Feb 27, 2013 2:57 PM by Melissa Anderson - MTN News
HELENA - Snowmobiling is one of the most daring winter sports - and for those who thrive on adrenaline, extreme snowmobiling is a way of life.
"We jumped a snowmobile out of an airplane at 13,000 feet. He rode it for 40 seconds and 5,000 feet in a free fall before he bailed and pulled the rip cord. The sled of course tumbled through the air and hit the ground, almost hit a cow. We got written up in a lot of magazines for that," Greg Painter, a movie producer with Mountain Mod Mania, said.
At Mountain Mod Mania, they spare no expense. Because filming action from a helicopter, atop the highest mountains on the biggest, baddest mountain sleds, sells.
"Nowadays with the advent of helmet cameras and point of view cameras, we can put you in the drivers seat," Painter noted.
For the past 10 years, Painter has dedicated his heart and soul to making extreme snowmobiling videos.
Both of his sons began riding at an early age.
"The moments where you are actually got the mindset where you don't think you're going to make it but something miraculous happens and you pull one of the gnarliest lines is unimaginable, and you get that feeling of adrenaline and accomplishment. It's amazing," Quay Painter said.
"I've always wanted to ride snowmobiles and I've always wanted to be that professional rider and I just pursued that goal, and I worked for it and i worked for it. and I'm finally starting to get there," His brother Jentry added.
While sponsorship helps cover the cost of these powerful snow toys ranging from $25,000 to $50,000, crashes are still a huge setback.
"Some of the stuff we do, we climb up through avalanche shoots right through the rocks you know up over the mountains, stuff that mountain goats don't even climb." Painter said.
Nonetheless, Painter says safety is his number one priority: "That's one thing that you always got to be cognizant about is avalanche conditions and keeping your riders safe."
Painter's movies are among the top three extreme snowmobile sales with worldwide distribution. That's because only the best clips make the cut.
"Helicopters are cool, but the average helicopter costs between $2,000 and $2,500 an hour. You times that by a day or two of filming, it's a lot of expense so you got to sell a lot of movies at $25 bucks a whack," he said.
Filmed mostly in Canada, Utah, Wyoming, and Nevada, Painter says the steeper the mountain or chute, the better: "If you've climbed this mountain this year, you've got to climb a taller mountain next year. You've got to do something more extreme next year."
And no matter how extreme the family tradition, it has brought confidence and will be carried on.
"My kids, they'll ride, they'll drive, they'll do everything that I did," Jentry said.
"Having the movie scene with my dad as the producer definitely opened up a lot of doors and a lot of opportunities. I owe a lot to my dad," said Quay.