Mark McMorris, the affable and much decorated snowboarder from Canada, announced Tuesday he would miss X Games Aspen 2021 after testing positive for COVID-19. He made the announcement on Twitter, and ESPN confirmed the news later in the day.
“Unfortunately I’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and will have to sit out of this year’s @XGames,” McMorris tweeted. “Heartbroken beyond belief but feeling healthy which is most important. Sending good vibes to everyone out in Aspen!”
McMorris competes in slopestyle and big air. Practice in the Buttermilk SuperPipe for skiers and riders started Tuesday.
X Games athletes are required to test negative within 72 hours of travel to Pitkin County and are tested daily for COVID-19 at the Buttermilk site.
McMorris’ positive test came Friday after his return from the Laax Open FIS in Switzerland and was confirmed with a second test later, according to a post on ESPN.com. It went on to note that the entire Canadian men’s snowboard slopestyle team in Laax was forced to isolate after two of the athletes tested positive. As well, the U.S. slopestyle team saw nine members forced into quarantine and who withdrew from the Laax event after testing positive at a competition earlier this month in Austria.
McMorris, 27, who is said to not be exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19, currently lives in Southern California though is a native of Regina, Saskatchewan. He has not missed an X Games Aspen since his first in 2011.
He wrote in a statement to ESPN: “I’m definitely going to miss competing at my favorite event. I’m sending good vibes to all the riders and to the organizers who worked so hard to create a safe environment for everyone to compete under such difficult circumstances.”
McMorris has reason to love Aspen: He’s earned nine X Games gold medals here during a storied career which also includes two Olympic bronze medals.
X Games Aspen TV schedule announced
ESPN’s 17.5 hours of live content over three days of competition kicks off Friday in primetime with the men’s Ski SuperPipe contest, featuring defending champion and Aspen native Alex Ferreira.
Events will be featured on ESPN, ABC, ESPN2 and through web content across @Xgames social, XGames.com. There will also be livestreaming on Twitter and Facebook, according to a Tuesday announcement.
Coverage on Saturday on ABC includes women’s ski slopestyle, men’s snowboard slopestyle and women’s Snowboard Big Air. Over on ESPN that day is the women’s snowboard SuperPipe, featuring the return of Chloe Kim.
On Sunday, ABC hosts competition for the men’s Ski Slopestyle before the coverage wraps up on ESPN with Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe, Men’s Snowboard Big Air and Ski Knuckle Huck. Coverage is also available on the ESPN app. Details on this year’s virtual X Fest, which opens Jan. 27, may be viewed at XGames.com/xfest.