An interview with Snow Park Technologies’ Chris “Gunny” Gunnarson on building terrain parks, snowsports participation and “Moving Mountains”
National Geographic’s reality TV show—Mountain Movers—focuses on the terrain park building crew at Snow Park Technologies (SPT). SPT is responsible for some of the most innovative terrain parks in the world, including Winter X Games, the Burton U.S. Open and the Winter Dew Tour.
Curious about how Mountain Movers make terrain park building look so damned exciting, we caught up with Chris Gunnarson and grilled him for some answers.
O: You must be really excited to be in Mountain Movers, what inspired you to have a show on National Geographic?
Chris: After looking at the reality shows currently on TV, it seemed that a season on the road with the SPT crew had a lot of aspects that would make it worth watching, even to viewers who don’t get on snow. After running the idea by our agents, we brought the show concept to a few TV networks, and found a solid partnership with the National Geographic Channel.
Having the opportunity to showcase what Snow Park Technologies does to a national audience has been an exciting process; Mountain Movers brings viewers behind the scenes of some of the largest, most innovative projects in winter action sports, this is an area that most people normally don’t get to see.
O: We think of terrain park building as quiet, technical work done away from the eyes of resort visitors; what effects do you think this behind-the-scenes footage will have?
Chris: As you mention, terrain park building is more or less done behind the scenes. At resorts and events, skiers and riders show up and the features are fully built and freshly groomed. Mountain Movers gives viewers the opportunity to see the planning, work and dedication that goes into building these venues. And, while Mountain Movers is primarily focused on the building side of the sport; we hope that our passion for snow sports, living and working in the mountains is clear to viewers.
At SPT we all got into this business because—plain and simple—snowboarding is FUN, we hope this message is present in each episode. With Mountain Movers, viewers will see how much effort goes into creating the venues, as well as the amazing athleticism from top-level snowboarders these days.
O: The show gets pretty intense at times, do you think this could affect the way viewers see snowsports in general?
Chris: In our job there are dramatic circumstances, but on the whole these moments are about meeting deadlines, as well as dealing with the stress of mechanical failures and rapidly changing weather.
Knowing that we play a part in progressing snowboarding is important to us from a lifestyle, career and personal standpoint. Everyone in our company shares that passion, and the payoff is amazing when you can watch a friend win a gold medal on a course you built. It’s the same as watching a kid learn to ski or ride and become a life-long participant.
It can be hard working with big personalities and ever-changing weather conditions, but at the end of the day we truly have amazing and unique jobs. We hope Mountain Movers allows the people at home to experience this.
O: Do you think the show will affect the number of new snowsports participants?
Chris: Growing snowboard participation is one of the pillars Snow Park Technologies was founded on. So yes, this was absolutely an underlying factor in starting the show.
Most people are only ever exposed to snowboarding through major televised events such as the X Games. We hope that bringing a snow-focused show to a major network will inspire more people to go up to their local mountain to try snowboarding, especially the teaching terrain efforts we are working on with our resort partners.
O: What made you think your business could be good reality TV material?
Chris: The world that SPT works in is unique: we work with some of the largest resorts in North America, building courses for the biggest events in winter action sports, and we interact with skiing and snowboarding’s most elite athletes. Throw in working in some of the most scenic, remote and beautiful locations in the world, and we feel we have a recipe for an exciting narrative viewers will truly enjoy.
Mountain Movers airs at 8pm E.T. on May 16th and May 23rd, in the next episode SPT visits our friends at Sun Valley, Idaho.
To see the episode teaser, as well as to get more information about Mountain Movers, visit: https://www.facebook.com/SnowParkTech?fref=ts
Mountain Movers on location at Sun Valley, Idaho.