The Saratoga Sun -

 
 

Filming Saratoga skijoring

Web and TV outlets report on first time local sporting event

 

Mike Armstrong

Mike Crossett, of Fast Forward Media, shoots Sunday's races.

RatedRed.com is a media company introducing the sport of skijoring to its viewers. The team they sent to Saratoga last weekend to capture the races included producer Molly Rigger and camera person Joel Cossand.

According to Cossand, who worked for the Nashville-based company, RatedRed.com is one of the fastest-growing digital news sources on the web. In the past month they had 1.5 million views.

Crossett is from Nashville originally and said he went from high school straight into production work. Crossett attributed this to having software like Final Cut Pro so he could bypass college and get started in the workforce.

When asked what has been his favorite event to record he said, "I don't really have a favorite, because each has it's own interesting aspect to it."

Matt Crossett from Fast Forward Media does have a favorite. It is skijoring. He is vice president of Ski Joring America, an organization and governing body seeking to push the sport out in the world.

Crossett grew up in the Midwest. He went to college in North Carolina where he got a degree in media. After graduating, he moved to Los Angeles and worked in movies, TV, music videos, commercials, and video games. Crossett came to work for Fast Forward Media in 2013.

Fast Forward Media is a company offering services creating web site and web content along with doing video production for broadcast and corporate.

Since coming on board, he has expanded Fast Forward Media's asset Durango TV-Channel 15 and produced several documentaries on activities around Southwest Colorado.

A production going outside of Colorado is "Ice Cowboys," an hour-long documentary exploring the sport of equestrian skijoring. It was released October 2015.

"Ice Cowboys follows competitors of the open class during the 2015 season as they travel from one small town to the next fighting for glory," according to Crossett.

The documentary has been aired on the Altitude channel several times. In the near future the Today show will be showcasing skijoring using footage Fast Forward Media has produced.

There were snowboarders racing in Saratoga, but in general, Crossett said they don't do well in most races. Skiers fare much better on nearly all courses that are different than what Saratoga groomed.

"Snowboarders are doing okay today on this course, because it is a straight shot with moguls instead of jumps. Saratoga is unique that the horses are running down a dirt track on the left with the snow being on the right. This is really a horse race with a good skier being pulled behind where the fastest time wins. "

Crossett explained the differences further. "Usually the course has the dirt track in the middle with the snow on both sides. On many straight tracks the skier has to end the race with putting rings on their arms. Other races have gates and slalom marked by flags and poles. Whatever the race, the key is making sure the horses are safe running. I don't worry about the skiers so much, because they know what they are getting into. Horses don't, so we take every step to ensure their welfare. This course is great concerning the safety of the horses."

The future looks bright for skijoring. According to Crossett, "The sport has been around for awhile, primarily in small towns of Colorado and Montana. The growth of the sport has taken off in the past few years because of social media. Fast Forward Media is promoting this sport because of my position with Ski Joring America, but as additional digital companies discover skijoring, intensified exposure means more places want to have events. I have been contacted by someone in nearly every state wanting to learn about doing a competition."

Crossett said there was another skijoring contest happening in Leadville, Colorado on the same weekend as the Saratoga competition.

"Leadville is the grand-daddy of them all. If you watch Ice Cowboys, you will see the race going down main street. There is something different about it being in a town versus a field. A different energy is felt because you are surrounded by buildings and people are usually squeezed tighter. It is a badass race."

Crossett enjoys what he is doing and his efforts are bearing fruit, as many locals are already looking forward to the return of skijoring next year.

 

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