X Games nixes Snowboard X, Skier X

Meanwhile, two events that were dropped last year, Snowmobile SnoCross and Speed and Style, are returning to the 2013 Aspen schedule. SnoCross had been featured for 14 straight years before it was omitted from X Games Aspen 2012.

Andrew KurkaJoshua Duplechian/ESPNWith no race course at Winter X this year, Mono Skier X will not be happening, either.

Six-time and defending SnoCross champion Tucker Hibbert knows the sentiment all too well.

“I’m bummed for boardercross and skiercross; I know how those guys feel,” he said. “We’re kind of at the organizers’ mercy in terms of whether we’re in or out, but I’m thankful that SnoCross is back in and I’m going to do my best to make sure we’re in for years to come.”

The turn of events hit the ski and snowboard communities hard this week, with a handful of athletes finding out Tuesday.

“It’s a devastating blow to our sport and skiercross, too, because X Games has been our Super Bowl for years,” said Nate Holland, who has won six of the past seven gold medals in Snowboarder X.

Holland said he appreciated the opportunity to work with ESPN in the past, but he’s expecting to take a financial hit with the loss of the sport’s most prestigious annual event.

“I have sponsors that put a value on X Games and the exposure I get there,” he said. “Basically, my stock went down as soon as that news came out.”

Josh DuplechianChris Del Bosco became the fourth man in Skier X history to win two Skier X golds in 2012.

“No Skier X comes as a surprise to me since X Games put it on the map and (helped foster) the progress it’s made to the Olympic level,” Daron Rahlves, the 2008 Skier X gold medalist and promoter of the Rahlves Banzai Tour, said in an e-mail from Chile. “Skicross athletes look forward to the X Games for the best track of the year and the big stage to compete on.”

“It’s definitely perplexing,” 2011 Mono Skier X gold medalist Josh Dueck said. “It’s not the only mono skiercross race, but in my eyes it is because it does it on a level no other event matches. There’s no better exposure we can get for our sport. And right now we’re young and growing exponentially. This is a huge, huge hit to the evolution we’re seeing. It’s hard to digest.”

Reed didn’t dismiss the possibility of the disciplines being added to future X Games events.

“There’s nothing to say we won’t do X course next year,” he said. “We believe in the sport, we love it, we’ve been doing it for a lot of years. Ultimately we just made the decision that we’re going to focus on pipe, slope, big air, a full complement of snowmobiles and snowboard street.”

Holland, for one, hopes his sport’s fate mirrors that of SnoCross.

“I know it’s a business decision,” he said. “I remain optimistic that they’ll repeal this decision in the years to come. I’m open to any suggestions. I don’t want this to be the end. And I don’t think it’s over for us.”

Devon O’Neil

Writer, Action Sports

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