MTV to broadcast from Vail studio |

MTV to broadcast from Vail studio

Ed Stoner
NWS MTV and Vail Mt BH 11-15

VAIL ” Vail Mountain wants its MTV, and MTV wants its Vail.

The mountain and the music network announced a partnership Tuesday that will bring the studio of MTV’s new high-definition network to Eagle’s Nest on top of Vail Mountain.

The new network, called MHD, will show original programming filmed at the mountaintop studio. VJ George Oliphant will host a top-10 video show and a “video stew” show from the studio.

The network, which will debut Jan. 16, will also broadcast various other MTV, VH1 and CMT shows that are shot in high-def.

Vail Chief Operating Officer Bill Jensen said it’s a good opportunity for Vail to market itself to the valued 18-to-34-year-old demographic.

“We look at this partnership as an investment in the future,” he said.

High-definition television sets provide sharper pictures and better sound than traditional analog sets. There is a push under way to convert televisions to the new digital, high-definition sets.

Freestyle skier and former University of Colorado wide receiver Jeremy Bloom will also host the network. Bloom, who is now training for the upcoming Torino Winter Olympics , become heavily involved in the network after the games.

MTV plans to shoot 36 hours of original programming at Eagle’s Nest over the four months they’ll be in the studio. The partnership is slated to last until April.

The MHD studio will also host musicians during the winter. The glass-walled studio could accommodate some small-scale, possibly acoustic performances, said Todd Phillips, an MTV executive. Larger performances may be staged outside the studio, he said.

Well-defined goals

Tony Dunaif, also an MTV executive, said the network wanted to find a setting for its new network that would show off the visual clarity that the new technology offers.

“We knew that location was everything,” he said. “It needed to be dramatic. It needed to be picturesque.”

Ten million homes were watching HDTV programming with the new sets as of March, according to In-Stat market research. That number is expected to grow to 52 million by 2009.

For Vail and MTV, the partnership is a common quest to appeal to the 18-to-34-year-old demographic. Young consumers will lead the way in investing in the new technology, Dunaif said.

“They are the ones who will buy the sets first,” he said.

The channel will feature some shows that are already shot in high definition, including VH1’s “Storytellers,” MTV’s “Unplugged” and the MTV award shows.

MTV is still negotiating with TV carriers to determine where and how widely the network will be available, Phillips said.

It’s a more subtle way for Vail to get exposure than buying ads in other mediums, Jensen said.

The partnership was announced Tuesday at a press conference at the Pepsi Center with Jensen, Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, Oliphant, Bloom and MTV executives.

‘The world’s our oyster’

Skiers will be able to peek into the MHD studio to see what’s going on, said Vail Mountain spokeswoman Jen Brown. Crews will be working for the next few weeks to finish the studio, Jensen said.

The studio is pretty small and won’t have an audience like MTV’s “Total Request Live,” Phillips said.

The second-floor studio at Eagle’s Nest has views of skiers on Eagle’s Nest Ridge as well as views of Game Creek Bowl and 14,005-foot Mount of the Holy Cross.

Oliphant, 25, is a Steamboat Springs native who’s been a host of MTVu, a station aimed toward college students, for the last several years. He said he’s excited to come back to Colorado.

“The energy’s been building up,” he said. “I hope I can empty like a volcano that energy all over Vail.”

Oliphant, who will also write for the show, will be filming all over the mountain, hopefully skiing with some musicians who are inclined to take a few turns. The film crew will be spending some time at the terrain parks, and will get into town, too, he said.

“The world’s our oyster,” he said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 604, or

Vail, Colorado

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