Chris Steunenberg

Bodacious new bowls for water park fans

Three exhilarating new rides are under construction at Cultus Lake Water Park.

Three exhilarating new rides are under construction at Cultus Lake Water Park.

Thrill-seekers and slide aficionados are already abuzz in anticipation of the June 1 opening of the park with a new sky-high tower, blue-and-white bowls, and inline raft ride.

The Bazooka Bowls have twin slides leading to blue and white bowls, originally from Irvine, California, set to become the crowning glory at the water park, says owner Chris Steunenberg.

“It’s state of the art, and no one else in B.C. has them,” he tells the Progress, in an interview atop the newly built steel tower, rising high above the park.

The original name of the ride, Bazooka Bowls, is being maintained because of the well-established history, and stellar feedback from a range of Youtube posters offering reviews.

Riders climb the tower and get jettisoned down a covered tube before emerging into the bowl. Centrifugal force whips them around the bowl, until it slows slightly and they plunge down into a pool through the middle.

There’s a lot of positive reaction to it from former water park fans in the U.S.

“It was named one of the top 10 wildest water slides in the world,” he says.

“I thought it would be a perfect fit for our market place.”

They heard a water park in Irvine, California was shutting down to make way for a new redevelopment.

The Steunenbergs went ahead and bought the 10-year old Bazooka Bowls, tore them down, transported them and then galvanized the steel, and rebuilt the attraction at Cultus Lake.

Two of the three new rides are the Bowls, and the third is an inline raft ride with a 30-foot drop, that they’re thinking of calling the Boomerang.

The four-person raft takes riders through a curving course, with three figure eights, and a big drop. It’s got high banking corners that curve right in on the rider.

All together it’s been a multi-million investment, he says. The business has re-invested in the park every year for the past five years.

“We’ve shopped the best rides so a local family does not have to go to California to get this incredible experience. We’ve brought California right here.”

In B.C. the challenge is sometimes climate, since there is more rain and cooler days in a summer season than down south. It means a three-month window for park goers from June to Labour Day.

“But in the process of buying, reclaiming and reconditioning these rides, somehow we’ve been able to do it in a feasible manner. So our prices won’t be going up, and will stay exactly the same as last year.”

Already the hits on Facebook and the website are stacking up as people log on to find out more about the new rides.

They all want to know what’s in store.

So what makes the bowl ride so special?

“First, the physical dimensions and size of the bowls, even as people drive into Cultus, is exciting to see,” he says. “There’s the sheer drop, the slope and the speed of the black-hole slides that have you emerge inside the bowls. And then there’s the dropping sensation through the middle, into the unknown. That is really the highlight of the whole thing.”

They started construction in October. Miles of piping had to go into the ground, they’ve built the tower with galvanized steel, the inline raft course, and there’s a new hot tub going in adjacent the bowls.

“We’re very excited about the tourism potential of them and the interest from the local recreational market,” he says. “We’re ready to take this product forward. It’s the right time.”

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