Winter Sports Fly High in the X-Games

Josh Dathe, Staff Writer

White soars above fans as he launches off the Superpipe

Although winter appears to be eluding us this year, extreme winter sports continue to take over popular culture in the U.S. and abroad. The Winter X-Games combines the peacefulness of winter snowfall with the intensity of extreme sports.

Some consider the X-Games to be a more energetic and amped up Olympics. They are receiving more praise now, due to standout athletes such as Shaun White and Lindsay Jacobellis.

Events range from Superpipe to     Snowmobiling. The most recent addition to the winter tournament is Ski and Snowboard X, an intense four-man or woman race down the slopes. It’s a tight course, so yard sales are always abundant.

This extreme winter spectacle was held in Aspen, Colorado, home to some of America’s best skiing and snowboarding, from Jan. 26-29.

Most of the athletes in the X-Games are sponsored, either by a clothing brand or an energy drink such as Red Bull or Monster.

So if these athletes are getting sponsored and attracting international attention, why haven’t these sports gone pro?  The popularity of these events is growing exponentially with each coming year, and one can’t beg to wonder if maybe they will soon beat out traditional sports such and hockey and American soccer.

Some of these sports have reached the Olympic level, while others will never see the light due to the seriousness of the Olympics.

The Winter X Games have inspired even some Miramonte students to partake in extreme sports, like senior Miles Honens, a freestyle skier.

“The X Games are what inspired me. All those awesome tricks are what drew me to focus on skiing,” said Honens.

With snowboarders doing all kinds of tricks and people throwing up backflips on snowmobiles, the athletes continue to impress fans year after year.

Snow sports always bring the debate between snowboarding and skiing, but with the X-Games, both are respected equally, for their own unique qualities.

One event that has really grown is snowmobiling.  The athletes are now throwing down backflips, and some look to defy the odds and pull off a frontflip.

This year, as always, the focus is on Shaun White and the Snowboard Superpipe. He continues to amaze the viewers each year with new tricks, and people are expecting the same this year.

White won gold for his fifth straight time, and 12th overall in the Snowboard Superpipe. He earned a perfect score of 100 on his final run to secure his gold.  He continues to change the game and expand the sport of snowboarding each year.

Along with White comes Jacobellis, essentially the female version of White. She is the queen of snowboarding at the moment, but in the X-Games, anything goes and anyone can step up at any time.  That is the best thing about the X-Games.
So many unsung heroes, so many underdogs, and so many newcomers make the sport change each and every year.

New innovations and youth are brought to snowboarding and skiing every year unlike traditional sports such as baseball.

As the X-Games and winter sports evolve, new tricks are formed, better equipment is created, and popularity has grown. The tournament attracts more youth each year which will shape sports in the future.

This year was huge on all levels for the Winter X-Games and for winter sports in general. The first ever frontflip was landed by Heath Frisby, opening up huge possibilites for tricks in the future.

One of the more impressive events was Mono Skier X. Handicapped men sit down on a solo ski and hold poles to balance as they race down an icy course filled with turns and jumps.

More athletes repeated winning the gold such as Kelly Clark for the Women’s Snowboard Superpipe and Bobby Brown in the Ski Big Air.  Mark McMorris won gold in two events, Big Air and Slopestyle.