The Building of the X-Games

TechnoAlpin is very proud to have been the principal snowmaking supplier to the Aspen Ski Corporation in the building of the 2017 X-Games.  The Winter X-Games is one of the most prominently viewed events in winter sports and is a showcase for gifted extreme athletes in many disciplines. The amount of machine made snow required to pull off these world-class events is astronomical. TechnoAlpin would like to believe that we help the Aspen Ski Corp do it in the most efficient and environmentally sensitive way. Take the Super Pipe for example. Several years ago, Aspen meticulously crafted a precise dirt underlay for the Super Pipe. In doing so, the construction required much less machine made snow than perhaps a typical situation calls for. After a year’s experience building a Super Pipe that got rave reviews from competitors, our automated snowmaking equipment now knows the amount of snow that is required to duplicate it, year after year, without overproduction. The data studied is the most efficient of its kind and gives the figures needed to distinguish the quantity of snow Super Pipe normally demands.

Because there is an underlying need of dirt work involved for the Big Air Competition, other venues have had difficulty being as well defined. As world-class athletes continue to push the envelope, the dimensions of “Big” have grown and this is also true of Slope Style and snowmobile racing which create issues of its own.  You can’t have earthworks everywhere.  Buttermilk, after all, is before and after X-Games, which is a real ski area with a narrow corridor back to its principal lift. Still, our automated equipment has told us the amount of snow it takes to build world-class X and is about sixty million gallons above Buttermilk’s retail requirement. Of course, on melt down, those gallons end up right back in the stream from where they originated. This year was a challenge to get those gallons because late November and early December snowmaking temperatures were marginal to say the least. Aspen has more than one hundred TechnoAlpin guns among its four resorts and after Christmas, many of the fan guns were loaned to Buttermilk.

Not only does TechnoAlpin technology help ASC keep track of snow volume to better control over production, we also manipulate the snow quality which is not always the same throughout the building process.  Dense, high-volume snow works perfectly at the base of these monstrous features, in the Pipe, and for 
Snowmobiles.  The final layers of the other events require higher quality snow which is known as landing zone snow. At TechnoAlpin, we make it happen automatically.

One would think that tower guns would be the hot setup for building these huge features and Buttermilk has several, but with 50’ and 60’ features, towers have their limitations. Also, ESPN wants clear camera shots. In order to get these shots, Buttermilk’s layout allows snowmakers to place carriage guns in pristine positioning for them to build giant mounds, put the carriages on top of those mounds, and start the process all over again.

The X-games is not the end of our commitment to Aspen. We are also the main snowmakers for the courses of the FIS Season Finals to be held in Aspen March 15th through March 19th. The firepower on the relatively small footprint of X-Games is truly remarkable and TechnoAlpin is steadfast to Aspen’s efforts to create a legacy.

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