The partnership between SPT and PistenBully promises to be an exciting one. What were some of the reasons behind your decision?
At SPT, we put a heavy emphasis on having a culture that promotes purpose and progression in everything that we do: from parks, to projects, to partnerships. Working with PistenBully offered a unique opportunity to really become involved with the whole team and to collaborate on a long-term plan to continue evolving an already great machine in the Park Pro. The innovative features and high performance of the ParkPro is setting the benchmark and will greatly enhance our capabilities in terrain park construction going forward. We have seen so much progression in terrain parks and supporting machinery in our 20-year history that it is really appealing to be able to work with professionals who are like-minded in our approach to continuing that evolution. Although there are some other great benefits to our partnership, that was the biggest driver from SPT's perspective.
And, it is pretty convenient PistenBully is based here in Reno, which will lead to more timely and in-person interaction.
SPT is conducting a customer retreat next month. PistenBully is really excited about this as we will host one of the days at our North American headquarters in Reno. Can you provide some insight as to what takes place at your retreat?
The main focus of our fall retreat is to connect with all of our SPT Park partners and ramp up for the winter season. Most importantly, we use the retreat as an opportunity to encourage our extended team to never stop elevating themselves and their ability to influence the industry. I've always said that SPT is bigger than any one person, and its greatest strength is in the collective knowledge and resources of our whole tribe coming together to talk about how to make a difference. All the time.
That's the big picture. We have outside speakers, workshops and specific topics, but you have to attend to get the inside scoop!
Can you tell us what's on the docket for this winter (specific to events, i.e. Dew Tours, Winter X Games, etc?
The big event projects (in chronological order) are: Dew Tour Breckenridge, X Games Aspen, US Open at Vail and Peace Park. Might be a few sneaky special projects in the works, too.
How do you plan on using the PistenBully equipment?
Ha! To their fullest capabilities, of course!
We use every trick in the book, and every tool available to get the job done on time and to the highest level that circumstances allow. By far, the single most important physical tool is the grooming equipment, since the bulk of the work happens behind the sticks when we are in construction mode. The team is fired up about the new fleet of PistenBully machines that will be traveling with our crew on these big jobs.
Snow Park Technologies is probably best known for the Winter X Games. What are the principle aspects involved?
Wow, X Games is such a complex project every year, and we've been doing it for 20 years! As the biggest annual, multi-sport winter event, the X Games has so much pre-planning and coordination required among so many people and departments, all of which are critical to its success. No one area is more important than any other, but we are always under pressure to be in front of all of the other crews, like scaffolding, lighting, cabling, branding, TV and so much more. Other folks can't get their job done--or even get started in some cases--until we are out of the way, so it becomes a bit of a jigsaw puzzle to put together. There is a ton of coordination and logistics that require great teamwork and communication, not mention the goal of building fantastic competition courses. Fortunately, the X Games team is made up of great people who are kind of like a family.
What are some of the challenges you and your crew face when building the event?
Well, everything I just mentioned have a lot of elements that are challenging, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. This year we will have a fleet of 10 PistenBully cats out there and just keeping them logged, maintained and coordinated around the clock is one small, but critical piece that we put a lot of effort into.
The biggest challenge is continuously building compelling courses year after year that progress with the sport. We've been in the same locations for over a decade, which has its advantages in terms of understanding the mountain topography and snowmaking capabilities, plus the mountain team that we have been working closely with through all those years. The flipside challenge is that the same space that we've been in all this time does require some creativity to constantly progress and push design. At the end of the day, what counts is what gets built. We have been fortunate so far to have had great courses and competitions.
Any closing thoughts for the readers?
Whatever your trade is, be a true craftsman and do it with pride and purpose! And, make sure you have the right tool for the job. In our case, that means a banger fleet of PB's!!