X Games ‘stack up’ with Olympics

Jan 25, 2017

X Games medalists line up for the opening day press conference.
Credit Wyatt Orme / Aspen Public Radio

Beginning today, world-class skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers will jump, flip and twist through competitions at the bottom of Buttermilk Mountain. It's the 16th year that Aspen hosts the Winter X Games, but don’t expect more of the same.

“We are going to blow the roof off this year,” said ESPN’s X Games host Brandon Graham. “I’m so excited for this one… when you think of the new events.”

Those new events include Women’s Big Air for both skiing and snowboarding and Snow BikeCross. Snow BikeCross is a bicycle frame with skis on front and snowmobile tread on the back. The women’s big air will take place on the same 80 feet jump the men compete on. The women’s event was recently added to the Olympic lineup and will debut in Korea in 2018.

Not only have the top X Games athletes set impressive records for medals year after year while in Aspen, many of them are Olympic medalists. With the winter Olympics around the corner, perennial X Games gold medalist, snowboarder Mark McMorris, was asked how the two events match up.

“The only difference is that your grandma knows what the Olympics are,” said McMorris. “It’s definitely a really important event, but so is X Games. You are primetime ESPN, you want to do your best, it’s always the best riders best courses - they stack up pretty evenly in my books.”

The full slate of competitions and entertainment runs through Sunday.