“U.S. Open” at Vail Mountain Episode to Air Thursday, June 20 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The National Geographic Channel
Verdi, NV – June 17, 2013 – For 30 years the Burton U.S. Open, the longest running snowboard competition in the world, had taken place in Vermont near the home of Burton Snowboards. For the 2013 season, in an effort to keep things fresh and offer both riders and spectators enhanced venues and entertainment, Burton made a monumental decision to switch up the host venue and move the legendary contest to the iconic destination of Vail, Colorado.
Serving as the course designers and builders over the past 11 years, the crew at Snow Park Technologies realized they must radically redesign the competition course to offer Burton a next level slopestyle venue that matched the significance of the contest’s big move. With the debut of the next chapter of this longstanding contest in Vail quickly approaching, the pressure quickly mounted as the crew faced increasing challenges. A shorter, tighter course than last year’s, the slopestyle venue was designed to feature 13 jibs and three jumps at 60-, 65-, and 70-feet, giving riders a variety of options as they made their way down the course. Following multiple issues that stalled the project, concerns about whether they’d have enough snow to complete the build, and no opportunity for athlete testing, the question loomed – would the tight course they’d designed be hailed a success?
“The US Open is obviously a huge, important event for us. It’s one of the biggest events of the year, and it just seemed like we had so many challenges to overcome. There was a lot of adversity from the jib factory where we had some issues with getting all of the jibs built on time, shipped and unloaded on time, to the building of the course,” said Chris “Gunny” Gunnarson, owner of Snow Park Technologies. “The stakes were high for us as a crew to make this thing shine.”
Thursday, June 20, at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Gunny and SPT have been granted a prestigious contract to build the courses for the Burton U.S. Open — snowboarding’s longest-running major contest. Set in Vermont for the past 30 years, the event is moving out of the state to Vail, Colorado, for the first time in its history. Gunny will enlist Elliot and Aaron to build a unique slopestyle course and retouch the signature halfpipe. The slopestyle course will contain 13 different steel features, and one mess up in the jib factory could throw the entire schedule on the mountain into a tailspin. SPT feels that its run design feature could be just the thing that will help this year’s U.S. Open stand out above the rest. But a huge volume of snow is needed for the mega-features being built, and the uneven topography and abnormally steep ending to the slopestyle course make the build highly complex and risky.
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. For more information about Mountain Movers, visit www.snowparktech.com or National Geographic Channel.
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.