August 27, 2012
In a surprise move the Winter X Games 2013 in Aspen will not be holding Ski X and Snowboard X. The organisers believe it doesn’t sit well in the event anymore. The athletes are disappointed and it is not clear exactly why the events have been axed.
The races where competitors battle it out, head to head, down a course featuring bumps, jumps and tight banked turns has long been a feature of the X Games.
Snowboard X was held at the first event back on 1997 and Ski X was introduced the following year.
Snowboard X is now an established Olympic event and Ski X made it into the Winter Olympics in 2010.
Here at PlanetSKI it is a big surprise and to our eyes the official answer doesn’t really answer the question as to why it has been cut.
“These decisions are never easy, obviously. We understand the ramifications these things bring. We come up with what we believe are the best events to showcase to our fans on-site and obviously the networks, too,” said Tim Reed, senior director of content strategy for ESPN X Games.
“There wasn’t one single factor that led to this decision. It just comes down to filling the schedule with how much we believe we need to make the event enjoyable to the fans and deliver on what we need from a product standpoint.”
The X Games is run by ESPN and on its web site there is some disappointment.
Two events that were taken out last year, Snowmobile SnoCross and Speed and Style, and they are back in for 2013.
Six-time and defending SnoCross champion, Tucker Hibbert, knows the sentiment all too well.
“I’m bummed for boardercross and skiercross; I know how those guys feel,” he said. “We’re kind of at the organizers’ mercy in terms of whether we’re in or out, but I’m thankful that SnoCross is back in and I’m going to do my best to make sure we’re in for years to come.”
The athletes themselves are bitterly disappointed.
“It’s a devastating blow to our sport and skiercross, too, because X Games has been our Super Bowl for years,” said Nate Holland, who has won six of the past seven gold medals in Snowboard X.
The course is very expensive to built, but the X Games is a multi-million dollar franchise with deep pockets.
Both events were big successes at the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010 with large TV audiences.
Snowboard X is perhaps best known for the loss of gold by Lindsey Jacobellis in the Turin 2006 Olympics when she fell as she celebrated with a showboating jump just before crossing the line. She scrambled over the line into second place.
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