Watching pro snowboarders hit the pipe or ride big mountain
can be a pretty awe-inspiring experience, but have you ever wondered what goes
on behind the scenes?
Well, now everyone will be able to see the hard work and
drama that unfolds during training and touring as part of Canada’s national
MTV released a one-hour television special, “Summer
Sessions,” earlier this month, profiling riders competing our own backyard to
become members of the Canadian National Snowboard team. But if you missed the
show, you’ll still have a chance to check it out, because MTV is turning the
concept into a 10-part television series, entitled “Over The Bolts.’
Don Young is executive producer of features for Canada’s
Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium, which includes Canadian broadcasters like
CTV and MTV.
The series is a collaborative effort between three organizations:
the Media Consortium, MTV and the Canadian Snowboard Federation (CSF). MTV
approached the Media Consortium to see if they would be interested in expanding
on “Summer Sessions” and creating a “multi-million dollar” series.
“They came to see me about three or four months ago and they
said, ‘look, we’re doing this ‘Summer Sessions,’ and we think there’s a bigger,
longer, sexier more dramatic story here,” Young said.
Young and his colleagues loved the concept, which sees crews
traveling with the athletes and coaches to see the preparation, and drama, that
happens between events.
“We have complete access to the team — the coaches,
the administration,” Young added. “The camera is going to go behind the scenes
when they decide who’s going to compete in which event — who makes it and
They also contacted the CSF to ensure they could give crews
the behind-the-scenes access necessary to produce the show. The CSF was happy
“They love it — they see this as an opportunity to get
unprecedented exposure and the audience levels that we’re anticipating for the
Games and the pre-Games coverage, its going to be like nothing ever before,”
Young speculates that hockey, figure skating and
snowboarding will be the three highlight sports of the Games, and believes that
“Over the Bolts” will definitely help boost the popularity of snowboarding.
“It’s a real commitment to the snowboarding team. It’s the
first time anything like this has been done on this scale, and we’re going to
have cameras travel around the world with the folks who are competing for
positions on the team for the next year.
They’ve adopted a reality-drama format, similar to shows
like “The Hills,” which seem to appeal to a young demographic.
“(MTV) know(s) their audience, so they wanted to shape a
program that would resonate well with their audience, so we’re not particularly
interested in fastest times going down hills, because that would resonate much
better with the TSN audience. But the MTV audience is really interested in the
behind-the-scenes human drama and the personalities.”
So far, the concept has been well received, with a positive
response from most major media outlets. But with a background as a documentary
maker, Young felt the one-hour program could appeal to a wider audience.
“I want music, I want visuals, and I want stunning imagery,”
The 10 half-hour episodes will have a much more
international scope, with riders and crews traveling around the world, to
locales in Korea, Germany, Colorado, to shoot for the show.
“So, it will visually feel much more exotic. It will be a
much prettier show, because they were on a fairly small budget to do ‘Summer
Sessions.’ We can put more resources into this, so the visuals will be just
The tracking will feature new, unknown indie bands that have
been recruited by MTV for the project. They also plan to push the online aspect
of the show, with additional footage and segments that don’t make it on the TV
show put onto their website.
“One thing we learned about the Beijing Games is that this
really is the time of YouTube, and this will be the first real YouTube
Olympics, so our online CTV Olympics website is going to be completely
integrated with the television shows,” Young said.
Young is quick to point out that this isn’t just another
reality show, either.With all of the additional aspects being integrated into
the 10-part series, Young and his colleagues hope it will have far-reaching
“We have all the channels that CTV and Rogers own,” Young
pointed out, “…so even though this is driven by MTV, it will air on TSN, on
CTV, on SportsNet, on Rogers, it will be on OLN…. This will be the most
extensive coverage that the snowboarding guys have ever had.”
Now, the crews are just getting ready to begin production,
and are preparing to set up shop here in Whistler, so expect to see them in and
around Whistler all season long. The series is slated to air in mid-February,
though they have yet to nail down a specific date.
“We’ve put quite a lot of money and effort into it so far,
and from what I see, and I’ve done a lot of shows, my instincts are that this
is really going to work.” n
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