Let The X Games Begin!

X Games Aspen 2021

X is arguably the most rebellious letter in the alphabet—often breaking the rules of phonics, and in the case of X Games, the rules of gravity. Not only a convenient abbreviation for the word “extreme,” X is the mark of danger, of treasure, of the unknown. This Friday, for the 21st consecutive year at Buttermilk, the world’s best snowboarders and skiers will launch themselves into that unknown as 480 million viewers across 198 countries and territories hold their breath.

The Legacy Goes On

X Games Aspen 2021

X Games Aspen 2021

“X Games are absolutely a catalyst for the progression of sports and the athletes who lead them,” notes Olympian Gretchen Bleiler. “When I think back on my competitive career, X Games moments are definitely the highlight where I learned so much about myself.”

What to Look Forward to This Year

Crowds and concerts were entirelycompromised for the 2021 games in an effort to keep the athletes safe and the competition focused. This year, though concerts will still be paused, Buttermilk is thrilled to welcome spectators back for the 2022 Games.One thing that has not changed in the months since the pandemic began is the training, commitment, and passion that the athletes bring to their sport and to this event each year.

There is perhaps no better metaphor for the growth of the Winter X Games than the mighty halfpipe at the base of Buttermilk. Those swooping curves of adrenaline have come a long way from the abandoned swimming pools of California where skateboarders first discovered the thrills of manmade inclines. Indeed, the Buttermilk halfpipe, dug physically into the side of the mountain, has become something of a monument to extreme sports—its line of white snow lasting well into the summer.

This year, hometown heroes like Hanna Faulhaber and Alex Ferreira as well as longtime stars including Alex Hall, Maggie Voisin, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, Eileen Gu, Birk Ruud, Henrik Harlaut, Mark McMorris, Shaun White, and Jamie Anderson will battle for a place on the podium in the heart of the Elk Mountain Range.

The Continuation Of A Legacy

“When X Games first arrived on the scene here at Aspen Snowmass, we were unsure how long the partnership would last,” explains Deric Gunshor, Aspen Snowmass’s Director of Event Development. “No one really knew how big and long-lasting the event would become.”

Looking back, it all tracks with Aspen’s long history of celebrating the greatest in athletics. From the FIS and the World Cup ski racing and now with the X Games, Aspen continues to inspire the next generation of skiers and boarders by hosting world class athletes to compete in elite ski and snowboard events.
Alex Ferreira
Aspen local and X Games gold medalist Alex Ferreira was a 6-year-old when the event first came to his hometown. “I remember sneaking out of class in middle school with my fellow competitor Torin Yater-Wallace just to get a glimpse,” Alex recalls. In fact, when the events were still held during the day, so many kids were skipping class to get a sneak peek at their idols throwing down in their backyard, that the Aspen school district decided to turn the X Games into an unofficial holiday and give the students the day off to spectate.

“I grew up skiing at Buttermilk,” says Hanna Faulhaber, an X Games rookie this year.It’s crazy to think about little Hanna standing over here and now she’s going 15 feet out of the halfpipe.” Faulhaber took 4th place finish in the FIS Freeski World Championships last spring at Buttermilk, and in the 2021-2022 seasonhas become a steady presence on World Cup Podiums from Copper to Calgary.

This has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid,” says Faulhaber, who would come to the Games as a kid to support her local idols like Torin Yater-Wallace and her now-teammate for the Beijing Games, Alex Ferreira. “I hope that by competing, I can inspire other little girls to continue to get into the sport. I think it’s going to be crazy to be under the lights with my family, and people from school, and the Valley supporting me.”

Buttermilk's Half Pipe for X Games

Let The Games Begin

No one will have to skip school to watch this year. No matter how you choose to interact (ESPN, ABC, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Telegram the X Games, and in particular the athletes themselves, will be waiting for you and your digital love. Tune in January 21 through 23 to see the action come to life.

While the world continues to change, theX Games embodies much of our collective experience: pushing ourselves, lifting each other up, overcoming our struggles and celebrating our victories, no matter how big or small they might be. When speaking about his gold medal run at the 2019 games, Ferreira notes, "you don't know if you can do something, and then you just do it.

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