The first X Games was held in Rhode Island in the summer of 1995. The tiny, inaugural event focused on “extreme sports” – like skateboarding and BMX biking – and offered medals and prize money to participants. The first Winter X Games was held in Big Bear Lake, California, in 1997, offering a new take – this time via skiing and snowboarding events. Since then, both the Summer and Winter X Games have grown into a global phenomenon, and “participants” are now hailed for what they truly are – exceptional physical athletes. In this week’s blog, we take a look back at the history of the Winter X Games, and see what’s coming up for future events.
WINTER X GAMES HISTORY
The Winter X Games are currently held in late January in Aspen, Colorado (through 2014). It is controlled and arranged by ESPN (with coverage also shown on ABC).
- 1997: Winter X Games 1 – Big Bear Lake, California
- 1998: Winter X Games 2 – Crested Butte, Colorado
- 1999: Winter X Games 3 – Crested Butte, Colorado
- 2000: Winter X Games 4 – Mt. Snow, Vermont
- 2001: Winter X Games 5 – Mt. Snow, Vermont
WINTER X GAMES HIGHLIGHTS IN ASPEN, COLORADO
2002: Winter X Games 6 – Aspen, Colorado (Feb. 1-5, 2002)
2003: Winter X Games 7 – Aspen, Colorado (Jan. 30-Feb. 5, 2003)
- C.R. Johnson wins bronze in ski super-pipe
2004: Winter X Games 8 – Aspen, Colorado (Jan. 22-25, 2004)
2005: Winter X Games 9 – Aspen, Colorado (Jan. 29- Feb. 1, 2005)
2006: Winter X Games 10 – Aspen, Colorado (Jan. 28-31, 2006)
- Jeaux Hall lands the 1080 in the half-pipe – after 17 attempts
- ESPN signs contract with the Aspen Skiing Company to keep the Winter X Games in Aspen
2007: Winter X Games 11 – Aspen, Colorado (Jan. 25-28, 2007)
- Peter Olenick lands “The Whiskey Flip” – the first double flip in the half-pipe competition. It begins a revolution and sets a new standard in super-pipe tricks.
2008: Winter X Games 12 – Aspen, Colorado (Jan. 24-27, 2008)
2009: Winter X Games 13 – Aspen, Colorado (Jan. 22-25, 2009)
- Levi LaVallee attempts the first double backflip on a snowmobile
- Shaun White wins back-to-back gold medals in snowboard super-pipe
2010: Winter X Games 14 – Aspen, Colorado (Jan. 28-31, 2010)
- Eero Ettala wins the gold medal in men’s snowboard slope-style. He reaches the finals with 93.33 points. The runner up – Eric Willett – has only 86.33 points.
- Shaun White wins his third straight snowboard super-pipe
2011: Winter X Games 15 – Aspen, Colorado (Jan. 27–30, 2011)
- Kelly Clark lands the first 1080 by a woman in competition – in women’s super-pipe
- Torstein Horgmo lands the first triple cork in competition – in men’s snowboard big air
- Shaun White becomes the only person to four-peat in the snowboard super-pipe
- Brothers Colten and Caleb Moore successfully land a two-man backflip – but are disqualified because judges ruled the event as an individual sport
2012: Winter X Games 16 – Aspen, Colorado (Jan. 26-29, 2012)
- Shaun White wins snowboard super-pipe … again. It’s his fifth year in a row
- Heath Frisby lands the first ever front flip of a snowmobile – in snowmobile best trick
2013: Winter X Games 17 – Aspen, Colorado (Jan. 24-27, 2013)
- Tucker Hibbert becomes the first winter X Games athlete to six-peat in any event – with his sixth gold medal in snowmobile sno-cross.
- Yep, it’s Shaun White again. Sixth straight win in snowboard super-pipe
- Elena Hight became the first snowboarder – man or woman – to land a double backside alley-oop rodeo during a half-pipe competition
- Caleb Moore is the first X Games participant to die from injuries sustained at the event. He dies on Jan. 31, 2013, from complications of injuries suffered in a crash on Jan. 24.
LOOKING TO 2014 & BEYOND!
In January 2014, it was announced that the Winter X Games will stay in Aspen through 2019!
X Games Aspen will be the final major snow sports event before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Ten of the 17 events to be contested in Aspen also will be featured in Russia when the Olympics start two weeks later. Among those events, longtime X Games disciplines ski and snowboard slope-style and ski super-pipe will make their Olympic debuts.
ESPN and ABC will televise a combined 16 hours of live X Games coverage from Aspen in high definition, with an additional 10 hours of competition being carried live on ESPN3. As always, up-to-the-minute updates, recaps, photo galleries and videos will be available on XGames.com.
Among the first wave of invited athletes are a host of X Games veterans and past medalists: Bobby Brown, Kelly Clark, Jamie Anderson, Kaya Turski, Mark McMorris, Torin Yater-Wallace, Lindsey Jacobellis, Seth Wescott and Tucker Hibbert.
- Hibbert will attempt to win his seventh consecutive Snowmobile sno-cross gold medal, a feat that has never been accomplished in X Games history.
- Wescott, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, will vie for his first X Games gold medal in a career that has seen him win four silvers and three bronzes, many of them behind longtime rival Nate Holland.
- Snowboarder X and Snowmobile Long Jump return to this year’s X Games after brief hiatuses. Snowboarder X last appeared in 2012, while Snowmobile Long Jump – then called Knockout – last appeared in 2010.
- Snowmobile Freestyle returns to the X Games Aspen in 2014. Snowmobile Best Trick will not be contested.
- Gone in 2014 are Skier X and Mono Skier X.
If you are thinking of coming for the 2014 edition, here, in Aspen, NOW is the time to secure your lodging for what will be, a most memorable week!