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JAY, VT â€“ Jay Peak Resort has partnered with Disney and Burton Snowboards and is creating a snowboarding theme park for kids.
Giant pieces of Disney's "Toy Story" theme equipment and statues began arriving at Jay Monday. The park will be a one of a kind: Playtime Burton Riglet Park.
The five-acre park is slated to open mid-January and is for new snowboarders ages three to 12. According to the deal with Disney, statues of familiar â€śToy Storyâ€ť characters will appear in the park along with other features.
Planned infrastructure includes a large spaceship to create various approaches for the new riders who could go over, under, or through. This theme park idea is not brand new for Burton; it has a theme park in Tahoe, CA, but this concept in new to the east.
Jay Resort and Burton have had a partnership for years. Jeff Boliba of Burton came up with the idea of the riglet: a reel on the front of a snowboard that allows an instructor to tow young riders so that they can keep both feet on the board as they learn to balance and get accustom to being on the board.
Those in the snow sports industry are trying to prepare for the expected decline in visitors as the baby boomers age and begin drop out of participating. Finding exciting ways to entice newcomers while creating an emotional attachment, which theme parks create, is something that resorts are working towards.
Jay Peak is in the midst of a massive $200-million plus expansion, which includes new progression terrain on the Stateside of the mountain. The Mountain Learning Center, specifically designed to house the kid's program, is also slated to open in January. The resort already opened an indoor water park last year, and an ice area, hotels, restaurants and much more. The resort is continuing development and adding amenities to attract visitors year round.
The resort opened Thanksgiving weekend for skiing and riding and is reporting a record turnout of visitors.