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from espn Freeskiing http://espn.go.com/action/xgames/blog/_/post/6012850/building-wx15-venue
Probably a repost
With little more than two weeks until Winter X Games 15 kicks off in Aspen, Colo., Chris "Gunny" Gunnarson, Snow Park Technologies President and General Manager, who's built the courses for Winter X for the last 10 years, has been hard at work at the Buttermilk venue.
Gunny's crew of 12 arrived in Aspen on Jan. 4, and, as they always do, hit the ground running. Twelve snowcats and an excavator have been operating daily from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. pushing snow and wenching features. Next week it's all about scaffolding, fence lines and cabling.
The plentiful early-season Colorado snow means there has been less snowmaking and more course building. In turn, the crew is several days ahead of schedule. By this weekend, the SuperPipe and the X course will be roughed in.
Perched atop the first feature on the Slopestyle course, Gunny says he's in the overbuilding stage to ensure there's enough mass to work with when it's time to cut, sculpt and add the jibs.
The big change on the Slopestyle course comes at the third feature, where the course straddles a large evergreen. For six years, the course went to the right of the tree, and for the last two years, it went to the left. This year's course is split and offers riders a choice. (The easier line veers right of the tree.)
On the venue, Gunny's radio emits a constant stream of updates. One crew member, who is digging a hole for who knows what, says he's four hours out -- the snow so cold and hard it's like cutting through marble.
"In terms of magnitude, it's the biggest project of the year," says Gunny. "The size, the way we shape the features, the grandiose start structures specific to X. No event even comes close in terms of the amount of planning, coordinating and executing."
Cruising past the site of the yet-to-be-built snowmobile course and down to the parking lot, a semi-truck from Truckee, Calif., arrives carrying the materials for the new Real Snow event, including the parking pipe, the concrete ledge and the cheese grater stairs.
Over at the Big Air course, a cat is wenching down the 38-degree face of the landing for the first time. The jump is identical to last year's, but with a steeper landing, which will also serve as the landing of the last jump of the X course.
"We go so hard these first couple of weeks and feel under the gun every minute," says Gunny. "So it's a big deal the first time I drive from town and see the lights on it. I think, wow, we made that. After 10 Winter X Games, that's one thing I never get tired of."