The first Winter X Games was held in 1997, three years before snowboarder Chloe Kim was born. Of course, Shaun White was 10 years old and had already had a sponsorship with Burton for three years. One of the coolest things about the X Games is that it’s entirely possible they’ll both be competing in Aspen this January for the competition’s 23rd edition.
Events have come and gone over the years, with the competition often leading and occasionally chasing the cultural zeitgeist. Case in point: snow shovel racing and skiboarding were both sanctioned events at one point. This year, snowmobiling (ahem…snow machine) events will be huge and snow biking is on the roster again. Not to be confused with those “other” non-motorized snow bikes, snow bikes at the X Games are motorcycles with tracks and a front ski. But the marquee events of slopestyle, big air, and superpipe–in skiing and snowboarding–remain the big draws. And for good reason.
There’s a vibe around the X Games that motivates the athletes to throw down some of their biggest tricks. There are fewer restrictions than the Olympics. The judging, as stringent as any global competition, still rewards a certain swagger. And with a crowd of over 100,000 on-site and millions watching at home, the competition is the biggest platform in any non-Olympic year.
Unless you’re going to throw down big bucks for VIP-type passes, attendance is free. Dress warm and leave extra time to arrive. Parking is a few miles away from the event, and free shuttles are provided.
The music line-up for 2019 is: Lil Wayne, Louis the Child, The Chainsmokers, and Kygo. Keep any eye out for other artists putting on free concerts around Aspen throughout the weekend. Tickets for the headliners, though, must be purchased in advance through the X Games or Belly Up sites.
Events are chosen and written by the Adventure Journal staff. Have an event you’d like us to consider? Drop us a line via our contact page.