Update from day 3 at the X Games from on site blogger Michael:
While watching the X Games, we may forget that someone had to build all of the remarkable features for the course. Every year these sports are progressing, and it takes more time and design than we might think to plan a world-class park. I caught up with Snow Park Technologies, who spends their days perfecting course design, making athletes happy and continuing to push progression in winter sports.
1. What differs year to year for you guys as builders? In terms of the sports progressing, how do you adapt to what the athletes need?
With every year, we gain more build and design experience, and push ourselves to build more creative and innovative features and courses. That, coupled with the more or less year-round work that we do with the athletes who are at the forefront of their sports, allows us to stay up-to-date with the quick pace of on-snow progression.
2. Do you work directly with any athletes during the park designing process?
Absolutely. We work hand in hand with the athletes on every project, getting their recommendations throughout the design and build process, with the goal of creating the best courses possible. At the end of the day, it is the athletes who use the features, so they are who we are building for and their feedback is crucial to the overall success of any project.
3. For the Slope Style course, are you all going for big, new, or unique to get the best competition result?
We don’t have one single formula that we work on when we are building a Slope Style course, but we always focus on innovation and progression when we design and build a course.
4. What are some of the logistics for the X Games project – Time to design, time to build, upkeep during events, amount of people on crew, etc…?
As far as logistics go, we are already working with ESPN and Aspen Ski Company on planning for next year’s event. When we are out onsite, we send a crew of approximately 15 people out to Aspen for nearly the entire month of January. The X Games is definitely the biggest event that we work on every year, and we pretty much put the entire team into making it the best event possible. For us, the X Games are a full year team effort that goes beyond just building umps and rails – that why it’s so cool.
5. I’ve heard some of the athletes say this course will probably be bigger and better than the Olympics course coming up, thoughts? Do you all have any part in Olympics?
We are not doing any work on the Sochi courses, but are excited to see the inclusion of additional freestyle events into the biggest stage in the world of sports.
6. What is the difference between building a course for competition vs. everyday riding?
As we mentioned before, when we build a course or park set-up, we design for the intended rider. When it comes to a public park, you are building for a range of user abilities in a location that will be used throughout the year. In comparison, a competition course is normally designed for the best athletes in the business, and tends to be temporary set-up.
7. How many hours of sleep do you get during the X-Games?
Not enough…but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
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