Matrax Turf Protection System at Fenway Park
Reaching New Heights
In February 2016 the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association brought the U.S. Grand Prix tour to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. Fenway Park has been host to many other notable events including, but not limited to, the NHL Winter Classic, soccer matches and countless concerts from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones and the Dave Matthews Band. Polartec Big Air at Fenway, sanctioned as an International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup for both freeskiing and snowboarding, was the third Big Air stop on the FIS Snowboard World Cup tour and the second stop on the U.S. Grand Prix tour. The competition brought together the top 40 men and top 20 women freeskiers and snowboarders from around the world, including World Cup champions and medalists from the Olympics and X Games competitions.
Snow Ramp Rivals The Green Monster
The 104 year-old iconic ballpark held the big air skiing competition, and with it, a 140- foot tall, 400-ton snow ramp – three times the height of the walls of Fenway’s Green Monster. The ramp height was designed to allow big-air snowboarders and skiers enough running room to build up momentum to complete mid-air jumps and tricks. Using proprietary scaffolding, the ramp ran for 338 feet from the outfield to Fenway’s home plate. The ramp was equipped with both stairs as well as an elevator to get the skiers and snowboarders up to the top. The ramp build took 10 days and the construction team averaged around 30 climbers and 10 ground staff for the build. Both the structure itself and the distribution of weight across that whole baseball field had to be considered when designing the stage.
Understanding The Potential for Turf Damage
Given the complexity of the ski event, ballpark officials engaged professional field protection consultant, Mike Zorena. Understanding the potential for turf damage caused by the exceptionally heavy equipment, Mike recognized the need for a high-performance stadium turf protection system. Having been a Matrax rental partner for a number of years already, the solution was clear to use his existing fleet of Matrax 4×4 composite mats for this project. Coming in at 80,000 pounds per square foot (450 psi) of load-bearing capacity, approximately 88,000 square feet of Matrax turf protection mats were installed to protect the field and safely support the snow ramp.
What Makes The Matrax Turf Protection System Unique
Molded pegs on the lower lips and corresponding sockets on the upper lips transfer lateral loads between individual panels in all directions and function as an aligning mechanism for the panels during installation. In addition, the overlapping and interlocking components of these composite mats are engineered and manufactured with tolerances designed to allow thermal expansion and contraction to occur without any interference between the panels thereby eliminating buckling and uneven surfaces. Another feature unique to these composite mats is the design, which has a translucent composition that allows for photosynthesis, thus promoting natural grass growth for a proven period of up to 10 days. Since its inception in 2010, Matrax has gained national as well as international distinction for its outstanding stadium turf protection system; appearing in venues including Yankee Stadium, MetLife Stadium, M&T Bank Stadium, Gillette Stadium and the National Mall in Washington DC. Matrax is also apparent in several international markets including Japan, Italy, Chile, the UK, and Canada.