The boys of winter: Local teens tackle terrain parks at Granby Ranch
March 23, 2017
The kids of Grand County are pretty lucky.
All around them exists a seemingly boundless expanse of mountains and forests. Most live within a 20-minute drive of at least one ski resort and many spend nearly every winter weekend carving turns down their favorite ski runs. Something most kids in America can only dream of. For Middle Park High School freshmen Daniel Losasso, Dylan Stram and Martin Schneller, though, hitting the slopes is more than just a hobby; it is a passion that borders on obsession.
The three boys and some of their local friends can often be found riding the rails and hitting the big jumps in Granby Ranch's terrain parks. The young trio has formed a sort of terrain park collective to improve their skills and record their efforts. The boys spend many weekends working on their tricks while coaching each other on the finer details of things like tail grabs and grinds.
Earlier this year, the boys took their efforts public with the creation of the Granby Ranch Park Instagram page where they show off their skills. Granby Ranch has given the youngsters its blessing to continue filming and posting their exploits, and the boys hope the page's followers continue to grow as their repertoire expands.
The three boys are all young. Both Stram and Schneller are 15, while Losasso is still 14. Among them, Schneller has been riding the longest, for about seven years. Losasso has spent three seasons improving his skills on his snowboard while Stram is the newest to alpine sports with two seasons on his skis. They are all relatively new to the world of park riding.
REASONS TO RIDE
Losasso and Schneller snowboard, while Stram skies, but the differences in equipment seem to matter very little to the boys who explained their love of alpine sports in similar terms. "Snowboarding is something that I can do and enjoy doing," Losasso said. "It makes me feel good about myself."
For Schneller snowboarding is an opportunity to leave the world and his youthful concerns behind, if only for a short while.
"The freedom of it is amazing," he said. "It takes my mind off of school." Losasso quickly seconded his comment, emphatically adding, "Yea, for real." Schneller also highlighted the adrenaline rush that comes from riding park as a big pull for the entire group.
Stram described skiing as a continuous effort to improve himself and his skills. "I keep on going out there because I learn something new every day," he said. "When I hit something just right it makes me want to go out and do it again."
Losasso agreed and emphasized how quickly a skier or snowboarder's skills can progress when riding park, where wrong decisions can have painful consequences. "There is a lot more to learn out there than on just a basic run," he said.
Each of the boys attributed their skills on the slopes and their willingness to tackle the often daunting obstacles of the terrain park to the encouragement of each other and other friends who are more experienced park riders.
"When I started out I was doing boxes," Losasso said. "I would not do jumps when I started. I wouldn't have tried a lot of this stuff without the other guys here. It is just this year that we have started hitting the big jumps."
"When I started riding park I would always fall," Schneller said. "The park really sketched me out. But I had friends who would ride up there. My friends encouraged me to try stuff I wouldn't have otherwise."
The boys mostly spend their time riding on Granby Ranch's Rough Stock trail with its large jumps and more technical terrain features. For Losasso the best feature of the park is the dog house/wall at the top of the run. Schneller said the wall was one of his favorites as well but couldn't decide between the wall and the whale tail grind bar as his top choice. For Stram, it's all about the big air. "I like the second jump near the bottom," he said. "I like getting big air and I like the adrenaline that comes with it."
The boys prefer to ride at Granby Ranch over the larger Winter Park Resort for numerous reasons.
"It is really convenient," said Losasso. "And I am more comfortable there." Losasso explained because he rides the terrain parks at Granby Ranch much more often he is well versed in the speed, timing and positioning he needs to execute a trick.
Stram echoed Losasso's sentiments and highlighted the smaller crowds at Granby Ranch and its proximity to home as a major reason he rides the resort.
"That is where I learned to ride park," said Stram. Losasso concurred. "All of us have been riding there for a while."