Elaborate work has been taking place to prepare SunTrust Park for Visa Big Air, as the home of the Atlanta Braves gears up to host the unique event beginning Friday.
Over Friday and Saturday nights, SunTrust Park will welcome top freeskiers and snowboarders as part of Visa Big Air, an event held in partnership by the Braves and national governing body U.S. Ski & Snowboard. Construction crews have been active at SunTrust Park in recent weeks in order to stage the ballpark for the event, which required building a 15-story steel scaffold jump structure that will start 150 feet above center field, with 800 tons of artificial snow used to create the surface.
— SunTrust Park (@SunTrustPark) December 19, 2019
A project of that scope has translated into a considerable amount of work and planning to ready SunTrust Park for Visa Big Air, which the Braves are looking forward to seeing unfold. From the organization’s perspective, it is the latest step to ensuring that SunTrust Park is a draw for events on a year-round basis. More from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“The spectacle of coming to SunTrust Park to see, in of all places Atlanta, a skiing and snowboarding event will, I think, be really dynamic,” Braves president and CEO Derek Schiller said as workers prepared the venue outside his office windows.
“We are interested in building very unique events to complement the 81 baseball games, whether that be during the season or the offseason. That is definitely part of our business plan and part of what we are as an organization now. We think of ourselves as a 365-day-a-year organization with an opportunity to do all kinds of events.”…
Work began the day after Thanksgiving on constructing the 15-story-tall, 410-foot-long steel scaffold jump structure, which consists of about 29,000 unique pieces. The 800 tons of artificial snow will provide the finishing touch, covering the structure and some of the surrounding area at an average snow depth of 20 inches.
The 164 freeskiers and snowboarders from 27 nations, including former and potential future Olympians, will drop from the top of the ramp into an approximately 40-degree in-run, then launch into mid-air off the jump at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. They will perform tricks – think flips, spins, twists, rotations – while traveling up to 70 feet in the air before landing and stopping near where home plate ordinarily would be.
SunTrust Park has hosted a college football game and concerts, among other non-baseball events, since opening in 2017, so Visa Big Air represents a unique extension of what has been an ongoing push for the Braves to make the ballpark an active venue. Boston’s Fenway Park hosted a Big Air event in 2016, and in February welcomed the Red Bull Crashed Ice competition.
Image courtesy Atlanta Braves.