Column: Get ready, Winter X Games fast approaching |

Column: Get ready, Winter X Games fast approaching

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Aspen Times Sports Editor Dale Strode
Nick Massaro Jr. / Special to The Aspen Times |

X. Winter X. 2016.

The Winter X Games, the 15th annual January happening in Aspen, will return for 2016 starting Jan. 28.

The winter extreme sporting events and the accompanying (and growing) music lineup will run through Jan. 31 at Buttermilk with more musical acts than ever before.

And the customary lineup of radical snow sports, including adaptive events.

The schedule this year will open with the men’s ski superpipe featured event on Jan. 28, featuring Aspen’s own Torin Yater-Wallace.

The highlight events for Jan. 29 will be the women’s snowboard slopestyle final and the women’s ski slopestyle final.

That night, the women’s ski superpipe will take center stage along with the snowboard big air. The snowmobile freestyle final will be that night, as well.

The Jan. 30 schedule will feature the men’s snowboard slopestyle final and the return of skier X (skicross) for men and women.

The men’s snowboard superpipe final and the ski big air final will take center stage that night.

The Jan. 31 schedule will include the men’s ski slopestyle final, the men’s and women’s snowboarder X events and the women’s snowboard superpipe final — the closing competition for the 2016 Winter X Games.

The early list of invited athletes for the 2016 games includes the aforementioned Yater-Wallace, who earned his first Winter X Games medal (silver) as a 15-year-old. After battling injury in 2014 and 2015, he’ll return to the Winter X Games field this year hoping to add to his collection of four medals. He’ll compete alongside pal and fellow Aspenite Alex Ferreira, who won a Winter X Games superpipe bronze medal last year in front of his hometown fans. Ski superpipe heavyweights David Wise and Gus Kenworthy also are invited to Aspen for the 2016 event at Buttermilk.

The women’s list of invited athletes also features a who’s who of Winter X. In the women’s snowboard superpipe, for example, the invitees include Kelly Clark, Chloe Kim, Arielle Gold and Torah Bright, among others.

Snowmobiler Colten Moore of Texas, one of the most popular athletes at Winter X, will be back as the defending gold medalist in freestyle. He owns six Winter X medals.

Another popular Winter X standout, adaptive athlete Mike Schultz of Minnesota, will be back at Buttermilk after suffering an injury in the 2015 competition. He’s a seven-time medalist in multiple adaptive divisions.