By MICHELE McDONALD/Montana State News
A typical day at the office doesn’t include a suit and tie for Jason Fischer. His office is his playground. The playground is the adrenaline ridden, freestyle snowmobile shows.
Fischer is freelance marketer in the snowmobile industry, as well as currently working for Octane Addictions as a project manager. The 37-year-old has traveled the world shaping the snow and building obstacles for snowmobile riders so they can complete the trick they envision.
Watching riders flip snowmobiles is a thrilling sight all in its own. Adding Fischer’s expertise and knowledge to the equation gives riders the courage to complete the goals they have.
Originally from California, Fischer moved to Montana on a football scholarship to attend Montana Western. Graduating with a teaching degree in business, Fischer ended up teaching grades 7-12 after college.
Having experience in the motor sport world with jumping dirt bikes as a child, Fischer finds the snowmobile freestyle sport very similar. Through the years he has connected with multiple people, and when Fischer met Kortney Hungerford, his life decided to take a flip for the good.
“I was hired to build a landing,” said Fischer, ‘It was something different.”
In 2002 Fischer headed to the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, with Hungerford to build the first obstacle landing for freestyle snowmobile riders. This event hosted 77 nations and 2,399 athletes in 78 events in seven sports. With such success, freestyle shows became more popular than ever. Fischer started traveling all around the United States and Canada to build landings for snowmobile riders.
Once freestyle shows became well known by 2007, Fischer was on his way to design, build and announce the first freestyle course at the world X Games. Through Fischer’s natural strengths of working and communicating with others, he is able to translate an athlete’s vision into reality. “That is why I got the initial opportunity to be part of the X Games,” said Fischer.
With the sport becoming accepted and riders push themselves to complete the best trick, there has been a lot of concerns about freestyle snowmobile events due to serious injuries of the individuals competing.
“Freestyle is pushing limits and taking the sport to the next level,” said Fischer, “[These tricks] lead to fame and fortune.”
According to the X Games website, “[Caleb] Moore’s death, following head and heart injuries sustained during the Snowmobile Freestyle finals Jan. 24th at X Games Aspen 2013, has reopened the debate about the extreme limits of action sports. Moore is remembered as the first person to land backflips on ATV quads, motorcycles and snowmobiles, but he’ll also be remembered as the first fatality in the 18-year history of the X Games.”
Fischer explains how freestyle riders complete dangerous stunts and tricks. That is what the sport is about. “It is letting people push the limits,” says Fischer. These tricks are what the crowds are expecting. If there were a change in the rules about the extreme limits of action sports in the X Games, “It would defeat the purpose of them being in the X Games,” said a supporter of the sport.
“There is about a 10-year window [to make it] and by the time you get to a big event, you’re three or four years into the sport,” says Fischer. This is why freestyle riders push the limits and take the risk of the flipping snowmobiles in the air and coming off their seats.
“Never regulate what athletes can do on a machine. The X Games is made to push athletes,” says Fischer.
Fischer has teamed up this season with Octane Addictions as a project manager. He has recently designed and planned the Wild West Winterfest event in Bozeman.
“I could not do it without the Gallatin Valley community and the fairgrounds,” said Fischer, “There are not many other communities that are as supportive as Bozeman because there are a lot of riders in Montana.”
These types of events and fundraisers help riders with travel expenses to participate in big events because riders do not get paid regardless if they win or lose an event.
“Just a high five,” said Fischer as he explains how if you do not have a sponsor, you pay for everything out of your own pocket.
“I have been all over the world and Bozeman is the best and supportive group of people,” says Fischer. He emphasizes this when discussing the support he receives. Compared to Fischer’s involvement with big scale events with Red Bull and Monster, Fischer says “I get more of a warm fuzzy feeling with doing things in my own back yard. It is better here with the community.”
With the concern on the extreme limits of action sports and knowing the risks riders take each and every time they go for a new trick, Fischer continues working with his teams and moving forward with the sport.
– Edited by Levi Worts