Since the first competition at Big Bear Lake, Calif., in
1997, the Winter X Games have grown to become
one of the premier names in extreme sports events.
Now staged annually in the U.S., Norway, and China,
the Winter X Games are produced and broadcast by the
American sports network ESPN and draw millions of televi-sion
viewers each year.
A big part of that success can be attributed to the work of
Snow Park Technologies (SPT), a California company that
performs event development, planning and management
services for the Winter X Games as well as other major snow
sports competitions such as the Burton U.S. Open and the
Winter Dew Tour.
SPT has been creating courses for the Winter X Games
since the inaugural event was held 24 years ago. The tradition
continued this year at the Buttermilk Ski Resort in Aspen,
Colo., where the 2020 Winter X Games drew more than 150
elite athletes and close to 112,000 spectators for four days of
competition from Jan. 23 to 26.
SPT designed and built all of the ski, snowboard, snow
bike and snowmobile courses in Aspen and was on site
during the competition to ensure every surface was
Chris Castaneda, director of operations for SPT, says
while Winter X Games competitions and special events are
now held on three continents, none are bigger than the one
“Aspen is the Super Bowl of the them all,” said Castaneda,
adding that an attendance record was set during this year’s
event when 49,500 people packed into Buttermilk Ski Resort
for the third day of competition.
“That’s the largest single day crowd in Winter X Games
history, so that’s pretty special to be a part of something like
that,” he said.
For X Games Aspen, SPT’s snow building crews constructed
eight competition venues for Snowmobile Freestyle, Snow
Bike Best Trick, Snow Bike Cross, Ski and Snowboard Big
Air, Ski and Snowboard Slopestyle, Ski and Snowboard Su-perpipe,
and Special Olympics Unified Ski and Snowboard,
where two dozen medal events were held.
Castaneda notes that SPT’s involvement with X Games As-pen
wasn’t limited to course building and grooming for the
competition venues, and that a lot of work went on behind
SPT was responsible for snow building and grooming in
many other areas such as TV platforms, festival village areas
and the music stage venue, and also took care of a slew of
other operational needs in and around the event.
Castaneda points out that for each Winter X Games event,
SPT’s work starts well before the first snow falls. “It begins in
the summertime with course design…and then from there we
get into the rail fabrication for the slopestyle course,” he said.
“We work closely with the Buttermilk team prior to even
getting on site,” Castaneda said. “We do summer site visits
with all the key vendors and the ESPN players to overlook the
courses, walk the hill, discuss plans as they relate to all the
32 April 2020 | snowopsmag.com