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Check out metro-Detroit’s cool new indoor skiing, snowboarding school

 Check out metro-Detroit’s cool new indoor skiing, snowboarding school

The Duffield family — Mikey, Cassie, Darby and Harlow — are pictured in front of Shredder’s main hill.

On a recent mild, mid-May afternoon smack dab in the middle of Livonia, two young sisters — 4-year-old Darby and 7-year-old Harlow Duffield — snowboarded down a decent-sized slope, their respective smiles bright enough to melt snow.

The Duffield sisters’ ambitious parents — Mikey and Cassi — have transformed a former dreary, 5,600-square-foot industrial space located at 32543 Schoolcraft Road into Michigan’s first Shredder Indoor Ski + Snowboard School.

Shredder includes three hills (two six-footers and one 10-foot-high slope), all of which are coated with a specially-designed surface called Extreme that simulates the feel of snow — minus the super-slippery element.

Designed for kids 1- to 10-years-old who yearn to learn how to downhill ski and snowboard, the Colorado-based Shredder facility is the first of its kind in Michigan.

Passionate about winter sports

The Duffields, who reside in South Lyon, are hosting a grand opening Saturday, May 18, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

To check out a video of the Livonia Shredder, click here.

Mikey Duffield explains how parents can pull their kids on the facility's level ground so they get comfortable before gliding down the Shredder hills
Mikey Duffield explains how parents can pull their kids on the facilitys level ground so they get comfortable before gliding down the Shredder hills

“I first came across Shredder on Instagram, even before it was a franchise,” Cassi Duffield said. “I thought, ‘This is great!’ Mikey and I both taught our daughters how to ski and snowboard; we’ve also taught our friends and their kids.

“About one month after I first discovered Shredder, they announced on social media that they were franchising. We talked it over and decided this was something we needed to do.”

Mikey Duffield, a native of Livonia who graduated from Churchill High School, started skiing when he was 12.

Shredder even has a winter sports themed wall clock
Shredder even has a winter sports themed wall clock

“Then one day my buddy and I picked up a snowboard, we tried it and loved it so much I haven’t looked back since,” he said.

“Cassi and I had been looking for something that will allow us to pass on our passion for winter sports to the next generation. Our daughters learned to ski and snowboard when they were 2 and they absolutely love it.”

Expansive curriculum

Shredder’s skiing and snowboarding learning curriculum  (which can be found on the franchise’s website) include multiple-week packages (most classes are 40 minutes in duration) that cover all of the skills needed to make kids comfortable once they are ready to glide down a mountain for the first time.

In addition to emphasizing important safety rules and signage posted at all ski resorts, Shredder packages help first-timers get comfortable navigating flat ground and uneven terrain in ski/snowboard boots with the help of a set-up called Balance Boulevard.

Elastic leashes are attached to the tip of skis and snowboards so parents can pull their youngsters around the spacious carpeted area inside Shredder, the Duffields explained.

All equipment required for kids 1 to 10 are provided by Shredder
All equipment required for kids 1 to 10 are provided by Shredder

All students who attend classes at Shredder are required to wear safety helmets.

“We want to make it so when they go to the real hill or mountain for the first time with their parents, they’re totally accustomed to everything they’re going to encounter — everything from unclipping the skis from their boots, to how to turn on the snowboard when they’re going down the hill,” Mikey Duffield said.

Shredder strictly follows teaching guidelines established by the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI).

Build a solid foundation

“Our goals are to introduce skiing and snowboard to the kids, build the solid foundation they’ll need, work on their balance and coordination and teach them mountain safety,” Mike Duffield elaborated. “The more they learn here, the more fun and enjoyment they’re going to have with their family once they get out there.”

The Livonia Shredder will offer summer camps that will include fun-filled activities beyond skiing and snowboarding.

“We will also offer private lessons to older kids and adults, but they will have to bring their own equipment,” Mikey Duffield added. “For kids 1 through 10, we’ll provide all of the equipment.”

The Duffields said they want to ultimately expand the number of Shredder facilities they own in southeast Michigan.

“But we want to perfect this one first,” Mikey Duffield said, smiling.

Ed Wright can be reached at 734-664-4657 or edwright@socialhousenews.com. 

Cassi Duffield holds one of the smallest snowboards
Cassi Duffield holds one of the smallest snowboards
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Ed Wright

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