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Snowpark Damüls

From the field to the perfect rails

From the hills of the Czech Republic to a snow paradise Vorarlberg: Tomáš Pavelka, the head shaper at Damüls Snowpark, talks about his his beginnings in snowboarding, his passion for his craft and the challenges and the challenges of mastering the perfect obstacles in the park. A look behind the scenes of a dedicated, international team, that creates breathtaking park experiences.

The snow sparkles under the sun, the peaks of the Damüls mountains rise majestically into the sky and the sound of snowboards gliding over rails can be heard at close range. Welcome to the Snowpark Damüls, a relaxed Mecca for snowboarding and skiing enthusiasts from all over the world. Tomáš Pavelka works here from December to April and, together with his team, is responsible for building and maintaining the perfect obstacles.

From the Czech hills to the Austrian Alps

Tomáš's story began near the Slovakian border in the east of the Czech Republic. He was fascinated by snowboarding from an early age, which his father taught him in a field behind his house. "My father showed me how to stand on the board and make my first turns. The mountains and snow conditions are of course better in Austria, which is why I came to Damüls," says Tomáš, who gained his first experience during a vacation job on a glacier in France. Together with friends, he worked for a day and was able to snowboard in the ski area for free the next day.

From Warth to the Snowpark Damüls

After his first season in Warth, Tomáš's passion for snowboarding and the craft eventually led him to the snowpark in Damüls. Shoveling, digging and building obstacles are on his agenda. Snow is also pretty good for this, as it is much lighter than sand. "The work isn't that difficult, but physically you have to be prepared to work hard," he emphasizes.

As a young boy, he built wooden jumps behind his house and later tried out obstacles with friends in various snow parks. "In Damüls, I then learned from my colleagues and the team leader how to build obstacles in a professional manner," says Tomáš. Over the last ten years, he has developed from a curious beginner to an experienced head shaper in Damüls, who is largely responsible for the design and maintenance of the snowpark.

"I love my work and experience many wonderful moments."

The team and the challenges

The Damüls Snowpark would not be the same without the dedicated team that works day and night behind the scenes. "We are four shapers who work with shovels and an experienced bully rider who also does the design with our manager. Together, we ensure that the park is optimally designed," explains Tomáš. However, there is no regular daily routine, as work in the snowpark is usually unpredictable. "We have to be flexible and adapt every day, because the weather can change any plan," says Tomáš. The snowpark opens and closes at lift times, and during the day there is a quick response if something happens.

In addition to constantly shoveling snow, the Bully driver does most of his work at night because he needs space and a safe environment. "Sometimes we think it's going to be a pleasant day and then we have to go out at four o'clock because it has snowed half a meter in the night. Then we shovel everything away in the morning, it rains all day and in the evening we can shovel the snow back again. There are days like that too," Tomáš smiles and says: "Although it's exhausting sometimes, I love my work. I experience many wonderful moments in the snowpark, like the smiles on the children's faces when they have overcome an obstacle."

Focus on safety and responsibility

The Damüls Snowpark is known for its snow reliability, as the employees ensure that the ski resort can produce artificial snow when needed in constantly fluctuating weather conditions. The drivers of the machines that bring the snow from the pass road to the slopes also play a large part in this. "This attracts a lot of tourists, but the entire ski area is still quiet and easy to navigate - a great family ski area for people who simply want to enjoy the mountains. I also feel relaxed and refreshed after the season," explains Tomáš, who lives in shared accommodation in the ski resort with the other three shapers from Austria, Italy and the Czech Republic.

He and his team usually test the obstacles themselves, but experienced riders and professionals also come to the park to check the conditions. Because safety comes first in the Damüls snow park. "We make sure that the kickers and rails are nice and smooth, but it's everyone's responsibility to assess their own abilities," emphasizes Tomáš and recommends: "You should take a close look at the obstacle beforehand and then decide whether you can ride it at all."

From the snow slope to the tiny house

In addition to his work in the snow park, Tomáš also feels at home in the mountain village of Damüls. "I come from the countryside myself and I like the fact that people here are a bit more conservative. They love their mountains, own their land - and protect it, which is ultimately also good for the environment. That's a very nice point of view these days," he says. The Czech has traveled a lot to get to know different places and cultures. In one off-season, he worked in a joinery in Au in the Bregenzerwald and did demolition work. He spent another season in England to learn how to surf.

Today, he spends his summers building a tiny house very close to his home and his loved ones or cutting trees at dizzying heights next to power lines. "It sounds scary at first, but I've heard that when you stop being scared, you should stop doing this work," says Tomáš. His commitment and dedication are reflected in his craftsmanship as well as his attitude towards nature: "The Tiny House is a sustainable and long-term investment in my future and I think it will never be finished because there is always something to do."