ICYMI: The Week on Front Row

Editor’s note: A variety of X Games Aspen 2013 content from Buttermilk Mountain will be available live through Sunday across multiple platforms — television, smartphones, tablets, online, social media and more.

Aside from the athletes, no single element of X Games Aspen is more important than the slopes, SuperPipe, Big Air, Slopestyle and SnoCross ramps that make up the X Games courses. That’s where ESPN’s course construction and logistics team goes to work, creating the best experience for athletes and fans.

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“We are the first people on site and last to leave,’’ says Rich Bigge, senior manager of course construction and logistics for X Games.

“We work with the builders and designers from the very beginning of the planning stage, through final construction and testing of the course. Everything that happens with course construction comes through our team.”

Bigge and his team work closely with Snow Park Technologies, the company that constructs and maintains terrain park courses. Together, they began planning the Aspen course more than a year ago.

“We want X Games and ESPN to be seen as the leader in the action sports space, so our goal is to design and build great courses that the top action sports athletes will want to compete on.”

The athletes provide input into the courses as well.

“We’ll do a test on Slopestyle or SuperPipe for instance and the athletes will suggest changes to make the course better,” says Bigge. “We listen to what the participants are telling us.”

Course maintenance and safety are of paramount importance to everyone involved with X Games.

“This is one of the most important aspects of our job, and one we take very seriously,” says Bigge.

With the Aspen games underway, the team is looking ahead to the next event in Tignes, France then on to Foz do Iguacu, Brazil; Barcelona, Spain; Munich, Germany; and finally, in Los Angeles, California in August. Bigge believes that with the 2013 expansion, X Games has become a truly global event.

“We are introducing action sports and the ESPN brand to a new demographic of fan, and that is exciting.”

Allan Kreda wrote the above portion of this post. A version of the story originally appeared on ESPN’s internal blog, In The Know (ITK).

ICYMI: Highlights from the past week on Front Row

•Owen Groesser, a middle school basketball player with Down syndrome, was featured on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays this week. His unexpected performance in his team’s home finale took Twitter by storm and the hashtag #GetOwenOnSportsCenter spread, which led to Groesser and his dad appearing live on SportsCenter the next day. More on the story here.

• ESPN introduced a new This is SportsCenter spot featuring New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and his “fellow countryman,” The Swedish Chef. Front Row was able to get a few minutes with the chef for an exclusive behind-the-scenes interview.

First Take introduced Who We Got Wednesdays this week. The weekly theme will feature various celebrity guests and athletes joining Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith and Cari Champion at the First Take desk. Coordinating Producer Antoine Lewis shared more details here.

• ESPN tennis analyst Chris Evert guest starred on good friend Elizabeth Shue’s CSI show. Evert shared some of her thoughts about the differences between Hollywood and the tennis court.

Row of Four
Our favorites from across ESPN over the past week

• DJ Steve Porter creates a Walt Disney World Resort “Magical Mashup.”

Iker Merino, a nine-year old, scores a goal with an amazing bicycle kick.

• From Grantland: Former ESPN analyst and current Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona joins Bill Simmons to talk about Francona’s days with the Red Sox and his future in Cleveland.

• Enjoy an array of photos in this gallery ESPN Images.

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