Whistler makes bid for X Games – but no, not those X Games | AspenTimes.com

Whistler makes bid for X Games – but no, not those X Games

Jeanne McGovernThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Did you hear the one about Whistler, British Columbia, trying to steal the Winter X Games contract from Aspen?Apparently, quite a few Aspenites did. And according to everyone in the know, they’ve got the story all wrong.”It’s an entirely different thing, so there’s no need to push the panic button,” said John Rigney, vice president of sales and events for Aspen Skiing Co. “Whistler was one of many cities bidding for the right to have a role in one of three international games.”It has nothing to do with the Winter X Games that we’ve been home to for 11 years – and intend to be for the foreseeable future.”Still, it’s easy to see where the confusion lies: Whistler did put in a bid to host ESPN’s Winter X Games; but as Rigney explained, not the Winter X Games that Aspen has hosted since 2002. The Canadian resort is hoping to land a new Winter X Games international competition in April, which would be combined with its “signature springtime event” – the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival.”If you take the best of (the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival) – the incredible resortwide energy; the daily concert series; the impeccably produced, highly entertaining and innovative multimedia events; plus the much-loved community-based events – and combine these with the star and production power of the Winter X Games athletic competitions, we believe the level of energy and excitement this event would generate would be incredible,” said Dave Brownlie, Whistler Blackcomb’s president and chief operating officer, in presenting the resort’s bid.ESPN announced last year that it was expanding its X Games franchise to include six competitions annually, beginning in 2013. Under the umbrella of Global X, the games will comprise three new international events, as well as the established Summer X Games in Los Angeles and the Winter X Games in Aspen and Tignes, France. The bidding process for the new games closed earlier this month.A story in Thursday’s Whistler Question, under the headline “Whistler bids for X Games,” said representatives from Whistler Blackcomb and Tourism Whistler went before the city council there to share the news that the resort had bid on the X Games, vying for a three-year contract to begin in 2013. The article did not specify which X Games the bid was for. Skico also has submitted a bid to ESPN – to extend its current contract for the domestic version of the Winter X Games, which is set to expire with this year’s event (scheduled for Buttermilk from Jan. 26-29).Thus, Whistler and Aspen are not in competition.”I hope this sets the record right that we remain 100 percent committed in our desire to host the Winter Games in 2012 and beyond,” said Rigney. “Right now we’re focused on the event in two weeks, but we have, over the course of the year, created what we deem to be a very attractive package for ESPN to consider.”But I’d say it’s flattering that so many cities around the world, including Whistler, want to get in on the game that we have been home to for so long.” According to Rigney, the status of Aspen’s bid remains the same as it has been since it was submitted: pending.ESPN spokesman Danny Chi confirmed the same: “We’re continuing discussions with Aspen Skiing Company,” he said via email. “In the meantime, ESPN is excited and looking forward to the upcoming Winter X Games Aspen event later this month.”jmcgovern@aspentimes.com


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