Jack Mitrani, Allison Hagendorf debut as new X Games co-hosts
Jack Mitrani is one cool character.
A former pro snowboarder who has long worked with ESPN and the X Games, including as host of X Games Extra, Mitrani finds himself entering a new professional realm as one of the official co-hosts of this year’s Winter X Games in Aspen, which gets underway today at Buttermilk.
As composed as he is on the outside, he admits he’s churning underneath.
“I’m literally about to take flight with the butterflies inside of me. I’m definitely nervous, especially when they tell you how many people are watching,” Mitrani told The Aspen Times. “I’m actually very grateful I was an athlete, because it taught me so much about handling nerves and going after things larger than life.”
Mitrani will team with Allison Hagendorf to co-host the Winter X Games this week, the major piece in the changes ESPN has made to the event in 2017. ESPN is working with Echo Entertainment to provide 16 hours of live coverage of the four-day event, which will feature more athlete profiles and a greater emphasis on the music festival, which features performances by Bassnectar, Anderson .Paak, The Chainsmokers and G-Eazy.
“The event itself has grown to be more than just sports,” said X Games Vice President Tim Reed, who oversees the day-to-day operations of the franchise. “There is more going on with the brand than ever, and I think we will look to highlight those various things we are doing along with still creating some of the most awesome courses and watching athletes put on amazing performances.”
While Mitrani represents the athletes, Hagendorf is the perfect complement considering her background. She is the Global Head of Rock at Spotify and has a long history of being a TV host and music journalist. She also is the official host of the New Year’s Eve celebration at Times Square.
An occasional snowboarder, Hagendorf hopes to give Winter X Games a new feel with a greater emphasis on the event as a whole.
“To be a part of it in this position co-hosting with Jack Mitrani is an absolutely unbelievable opportunity,” Hagendorf said. “I get to be a part of this very uniquely positioned festival that has such a huge music presence in addition to obviously the amazing athletics. It’s just about the entire experience.”
Most of the additional reporters and TV commentators will be familiar names, including Brandon Graham, Craig McMorris and Luke Van Valin.
The TV studio received a makeover this year, bringing with it a more laid-back feel true to the lifestyle many of the athletes live. The on-site course looks largely the same, although X Games has added snow bikecross as a new sport this year along with the addition of women’s ski and snowboard big air contests for the first time.
“I was certainly one of those people, just wondering where life was going to go after snowboarding. Now I have this opportunity to continue to be a part of the industry,” Mitrani said. “They are giving us the opportunity to have some fun. The host set is going to be very laid back with couches and a cool vibe. I think it’s going to be a nice extension of the X Games culture.”
The action begins today with the Special Olympics Unified Snowboard Final, which begins locally at 11:30 a.m. Thursday’s early events can be seen at www.xgames.com, with the women’s snowboard big air and men’s snowboard superpipe finals being aired live on ESPN beginning at 8 p.m.
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