Aspen now boasts a one-of-a-kind snowboarding experience. The 180-foot-wide, 550-foot-long pair of 22-foot-tall halfpipes separated by a 4-foot-wide spine is the largest halfpipe ever built. And the new feature, created by Snow Park Technologies, was put to the test Sunday. The Red Bull Double Pipe contest at Buttermilk this weekend saw 18 riders spin from pipe to pipe in a first-of-its-kind contest.
Red Bull approached Aspen Skiing last fall with the plan for the double pipe. Aspen Skiing has worked with Red Bull and SPT on the X Games for more than a decade. Red Bull is a longtime supporter and champion of the world’s top action sports athletes, and Aspen Skiing’s X Games has provided a stage for many Olympics hopefuls.
Since 1999, Snow Park Technologies founder Chris “Gunny” Gunnarson has designed and sculpted the Winter X Games and Burton U.S. Open courses that challenge snowboarding’s most daring riders. SPT has 28 employees who design and develop new parks every season at 15 ski areas across the West, including Buttermilk, Snowmass and Vail.
The SPT team sculpted the original X Games halfpipe at Buttermilk by moving dirt and digging a trench so pipe construction requires less snowmaking for the environmentally friendly Aspen Skiing. They had to tear down the X Games pipe and fill the trench with snow to make it match the grade of the adjacent run for the double pipe.