Not everyone is stoked on the recent announcement about ESPN’s plans for an expanded global X Games. British Columbia’s Whistler Resort was heavily invested in getting the nod as a new host city for the 2013 X Games, but after learning the official decision, they are bummed to say the least. Word on the street was that ESPN decision makers who visited B.C. were extremely surprised and impressed with the resort’s conditions and facilities. While this is definitely being received as a huge disappointment throughout Whistler, there is a great deal of potential for us to see the mountain mecca host the X Games in the near future.
“Whistler put in a very strong bid, and their venues and team are world class,” said Scott Guglielmino, ESPN senior vice president, programming and X Games. “An X Games event at Whistler would be a special experience. Ultimately, the decision to not be at Whistler next year was based on the opportunities in other markets versus any shortcomings with Whistler.”
To clarify the situation, it wasn’t necessarily a battle between Whistler and Aspen for the hosting bid. Whistler was actually hoping to be one of the newly added event stops. As we now know, ESPN instead opted for a decision to add three new summer events to the calendar, rather than any additional winter games. The sentiment is that these three international destinations will lead to more opportunity for prospective sponsors looking to extend their influence beyond North America.
“We are certainly disappointed,” says Dave Brownlie, president and chief operating officer at Whistler Blackcomb. “We submitted a strong bid, and we believed that a Winter X Games Whistler event would have been an incredible partnership bringing significant benefit to both sides. ESPN has shared with us that they also believe Whistler would be a great fit, and we would certainly be open to discussing future opportunities with ESPN if the occasion were to arise.”
There’s no question that Whistler would make a fantastic stop for the X Games. The recent Olympic Alpine host received a ton of support from the community, financial backers, and major stakeholders like the Resort Municipality of Whistler, The Government of British Columbia, the Canadian Tourism Commission, and Tourism Whistler.
“We are very satisfied with the bid we submitted,” says Barrett Fisher, president and CEO of Tourism Whistler. “We congratulate the host cities and wish them much success. And as for what’s next for Whistler, we look forward to further building upon our own successful signature sports events which include this summer’s Crankworx Freeride Mountain Bike Festival and next spring’s 18th edition of the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival.”
There’s no question that Whistler would make a fantastic stop for the X Games. The resort is absolutely epic and it has long proven itself as one of the premier mountain destinations in the world. Despite the bid’s unfortunate finish, there is a great deal to look forward to. Through disappointment comes opportunity, and if anything can be said going forward, it’s that Whistler is poised to be at the front of the pack should ESPN decide to include another winter game.
So fear not! There’s still a lot of excitement on the horizon for the X Games and Whistler. If you’re still feeling a little teary-eyed, there’s a whole mountain of powdery pillows that can take of care of that!