Winter X Games 17 is taking place in Aspen, Colorado at Buttermilk, starting today through Jan 27. But donít tune in to see the exciting skier and snowboarder cross events - those have been cut from the racy, rowdy program.
ESPN, the creator of the popular X Games, decided to eliminate skier cross and snowboard cross, plus the mono skier cross event, citing the expense for the venue among other reasons. As you might imagine, athletes like snowboard gold medalist Seth Wescott and skier cross champ and former US Ski Team racer Daron Rahlves, are not too pleased about this decision.
It is ironic that the edgy X Games are stepping away from the roller derby style snow events, while the conservative Olympic Authority has recently loosened up and decided to include SBX and SkierX to the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi Russia in 2014 along with adding Skier Slopestyle.
Further irony is that the two X Game events that were dropped last year, Snowmobile SnowCross 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 Ė such as super modified snow shovel racing, snow mountain bike racing, and the latest urban street style snowboarding.
The first Winter X Games took place at Mountain Resort in Big Bear Lake, California, in 1997, with a mission to provide ďa competition compiled of the greatest winter action sport athletes from around the world competing on an annual basis in skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling. ď
Aspen has been the exclusive host of Winter X Games since 2002, with a contract to host through next January 2014. Future Winter X Games hosts being considered include bids from California's' Lake Tahoe, Whistler and Le Massif in Canada. Winter X Games are timed by ESPN to air this weekend between the NFL's conference championship games and the Super Bowl. Tune it to see returning champs like Maine's Simon Dumont skiing, Vermont snowboard gals Kelly Clark and Hannah Teter, and Shaun White riding the super pipe, he was practicing his triple cork 1440 at Aspen earlier this week.
Photo of Simon Dumont at Sunday River's Dumont Cup, by Greg Burke