National Geographic Channel’s ‘Mountain Movers’ Showcases Snow Park Technologies’ Up-to-the-Minute Course Build for Winter Action Sports’ Most Widely Anticipated Event
Episode Three, ‘The Big Time,’ Featuring Builds for the Big Air and Slopestyle Events at ESPN’s X Games Aspen Airs Thursday, May 23 at 8 PM ET/PT
For Snow Park Technologies (SPT), the most anticipated event of each year is ESPN’s X Games Aspen in Colorado. This event, broadcast live in 184 countries around the world, puts an entirely new level of pressure on the crew as they attempt to build the best courses in X Games history.
The third episode of ‘Mountain Movers,’ National Geographic Channel’s new series presented by Chevrolet, features the SPT crew working within a narrow window of time to meet the hard deadline imposed by live television and the arrival of more than 150 of winter action sports’ top professional athletes. Despite inclement weather and last minute course changes that stall their progress, SPT must take the X Games Big Air and Slopestyle courses to the next level.
“X Games holds a really deep spot in my heart, because I was the original course designer from day one of the very first Winter X Games, and I have been all the way through. This will be year 17,” said Chris “Gunny” Gunnarson, president of SPT. “This is the biggest winter action sports event on the planet, and it’s got to have the best courses, be completed on time and ready for live for TV. The best athletes in the world participate, so it has to be better than everything else we do.”
For this build, Gunny gives up complete control over this event for the very first time, and names his protégé, Chris Castaneda as project manager. In this new role, Chris is responsible for oversight of both the build and overall course operations. The project entails the most elaborate courses the Winter X Games have ever seen, including a massive 75-Foot Big Air Jump and a Slopestyle course comprised of two sections; the upper section contains rails and steel boxes, followed by four jumps ranging from 55 to 70-Feet at the bottom.
“When Gunny entrusted me to take the responsibility of the X Games, I got excited. It’s the biggest project that we have,” said SPT’s X Games project manager, Chris Castaneda. “Knowing that he is passing the baton to me and trusting that I’m going to get the job done right with the crew that I have – it stoked me out.”
“The Big Time”
Thursday, May 23, at 8 p.m. ET/PT
It’s time for SPT’s most stressful, most anticipated event of the year: the ESPN X Games in Aspen, Colo. As the original course designer for all 17 years of the ESPN Winter X Games, Gunny still feels the pressure to build the biggest, most intense courses the industry has ever seen. Gunny has passed the torch to his young protégé Chris Castaneda to lead the crew from SPT, who will have to manage the diverse SPT personalities of veterans Mike Binnell and Aaron Dettling, as well as rookie Landon Taylor. Extremely cold weather, malfunctioning equipment and tight deadlines quickly pile on to the intensity and difficulty of this worldwide televised live event. With the highest-caliber athletes waiting and the whole planet watching, SPT will have their work cut out for them.
“Pretty much since I first came to the X Games I think was the first time I met Gunny, and he has always been the nicest guy,” said professional snowboarder Torstein Horgmo. “Whatever you want to have built, pretty much anywhere on the planet, he’ll be there for us with his whole crew and they kill it for us. He doesn’t fail. Ever.”
Working in the most remote locations under extreme conditions, Mountain Movers profiles the SPT crew’s every move — from battling with avalanche control to building a halfpipe in blizzard conditions. In each episode, we’ll see passion and craftsmanship at work. No one understands how to move and shape snow like this team.
About Chris “Gunny” Gunnarson
Gunny is the creator and owner of SPT and an iconic, highly respected name in the snow sports industry. At a young age, he became interested in the infrastructure necessary to fuel his snow sport passion and was fascinated with the concept of moving tons of snow to create winter works of art. In the 16 years since SPT was born, Gunnarson and his crew have designed and built more than 250 competition courses, including all of the X Games winter events in the United States and Europe, the Burton U.S. Open and the Winter Dew Tour. When reality TV producer Jason Carbone met Gunny, he knew that he had to capture the real-life drama of his world, battling the most extreme weather that Mother Nature can dish out to create the pulse-pounding competition courses for the world’s most popular action sports events.
Mountain Movers is produced by Good Clean Fun for the National Geographic Channel. For Good Clean Fun, Jason Carbone and Sarah Kane are executive producers. For National Geographic Channel, executive producer is Michael Mavretic, senior vice president of programming and development is Kevin Mohs, executive vice president of programming is Michael Cascio and president is Howard T. Owens. General Motors is a co-producing partner and Chevrolet is the lead media partner of Mountain Movers.
About Snow Park Technologies
Snow Park Technologies (SPT) is the world’s leading consulting team for special projects on snow. SPT’s wide range of expertise includes designing and building some of the most renowned resort terrain parks and halfpipes; high-profile ski and snowboard competition courses; and countless on-snow productions. SPT also provides event production services, sport organizing and marketing services aimed at youth categories. The SPT team is a collection of the most experienced and talented freestyle park and pipe innovators in the world, whose dedication and passion for snow sports has redefined the winter landscape and what is possible on snow. For more information, visit SPT’s website at http://www.snowparktech.com and follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/snowparktech, Twitter @snowparktech and Instagram @snowparktech.