You’re ready to hit the slopes and get some skiing in for this winter. You and your friends can’t wait to rendezvous in – Oklahoma City? Correct – and it’s thanks to RIVERSPORT, which takes the lead in bringing ‘impossible’ outdoor activities to the state.
“We are driven to open up opportunities to people to experience authentic sports, adventure and outdoor lifestyle activities not previously possible in Oklahoma,” says Mike Knopp, RIVERSPORT’s executive director. “We believe this formula will, over time, bolster a more healthy, outdoor-oriented culture in central Oklahoma. We also like the idea that you can now ski, row and go whitewater rafting in downtown OKC.”
The machine used for the skiing experience is the only one of its kind in the U.S., manufactured by Alpine Industries in the Netherlands.
Thinking Outside the Box
“Without a mountain in downtown OKC we knew we would have to be creative,” says Knopp. “But it was important for it to be authentic. Ironically, Bob Ross of Inasmuch Foundation, who knows and supports our mission, saw a ski machine and reached out to me to get my thoughts. This then led to an intense two-month exploration into the various systems available.”
The process was started in late summer of 2020 and the ski slope opened in May of 2021.
“The snow turf carpet is the most advanced available and is irrigated to provide a texture similar to snow while skiing,” says Knopp. “This is coupled with the articulating slope that can take you from a blue to a black in a matter of seconds. The result is a safe and extremely effective way to learn to ski for the first time – or to refine your ski skills. It is a truly endless slope.”
According to Knopp, while RIVERSPORT is not the first to install a ski machine, he says OKC is now the first place to offer the opportunity to learn to ski, surf and whitewater raft within the same venue.
“We pride ourselves on innovation and breaking new grounds in urban outdoor sports and adventure,” says Knopp. “Most importantly – it is awesome to see kids who never would have had the opportunity to ski to now experience what it is like to get the ski boots and skis on and hit the slopes.”
Knopp points out skiing at RIVERSPORT also saves kids the time and expense of ski schools, not to mention the cost of a cross-country drive or plane ticket to reach an actual mountain with a ski area.
“It is truly wonderful to be able to create a differentiating – and unexpected – destination for Oklahoma,” he says. “We believe this mindset is a game-changing opportunity for Oklahoma City and we are proud to be a part of the exciting momentum.”
RIVERSPORT is a project of the RIVERSPORT Foundation, a nonprofit. To learn more, visit their website or call 405-552-4040.