I just got word that old school Wellington shredder and DH rider Martin Tse is going to be responsible for designing and building Japan's first freeride bike park. It's hard to say from the press release exactly what's going down but rest assured Martin knows what's up. Full Press release below.
A STATE-OF-THE-ART bike and wakeboard park will be the centrepiece for Hanazono's year-round sports, adventure and activity resort, set to open this summer.
Up to 5km of cross country mountain bike tracks, trails and jumps, plus freeride terrain, along with a BMX-style 'pump' arena and a skills development area, will be built at Hanazono to cater for beginner to advanced riders.
Hanazono says the currently unnamed park will be the only purpose-built bike park in Hokkaido, and one of few in the whole of Japan.
The bike park was designed by local mountain bike enthusiasts Martin Tse and Paul Butkovich.
“The park has real scope to expand, and the opening will be a milestone for mountain bike facilities in Niseko and Japan,” Tse said. “This is Stage 1 of a potential three stages if all goes well.”
A wakeboard park will also be built at the foot of the mountain in a lake near the Hanazono 308 clubhouse, boasting a hi-tech cable system with boxes to ride up on to.
Features are already being built for the bike and wakeboard park, with the official opening day slated for June 26 this year.
Marketing director Nigel Abbott said that by expanding the resort, Hanazono had made a significant investment in Niseko during the summer.
“Our key objective is to create a year-round resort, and we know that what we're doing is going to put Niseko on the map during summer,” he said.
“Our focus at this early stage is on the Japanese market, then we'll move on to other Asian groups like Hong Kong and Singapore, and follow up later on with a wider international demographic.”
Abbott said other plans for Hanazono in the summer included summer tubing, 'Euro-bungee', rafting and a 'Spider Web' climbing wall.
A bag jump that is already running this winter will be kept open for the summer, offering a 'dry ramp' for skis and snowboards, and a jump for bikes.
For those who prefer things at a slower pace, the transformation of Hanazono will feature flower gardens to beautify 308, arts and crafts, golf, eco-walks, day tours and a kids' centre.
Abbott said Hanazono was currently in talks to make Hanazono home to Niseko Cycle Week this summer.