Made in Vail – MTV’s high definition channel kicks it out from Eagle’s Nest
VAIL ” George Oliphant sits down at Vendetta’s in Vail Village Thursday afternoon and bites into a slice of pepperoni and black olive pizza.
“It’s the best pizza around,” he says.
Still in his ski clothes, the veejay for MHD, MTV Network’s high-definition music channel based atop Eagle’s Nest on Vail Mountain, just cruised down the hill from the studio.
Oliphant transplanted from Manhattan to Vail at the turn of the New Year to begin shooting MHD Uncompressed, the music channel’s premier program, a high-definition video countdown. Nearly two months later, the blond-haired, blue-eyed veejay knows his way around town from pizza to powder stashes.
VD: You’re a true local now, George.
GO: I like it here.
VD: When you moved to Vail to host MHD, I asked you what your favorite run on Vail Mountain was. You said Jade’s Glade, but what you say now, two months later, when you know the mountain better.
GO: I really like the trees in Blue Sky Basin under Skyline lift. The snow’s always good there. On a good powder day, Apres Vous is my favorite run.
VD: You started filming from Eagle’s Nest right after the New Year, and MHD will be based in Vail through mid-April. How many episodes of MHD have you shot?
GO: Seven, with seven to go. The seventh episode is our best episode thus far. It was our first-ever live show with a live audience. MTV Networks, Showtime and BET brought out Yellowcard and Jamie Cullum to Beaver Creek last weekend to play for their cable clients. Plus we filled the audience with ski instructors, ski patrol and people from around town.
VD: What were the first six episodes?
GO: Episode one was shot in the studio. I said, ‘Hi everybody, welcome to MHD Uncompressed. I’m George Oliphant. I’m here in Vail. Look at the views.’ We shot in the studio through episode five to try and show the bedrock of MHD Uncompressed at the top of Vail. The Fray came and played a live performance in our studio at Eagle’s Nest for episode four the day they played at 8150 here in town. They were fantastic. I listen to a lot of Fray now. Episode five, we wanted to take it outside but we had inclement weather all week. The sixth episode we took it outside and shot up in a hot air balloon with Merlin from Camelot Balloons flying over the Eagle airport. We did shoot a couple of segments at the Honda Sessions and the U.S. Freeskiing Open, too.
VD: What’s a typical episode like?
GO: Each episode has nine segments. The top segments come from state-of-the-art high-definition videos. Then we have two with live performances from an MTV, VH1 or CMT show like Crossroads, Storytellers, Two Dollar Bill, Life in Rhymes UnPlugged. Or we will show Music with Altitude, which was shot over in Breckenridge in early January with performances by the Goo Goo Dolls, Dashboard Confessional and Gary Allan. And of course, The Fray, Yellowcard and Jamie Cullum.
VD: Can you divulge any information about the remaining seven episodes?
GO: VH1 Lift Ticket will host James Blunt at The Ritz in Bachelor Gulch along with MHD Uncompressed in the middle of March. We’re also shooting Spring Back to Vail’s live concert in April, but we’re still working on the other five.
VD: Is MHD available locally yet?
GO: Not yet, but I’m hoping it will be soon.
VD: You have a co-host, Jeremy Bloom, who just skied in the Olympics. When will he be joining you?
GO: As soon as he gets back from Torino.
VD: What’s the coolest thing about living in Vail?
GO: New York’s amazing, but it’s a totally different quality of life. There it’s all social and parties. Not like you don’t have that here, but you go to bed here at 10 o clock most nights and get up at 7:30, which is unheard of. I never get up in New York earlier than 9, but I guess with the two hour time difference it’s about the same. I’m also more athletic here. I go skiing or snowboarding every day. I’m having a really good time. I don’t want MHD to leave Vail.
Arts and Entertainment Writer Laura. A. Ball can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 14641, or firstname.lastname@example.org.