Tuesday, September 11, 2012

No more SBX and Skier X in the X Games? What the X...

Winter X Games 17 will take place in Aspen, Colorado at Buttermilk, Jan 24-27, 2013. But don’t tune in to see the exciting skier and snowboarder cross events -  those have been cut from the racy program. 

ESPN, the creator of the popular X Games, decided to eliminate skier cross and snowboard cross, plus the mono skier X events, citing the expense for the venue among other reasons. As you might imagine, snow athletes, like snowboard gold medalist Seth Wescott and skier x champ and former US Ski Team racer Daron Rahlves, are not too pleased about this decision. There is even a facebook to page begging to Bring Back The X Course.

It is ironic that the edgy X Games are stepping away from these roller derby elimination on snow events, while the conservative Olympic Authority has recently loosened up and decided to include SBX and skier X and will add skier slopestyle to the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi Russia in 2014. The Winter X Games helped put snowboarding on the competition map, and helped athletes like Shaun White get their due. In 2012, Shaun White won snowboard superpipe for the 5th consecutive year, with a first ever perfect score of 100.

The first Winter X Games took place at Mountain Resort in Big Bear Lake, California, in 1997, to provide “a competition compiled of the greatest winter action sport athletes from around the world competing on an annual basis in skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling."
Aspen has been the exclusive host of Winter X Games since 2002, even though Whistler made a bid to host - Aspen won the X Games bid for two more years through 2014. Winter X Games are traditionally timed by ESPN to air the weekend between the NFL's conference championship games and the Super Bowl. 

Further irony is that the two X Game events that were dropped last year, Snowmobile SnoCross and Speed and Style, are returning to the 2013 Aspen schedule.  So go figure. Winter X Games have seen plenty of zaniest events come and go – like super modified snow shovel racing, snow mountain bike racing, and the latest urban street style snowboarding.


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