Steamboat producers cross the globe to push snowmobile limits

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Slednecks X teaser

Slednecks X teaser

photo

Clayton Stassart

Canadian rider Ross Mercer set a snowmobile distance record (260 feet) in March at The Compound private ranch west of Steamboat Springs. Mercer's quest to break the record is documented in "Slednecks X," which will debut locally at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Steamboat Mountain Theater.

photo

Clayton Stassart

Alaskan rider Kyle Armbrust perfects some freestyle moves this winter at the Compound private ranch west of Steamboat Springs. Armbrust can be seen riding in the locally-produced "Slednecks X," which debuts at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Steamboat Mountain Theater.

photo

Clayton Stassart

Alaskan rider Kyle Armbrust perfects some freestyle moves this winter at the Compound private ranch west of Steamboat Springs. Armbrust can be seen riding in the locally-produced, "Slednecks X," which debuts at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Steamboat Mountain Theater.

Past Event

"Slednecks X" premiere

  • Sunday, September 23, 2007, 8 p.m.
  • Steamboat Mountain Theater, Steamboat Springs
  • Not available

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— When people push themselves on snowmobiles - whether dropping a 120-foot cliff on Rabbit Ears Pass, launching into the record books over a 260-foot gap or backflipping to gold medals in front of an internationally televised audience - Chris Brown and Clayton Stassart are often the ones behind the camera to catch the action. Of course, they often find themselves in the driver's seat, performing these stunts on their own.

Stassart and Brown, co-owners of Compound Films, have built a reputation as the production company of choice when the best riders want to go the biggest. This year, the Steamboat Springs duo was chosen to produce the 10th installment of the popular "Slednecks" video series from the outerwear and apparel company of the same name.

"This is our biggest movie yet," said Stassart, who has worked on six previous "Slednecks" features. "Slednecks X" premieres at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Steamboat Mountain Theater.

The past year has provided the co-producers/directors/videographers with ample footage as the sport of snowmobile freestyle experienced its biggest breakthrough.

"After (Winter X Games 11), the sport has just been growing," Stassart said. "That introduced it to the mainstream. So many people had never even seen a backflip before."

Chris Burandt, a 28-year-old Kremmling resident, had never landed a snowmobile backflip before a winter visit to the "Compound" - Brown's 128-acre ranch west of Steamboat. The ranch is laced with massive gap jumps and berms that provides riders a haven for testing the sport's evolving trick set.

A segment of "Slednecks X" follows Burandt's journey from learning his first flip at the Compound in early January to a behind-the-scenes look at his X Games gold-medal run on Jan. 28.

In addition to Burandt, the 50-minute film has eight rider segments on terrain as varied as the Canadian Rockies and New Zealand.

But the central Routt County location provides some of the best backdrops for stunts like Ross Mercer's March distance record attempt and the cover shot of Brown's gap jump over a Union Pacific train near Milner.

"There's lots to film here at the Compound and riding locally," Stassart said. "It works well with a good snow year here, where we don't have to follow the snow around."

Stassart said that with nearly 15,000 copies already sold (the DVD has been available online for a month), they expect to soon break even on their largest-budget film to date. They hope to break industry records by selling more than 30,000 copies with Slednecks handling the distribution to stores around the globe.

But they're too busy to crunch numbers. As Stassart and Burandt kick off the Saturday debut, Brown already is at work on "Slednecks XI," riding and filming in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Visit www.slednecks.com or www.compoundfilms.com for more details.

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