Vancouver company brings soft landings to the glacier 

While glacier camps enjoyed some new snow this week the landings were softer for another reason this year.

Katal Innovations is back on the glacier for the second year, July 3 to July 12, with a specially designed inflatable landing pad that skiers and snowboarders can land their tricks on, and that also helps to cushion any mistakes. The consistency of the landing pad is comparable to landing a jump onto powder, according to company spokesperson and financial manager Chris Coret.

"If you land your trick cleanly you just ride off the airbag like you normally would, but if you crash the pad absorbs the impact so you can walk away and try again," said Coret.

While the pad was intended for skiers and riders enrolled in glacier camps, Coret and company are giving the public a chance to hit their controlled jump from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. until the pad moves on. The cost is $25 or $60 including a lift ticket, and tickets are sold at the Blackcomb Base. There are a limited number of tickets available to ensure that everyone gets a turn. You do have to watch a safety video to use the pad jump and bring a helmet. There are also safety staff at the gate to make sure the pad is clear and inflated before dropping in.

The idea is that riders can practice new tricks safely, which they can then take to another identical jump where they'll land on snow.

The jump is the brain child of Aaron Coret, who is paralyzed from the neck down after a crash in the terrain park in 2005. He teamed up with fellow engineer Steve Slen to build the landing pad, which is thickest off the lip of the jump and transition, and thins out towards the bottom of the transition.

For more information visit www.katalinnovations.com.

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