The Winter X Games are among the most innovative, progressive competitions in the world. It is considered the premier winter action sport event in the states, and terms of popularity, some would say it is second only to the Winter Olympics. ESPN has just made the announcement that the Winter X Games will continue to be held in Aspen/Snowmass through 2014.
Much like the Olympics, cities and mountain resorts continuously vie for the opportunity to be the host of the X Games. Being the center of such a momentous event is the recognition of excellence and an economic win-fall for the community. It’s a calling card that signifies your resort is among the elite. After the next two years, Aspen/Snowmass will have had the Winter X Games for a total of 13 years!
“ESPN is thrilled to extend its relationship with Aspen Skiing Company, the City of Aspen, Pitkin County and Town of Snowmass Village for two more years,” said Scott Guglielmino, senior vice president of programming and X Games. “After 11 fantastic years of world-class competition and progression in Aspen, we’re delighted to move into the new phase of X Games growth towards a global youth and lifestyle brand with one of our most long-term and valued relationships.”
This has been the fourth time negotiations between ESPN and Aspen Skiing Company have resulted in such a long term announcement. In January 2004, the two entities announced a 3-year deal that kept the games in Aspen through 2007, then in 2006 they extended the agreement through 2010; and in 2009 they pushed it through 2012.
“This has been an exemplary partnership of these two amazing brands,” said John Rigney, vice president of sales and events for Aspen Skiing Company. “A gigantic thank you goes to the entire Aspen/Snowmass community for its vision, support and commitment to this great event that is very much a part of our resort’s identity.”
The first Winter X Games of 1997 were held in California’s Snow Summit Mountain Resort, with the intention of rotating on a regular basis. After the inaugural year, the games moved to Crested Butte, Colorado for the next two years, and then moved to Mount Snow, Vermont for 2000 and 2001. After heading to the snowy slopes of Aspen in 2002, the games just haven’t left!
Some would question the allure of keeping the games in the same location for so long when there are so many amazing mountains throughout North America. However, upon further investigation, it is clear that there is something special about Aspen’s slopes. Aspen Skiing Company owns and operates all four mountains in the Aspen/Snowmass area; they include Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. Each has its own distinct charm, and together they form a destination that provides skiers and snowboarders with every type of terrain they could ask for. The surrounding community is extremely robust, and features a nightlife that parallels most major metropolitan areas but somehow retains a mountain town-vibe.
Travel to the Aspen region is a breeze as well, with convenient access to two mountain adjacent airports, Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (3 miles) and Eagle Country Airport (70 miles). The ease of travel allows more athletes, who already have incredibly hectic tour schedules the opportunity to fly in at their leisure.
With cutting edge mountain facilities designed to accomodate crowds of spectators, and terrain that affords athletes like Shaun White, Luke Mitrani, Mark McMorris, Tom Wallisch, Bobby Brown, Seb Toots, Kelly Clark, Gretchen Blieler and Devin Logan a world class arena to compete in, Aspen/Snowmass is an easy sell for its continued status as the host of the Winter X Games.