Giant colorful marshmallows are popping up on ski runs and in terrain parks across the country. This latest initiative to provide a landing pad for skiers and boarders has been embraced by the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association as a safe and effective tool to help athletes learn new tricks and master old ones.The first air bags were developed in 2007 by retired Austrian professional snowboarder Martin Rasinger and his team at Bagjump Action Sports. In the ensuing years pros and amateurs alike have been using the enormous pillows to cushion their landings.
After significant research and evaluation, the CFSA endorsed the technology as a legitimate tool in its arsenal to assist athletes to learn and qualify acrobatic ski maneuvers and has entered into partnership with Bagjump to provide discounted airbags for CFSA member clubs.
“We are very excited about our partnership with Bagjump,” said CFSA CEO Peter Judge. “We are confident that they produce the best quality product on the market, the company has been very cooperative and easy to work with; and we love the fact that the bags are manufactured in Canada.”
With the help of funds from Own the Podium, the CFSA bought its first bag this summer and it was used extensively by the newly created National Halfpipe Ski Team to train on the Blackcomb Glacier. The CFSA now has plans to acquire another bag for mogul jump training.
Rasinger, who is CEO of Bagjump, said the bags have three specific uses: fun, training and advertisement. “Resorts are very happy with our product because they provide a fun experience for their guests and have demonstrated a significant reduction in injury, especially from weekend warriors. For serious athletes, the bags have pushed the sport because they provide a psychological transition and take away some of the fear that may be holding them back from trying bigger tricks. I would say that now without Bagjump training athletes can’t crack the top five at any of the big events.”
The bags start at about $26,000. But, costs can be offset by using them as a marketing tool – with attention-grabbing sponsor logos wrapped around the bag.
Set up is relatively easy and the bag goes up (and down) in about 45 minutes.
The jump frequency on a Bagjump is 1-2 jumpers a minute similar to a park jump.
Bagjump products are available in a variety of sizes, including a new halfpipe-specific ‘Vert’ bag that mimics the landing angle of a pipe. When considering size, Rasinger said, “Bigger is, in this case, always better as more space equals more safety.”
CFSA member clubs are being offered a five percent discount from Bagjump Action Sports. For more information contact Bagjump Action Sports Canada at: firstname.lastname@example.org.