Hanging at the Winter X Games

blog-number5-hanging-at-the-winter-x-gamesThe 'ultimate' bucket list for snow addicts...No.5

Our theme from last week continues with another snowsports event you must attend with this week's Snow Rehab Bucket List No.5, the Winter X Games!

The first X Games was held under the title 'Extreme Games' in 1995 before being renamed in its current form, 'X Games' from the following year.  The X Games series was built to give a platform, exposure and a world championships to the 'extreme' sports that were neglected by the Olympics and other mainstream competitions.  In 1997 Winter X Games was added for snowsports leading to two competition events a year.  In 1998 X Games Asia was added to the roster to satisfy demand an interest from the East and more recently X Games Europe was first held in Tignes, France in 2010.  There has never been a better time to be part of snowsports and extreme sports!

Where the Winter Olympics concentrates on figure skating, downhill ski and boarding, ski jumping and nordic skiing, the Winter X Games gives a platform to all those athletes who might otherwise never experience mainstream competition.  Though the IOC has included ski and boarder X, snowboard halfpipe and from 2014, ski halfpipe and slopestyle for both disciplines, it remains a lesser event for many of the biggest athletes in the extreme half of the snowsports repertoire.

The Winter X Games has given an invaluable opportunity for development of snowsports and can point to many watershed moments that propelled its respective sports forward.  Where we often see world records broken at Olympic finals, the same is also true at the Winter X Games.  Although, as a growing subjective sport (where judges decide the winner) it would be expected that as tricks get harder, scores become higher or judging categories are changed.  Indeed the winner of Ski Big Air in 2000, Candide Thovex's 900 D Spin (a score of 83!) wouldn't even be enough to qualify in 2012 (and certainly wouldn't score 83!).

The list of 'firsts' to be thrown down at Winter X Games is enormous.  Though 'world records' might not be broken, world firsts certainly have: Jon Olsson's Kangaroo Flip, Peter Olenick's 'whisky flip' (first superpipe double in competition), Bobby Brown's perfect 100 score in 2010, T J Schiller's Double Cork 1620, Levi Levallee's double backflip on a snowmobile, Heath Frisby's first ever snowmobile frontflip and Torstein Horgmo's triple flip, the first ever to be thrown in competition...  The list goes on!

Every year the competition has improved, and should the kicker in Big Air be built bigger for 2013, we can doubtless expect to see triple flips being thrown down left, right and centre!

For those who are fans of extreme sport, and especially snow sports then a trip to Aspen, Colorado in February is the perfect opportunity to see the very best throwing down in the biggest competiton in the world of its type.  However, now with the advent of Euro X Games, then why not just head over to Tignes in France in March?!  There's now no excuse for not completing another of our Bucket List Challenge!

Still not sure?  Since 2008, London Freeze has been hosting a real snow outdoor competition at Battersea Power Station in London.  With many of the world's very best athletes in competition, as well as the opportunity to support some of Britain's up-and-coming superstars of the snowsports circuit there is now NO excuse for finding that fix to the snowsports addiction! (alternatively highlights are usually available on Channel 4 and 4od.com)