Building Jumps for the Winter X Games

Written by: Liz Hyde, Associate Producer

With a grand event like the Winter X Games, it only makes sense to have a very action-packed production, which we sure experienced. The stakes are higher than ever and these guys were trying day after day to not let the pressure get to them. Once I laid eyes on the enormous pile of snow used for big air, I think our entire crew really understood the massive scope of this event. When the jump was actually completed, it looked like it was designed for someone who had no fear of dying. Literally. This was the jump that rookie Landon was assigned and he had a lot to prove to Gunny this time. Our entire crew was pulling for him, but it seemed like a near impossible challenge. Landon’s nerves were very visible to everyone on set; he clearly did not want to screw this one up.

Pressed for time to pull off the biggest event of the year, a huge snowstorm rolls through just in the nick of time. This did not make for a very fun day of shooting for our crew. It was difficult for our camera crew to get set and our audio guy was slipping and sliding all over the place. Not to mention freezing temperatures. My fingers had lost all feeling. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be in a snow cat, and I was getting very concerned for these guys. Finally, Gunny made the call to stop production for the night. Our crew was jumping with joy, but SPT’s stress level just got kicked up yet another notch.

Nothing was as scary as when they were pulling the shipping container up the icy road. I couldn’t believe the nerve these guys have. We were on the side of a freaking mountain, inches away from the edge! I held my breath the entire time. Even though it was the only way up, it seemed like the worst idea ever.

I was most excited for the athlete arrival. Mark McMorris and Torstein Horgmo are two of the biggest players in the game right now, and I was very anxious to meet them and see what they thought. They were impressed at the sight of it, but things were different once they tested. When Mark McMorris landed on the knuckle I thought there was going to be a hospital call. I have never witnessed something like that in real life, and we were freaking out! I just remember thinking, “What if he gets injured and can’t perform at the actual event, that would be an absolute nightmare for SPT.” Thankfully, he was okay. He wasn’t so happy with Gunny but gave his feedback, and they were forced to make changes. It was pretty awesome to witness the relationship these guys have with SPT.

The shoot overall was hectic and freezing, but a success nonetheless. Once the course was complete, and we stood next to these features in real life… we totally forgot about the cold and the drama. These things were imaginary and it was a blast watching it take shape from start to finish.


Tune in to Mountain Movers: The Big Time tonight at 8P when SPT kicks things into overdrive for their highly anticipated, stressful, and action-packed event of the year: the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado. As one of the original course designers of the Winter X Games 17 years ago, Gunny still feels the pressure to build the biggest, most intense course the industry has ever seen. Gunny has passed on the torch to his young protégé Chris Castaneda to lead the crew from SPT, who will have to manage the diverse 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 world-wide televised live event. With the highest caliber athletes waiting and the whole planet watching, SPT will have their work cut out for them.


  1. Bill B
    May 23, 2013, 8:20 pm

    OK, so I watched the show tonight, here is what I thought. I enjoy learing about other professions thus a fan of reality TV.Had high expectations being shown on NATGO….was kinda let down. Drama-Drama-Drama……..use to it on other channels, but again, not expecting it here. I was hoping for a real portrail of the profession, not just another lets over dramaize the smallest little daily hickup. As I indicated, I like reality TV, howeverit seems like EVERYshow these days is just all about creating un-necessary drama over the slighest little event. When this reality show thing started (ax-men and Ice road truckers) come to mind…….yes there was some drama, but 95% of the show was actually about the profession. Can we get back to that please…….