.
Tubing attracts the most customers at Snowflex, which is why management saw the importance of building upon the existing facilities.
“We see about three times the amount of customers with tubing than we do with skiing or snowboarding,” Sherwood said. “Tubing doesn’t take any special ability, skills or practice to have fun. Everyone can tube no matter their age, size or ability.”
Oftentimes, the people who start out snow tubing at Snowflex gradually advance to skiing and snowboarding. Snowflex allows people to learn these skills without paying the steep prices commonly found at resorts. Lessons in these areas also decrease the chance of injury and the amount of time it typically takes to learn.
Briton Engineering Developments, the world leader in snow sport centers, has planted Snowflex-type facilities in Hong Kong, Lebanon and France. However, out of the 30 centers around the world, Liberty’s is the only one open to the general public at all times. Snowflex has hosted many events and community activities, ranging from last summer’s Miss USA to a fundraising event, “Kaylin’s Kause,” which took place Saturday, Sept. 1.
Prior to the creation of Snowflex, people were limited to the times they could engage in winter sports like skiing, snowboarding and tubing, but now the public can participate in these activities year-round. Sherwood encourages students to come to Liberty Mountain and try tubing, skiing, snowboarding and even the hot chocolate in the lodge.