(Photos courtesy of Tommi Niemi/Backyard Park)
Backyard Park is located in a small town in southern Finland, Savitaipale, just a few hundred meters from Tommi’s parents’ house. With the town’s help, he and Mikko have been building Backyard Park bigger and bigger each winter for around nine years running.
“There is a huge amount of work going down every winter because we don’t have any snowcats or anything like that,” says Tommi. “Everything is done by hand, from the rails to everyday shaping. The park is free for all skiers and snowboarders around the world.”
“We started the project because the nearest park was 60 kilometers away, and it wasn’t good all the time. Now we can ski the setup that we have dreamed about, and we can improve it every year to be even better!”
After every season, Tommi and Mikko scheme up a new setup for the next year’s park. “Backyard Park is a small place, so when you hit the same setup thousands of times in one season, you want some new stuff for the next season,” laughs Tommi. In the autumn, they do earthwork with an excavator to prepare the new park design. “Our friend Anssi is a beast with that machine,” says Tommi. “Excavator work and building new stuff takes almost a month every year.”
Backyard Park officially opened for the 2016 season on Friday, February 5, and will remain open to the public for as long as the snow sticks around. Opening weekend went well with a good turnout, reports Tommi. “Now the weather turned really bad in Finland, it’s rained now for three straight days,” he says. “But let’s hope we can rebuild the setup and make the rail jam happen!”
Till then, you can keep track of Backyard Park on Facebook, and let’s hope the rain turns to snow again soon in southern Finland!