The 16th of Oulu’s ‘100 Acts’ is a neighbourhood sports facility for children and young people.
Snowboarding and freestyle (‘new school’) skiing are wildly popular activities among young people, but the Oulu region was lacking a suitable place for practising these. The problem was solved when a freestyle park was built near the Kimmoke clubhouse of the Kiimingin Urheilijat sports club. The project was executed as a joint effort between the municipality of Kiiminki, the Kiimingin Urheilijat sports club and local youngsters, partly as volunteer work.
The 16th act combines many positive factors, and what’s best, the whole thing took off from the ideas and needs of local youngsters. According to Aki Happonen, the park’s handyman from the Kiimingin Urheilijat sports club, the entire project was carried out on the basis of these ideas. The youngsters described the kinds of rails and other obstacles they wanted and gave instructions for the necessary earthwork, and the nature of the project submitted for tendering was also decided together.
The building of the freestyle park was started already last spring. In conjunction with the building work, the area’s safety was improved by modifying the route of a passing ski trail in order to prevent any risk of collision between the park’s users and local cross-country skiers. Space was also reserved for a sledging hill next to the park.
The municipality of Kiiminki contributed to the costs of the equipment in the freestyle park, and this past winter the rails and boxes were in heavy use from the first night onwards. The aim is to carry out some further limited earthwork this summer. At the same time, a summer slope will be available, so skiers and snowboarders will be able to practise their slides and airs during the warmer months as well.
Freestyle school and competitions
“Next winter, the Kimmoke Park will be back again. We’ll carry out some improvements if our financial situation allows – our aim is to add one more rail. On the other hand, I’m looking into whether we could do this with the help of an unpaid, team effort. We intend to hold various events in the future and – resources permitting – to arrange freestyle training for young riders,” says Happonen.
Plenty of events and activities were arranged at the Kimmoke Park during the first winter season, including a jam, the Kiiminki local freestyle championships and ‘big air’ competition, and a freestyle school featuring world champion Mikko Ronkainen as a visiting instructor.
The neighbourhood sports facility promotes equality among young people, as not everybody has the chance or the means to travel to ski centres. Riding at the Kimmoke Park is free. As a neighbourhood sports facility, the Kimmoke Park also provides young people with a chance to discover a new hobby. With a bus stop nearby, the park – located near the centre of Kiiminki – is readily accessible via local public transport. The Kimmoke Park also brings variation to school physical education lessons, as the Kiiminki secondary and upper secondary schools’ elective physical education groups have held freestyle classes there.
Aki Happonen, firstname.lastname@example.org