Five more years for X Games in Aspen

Dale Strode
The Aspen times

Make it V more years for the Winter X Games in Aspen.

ESPN and Aspen Skiing Co. announced on Jan. 22 that the X Games will return to Aspen for five more winters.

The announcement of the contract extension led off the introductory news conference for the 2014 Winter X Games at Buttermilk, which began in earnest on Jan. 23.

“We’re going to be here another five years,” said Scott Guglielmino, senior vice president of ESPN programming and the X Games. “We have agreed to extend our deal here in Aspen.”

“This is an event that takes a village, a city and a county.”
John Rigney
Aspen Skiing Co.

He said the Winter X extension was possible because of the collaboration with John Rigney and his team at Skico.

“It became very clear that this is the place for (Winter) X Games well into the future,” Guglielmino said.

Rigney and Skico agreed.

“Buttermilk is a perfect venue for a lot of reasons,” Rigney said, calling the Winter X Games production at Buttermilk a “massive, massive undertaking.”

Rigney cited the cooperation of the entire community and the cooperative relationship between ESPN and Skico.

“This is fabulous news for our resort,” Rigney said. “ESPN does an unbelievable job of showing off our four unique mountains and our very vibrant community. This is not only great for Aspen — it’s great for the state of Colorado; it’s great for the industry.”

He thanked all of the working partners in Aspen Winter X: the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, Aspen Valley Hospital, the regional lodging community and law enforcement agencies, among others.

“This is an event that takes a village, a city and a county,” Rigney said of Snowmass Village, Aspen and Pitkin County. “But the thanks go beyond that.”

The five-year extension also means snowboard legend Shaun White might compete at Buttermilk again — but it wouldn’t be this week.

White announced on Jan. 22 that he had decided not to compete in Aspen Winter X this year after all.

He reportedly took a practice run at Buttermilk that morning, evaluated the X Games schedule and decided to opt out to prepare for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in two weeks.

The previous week, White had said he was skipping the Winter X Games this year.

Then, White changed his mind and told ESPN officials he would compete in Aspen.

A week later, there was another reversal as White continues to recover from a series of injuries he suffered over the past two months.

Other 2014 Olympians competed in Aspen this week before heading to Sochi.

“For me, the best practice for big events is big events,” said Kelly Clark, another living legend in snowboarding. “There’s no greater way to get ready for the Olympics.”


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