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Work on year-round ski slope continues; major donation announced

May 4, 2009 : Eric Brown

Part of Liberty University’s mountain property will undergo an extreme makeover in the coming weeks as construction on the university’s artificial ski slope steadily progresses. Crews have installed part of the incline’s foundational layer and pipes for the misting system. On May 1, workers began laying down the first set of Snowflex tiles. This innovative material will allow skiers, snowboarders and tubers to experience the slip and grip of real snow year-round.

Phase one of the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre will consist of various jumps and two grind rails, giving snow sport enthusiasts an opportunity to perfect their technique. As they reach the bottom of the main slope, skiers and snowboarders will also have the option of performing tricks on an 11-foot high quarter pipe. In the future, additions will be made to the facility, providing thrill-seekers with even more skiable area.

“When you go to a regular ski resort, as you take jumps off of mounds of snow, that contour and shape always changes,” said Bryan Evans, the slope’s general manager. “Here, the jumps stay the same to where you can always practice and hone in your skills.”

A nursery slope is also under construction and will be located in front of the Snowflex Center’s rental building. This smaller incline will help beginners become accustomed to the surface and learn basic fundamentals such as turning and stopping. Visitors who prefer not to ski or snowboard may also use this area for tubing.



MAJOR DONATION

One of Dr. Al Barrick’s mounted big game trophies was displayed in the Vines Center Wednesday morning.

During his state of the university address in the Vines Center on April 29, Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. made a special announcement regarding the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre’s rental equipment facility. Falwell began by introducing Dr. Al Barrick, a longtime supporter of the university.

“Dr. Barrick is a big game hunter,” Falwell said. “Over the last 40 years he has hunted every species of mammal in North America and collected at least one of each. He had the trophies, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, mounted professionally. Dr. Barrick donated all of these trophies to Liberty University and we plan to display them all in the new [building] on the mountain.”

Dr. Al Barrick

He said the facility will be named in honor of Barrick and the late Dr. Jerry Falwell.

“This is fitting, I believe, because Dr. Barrick donated the trophies that took him 40 years to collect, and Snowflex was actually the last project that was officially announced by my father here one week before he died,” he said.

Designed to incorporate the look and feel of a mountain chalet, the building will allow visitors to rent snow sports equipment on the lower level and enjoy a scenic view of Liberty’s campus upstairs. The 4,000-square-foot facility will also feature adequate space for equipment fitting and storage, management offices, restrooms, concessions, a common area and exterior decking. Expected completion of the project is slated for mid-summer.