The 2013 Winter X Games officially kicked off on Wednesday with at least one athlete calling for the event to stay in Aspen in the future.
Gold medal freestyle skier Bobby Brown said that he hopes that the Winter X Games will stay at Buttermilk. The Aspen Skiing Co. has a two-year contract with ESPN that keeps the games here through 2014. Other resorts around the country have expressed interest in hosting the games.
Brown, who lives in Denver, has won four X Games gold medals for skiing big-air and slopestyle competitions since 2010. Brown said keeping the X Games in Aspen could help the event reach its full potential.
“I think everyone here comes to Aspen expecting something new and fresh,” Brown said. “And they get it.”
Brown’s comments came during a press conference on Wednesday when 10 X Games athletes, including two-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White, answered questions on this year’s competition.
ESPN has continually renewed contracts with SkiCo since 2002, which was the first year the X Games came to Buttermilk Mountain. In May 2012 the parties inked a deal through next year. This year, the Winter X Games will be held at Buttermilk today through Sunday, featuring a range of competitions where skiers, snowboarders and snowmobile riders perform big tricks for medals.
Chris Stiepock, vice president of ESPN’s X Games events, spoke briefly at the beginning of Wednesday’s conference thanking the Aspen community for contributing to the growth of the event over the years. Still, Guglielmino emphasized that the company is planning on bringing the event to other locations.
“We’re really looking forward to kicking things off in Aspen,” Guglielmino said. “It’s really a place we know and a place that we love — and then we’re looking forward to bringing the X Games brand, the action sports and the athletes, to many different places and many different countries.”
This year in particular is meaningful for ESPN because it has expanded its X Games series globally, Guglielmino said. It will be the first year that six different X Games events will be held in locations around the world including Barcelona, Spain; Munich, Germany and Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. Prior to 2013, ESPN hosted three annual X Games — a winter series held in Aspen and two summer events held in Los Angeles and Tignes, France. Guglielmino also noted that there were 400 press people from 13 different countries covering this weekend’s events.
Meanwhile, at least one X Games gold medalist considers local 17-year-old Torin Yater-Wallace as serious competition this year. The 21-year-old David Wise, who won gold in skiing superpipe last year, said Yater-Wallace was one young up-and-comer who could make podium this year. Last year Yater-Wallace took second place to Wise in skiing superpipe.
“Of course you’ve gotta watch out for Torin Yater-Wallace,” Wise said. “That kid is always going to ski well in finals, he’s a contest rider for sure.”