Ski Channel, Ride Guide going tandem

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The Ski Channel, set to launch next year, has inked its first episodic TV deal, with Calgary-based Ride Guide TV, producers of skiing and mounting biking programming.

The multifaceted partnership with Ride Guide includes includes premiere windows for the company's entire library of ski and mountain bike shows, use of its clip library, which contains thousands of hours of footage from throughout the world; and joint production efforts on new programming.

As part of the deal, the Ride Guide is producing 26 new half-hour episodes a year of its "The Ride Guide" series, which focuses on the search for the ultimate "ride," to air exclusively in the U.S. on the Ski Channel. Thirteen episodes will focus on skiing, and the other 13 will feature mountin biking. Ride Guide also will make all past episodes of the show available to the Ski Channel as well.

" 'The Ride Guide' is the premier mountain-oriented episodic television series in the world," Ski Channel chairman and CEO Steve Bellamy said. "They go to the most remote and interesting places around the globe in a way that makes viewers feel like they are actually on the trip. ... They are going to be a giant tentpole on The Ski Channel."

The Ride Guide has produced more than 300 episodes over 11 seasons, and its programming is seen in 60 countries worldwide. The series, produced in cooperation with Canwest Media Works Inc., previously aired in the U.S. during the "Havoc TV" programming block on DirecTV's Channel 101.

"The Ski Channel is now the biggest media platform in the mountain-sports genre, and we are honored to be their first large episodic television programming deal," Ride Guide founder Kevin Pennock said. "We appreciated our run on 'Havoc TV' in the U.S., but the Ski Channel is more in tune with what we are doing. ... They are an especially perfect fit for Ride Guide because of their commitment to both skiing and snowboarding during the winter and mountain biking in the summer."

The Ski Channel -- an ad-supported network delivered via VOD, Web, wireless and other platforms -- will cover a range of year-round mountain activities, including skiing, snowboarding, hiking, biking, backpacking and climbing, along with many off-slope activities. The Ride Guide deal follows on the heels of the channel's recently inked multifaceted partnership with ski filmmakers Rage Films.
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