ASPEN, Colo. — Every year, for four days, Winter X Games takes over Buttermilk Mountain to create one of the most exciting and spectacular television sets ever.
However, unlike most television sets, the Winter X Games is not in a studio or on a backlot, but rather the entire base of a mountain.
The Winter X Games venue is made up of six courses: the Snowmobile course, the X Course, the Slopestyle course, the Street venue, the Big Air jump and the SuperPipe.
Though we’ve all joked about “board meetings” on the chairlift, the Winter X Games course design begins with just that.
Along with the Global X Sports & Competition department, course builders from Snow Park Technologies and several athletes from each sport meet at Buttermilk for a site visit about six months before Winter X Games.
At the site visit, athletes and course builders walk the mountain and envision the most progressive, creative and safe courses in the world.
Once the designs are laid out digitally, the build begins.
About a month before the event, ESPN’s build staff and Snow Park Technologies relocate to Aspen, while the rest of us sit at home jealous we aren’t getting our après-ski on.
It’s not all bluebird days and powder turns; it takes 12 SPT course builders, 10 cats and more than 2600 hours to create the courses. Not to mention the hundreds of other staff members constructing everything else on the venue.
The world’s top athletes and builders converge in here Thursday through Sunday, where ESPN, ESPN2 ESPN 3D and ABC telecast all the coverage live.