Terrain parks at ski resorts have grown from targeting a niche market with skateboard-inspired jumps and rails to part of prime time, with events like the X Games Superpipe finals attracting worldwide attention.
And one of the most well-recognized terrain park companies at Lake Tahoe is about to step into its own spotlight, with a TV series focused on its construction of jumps, halfpipes and terrain parks around the world.
Snow Park Technologies has partnered with National Geographic for a television series called Mountain Movers, which is scheduled to air on the National Geographic Channel in April.
The series will give a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most innovative projects on snow, according to a Thursday post on National Geographic's website.
"Building snow parks is tricky business under the best of conditions," said Chris "Gunny" Gunnarson, the owner of Snow Park Technologies, or SPT, in a statement about the upcoming show. "Mountain Movers is about taking on the big challenges and having the right tools to get the job done."
Gunnarson is in Colorado for the Burton U.S. Open and was not immediately available for comment Friday.
SPT, which started in 1997, is involved in the construction of terrain park features at Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Resort and Heavenly Mountain Resort, at Lake Tahoe's South Shore, as well as Alpine Meadows and Northstar California at the North Shore. The company has built more than 250 competition courses, including for the X Games, as well as numerous special projects for athletes and the snowsports industry.
"We capture every part of the process from the designing and planning to the install challenges, and the mechanical failures in between," according to the Thursday post. "These guys work a demanding job around the clock with the utmost passion and craftsmanship in the most brutal weather conditions, and somehow manage to hit unrealistic deadlines."
One episode of the upcoming show is expected to feature South Shore professional snowboarder Jamie Anderson hitting a specially constructed jump that sent her over Sierra-at-Tahoe Road, said resort spokesman Steven Hemphill, who added that he was limited in what he could say about the series.
Jason Carbone, the show's producer, said in a video announcing the series he is amazed at the lengths SPT goes to create the park features they do. He said the show will place viewers in one-of-a-kind situations, from avalanche control to building a halfpipe in blizzard conditions.
"These guys are really moving, literally, hundreds of thousands of tons of snow on a weekly basis so that we can all have fun on it," Carbone said.