The X Games were originally supposed to be a biennial event, but they became so popular that they’re now held every year — the Winter X Games in late January, and the Summer X Games in August. Locations change, but the Winter X games will be held in Aspen, Colo., until 2012, while the Summer X Games will be held in Los Angeles through 2009.
If you tune into the Winter X Games, you’ll catch events like these:
- Snowboard SuperPipe: Snowboarders ride from one side of a U-shaped pipe to another. As they catch air, they do spins and jumps. (Skiers also have their own SuperPipe competition.)
- Snowmobile SnoCross: Snowmobilers race each other around a track filled with obstacles and jumps.
- Slopestyle: This is a type of freestyle skiing in which the skier has to navigate through an obstacle course.
- Skier X: A competition in which skiers go head to head, competing to be first while perfectly executing jumps and other tricks.
- Big Air: Skiers gain momentum on a big ramp, then leap off it to perform amazing midair tricks.
X Games returns to Aspen, Colorado’s Buttermilk Mountain for the world’s best action sports, music and festival experience — on snow! The annual Winter X Games 2019 will be held between January 24th to 27th. The event will take place in Aspen, Colorado, on Buttermilk Mountain, the same place as in the past few years.
At the Summer X Games, fans see events like these:
- Supermoto: Motorbike racers compete around a combination dirt-and-paved track dotted with small jumps.
- Bicycle Dirt Jumping: BMX bikers try to outdo each other while performing tricks on huge dirt hills.
- Skateboarding Vert: While riding up and down a U-shaped ramp, skateboarders perform amazing flips and spins.
- Wakeboarding Freeride: Part surfboarding, part waterskiing, competitors use the boat’s wake to get in the air and do a variety of tricks.
X Games events may be unorthodox, but the prizes are just like those at the Olympics. For the winner, the top reward is a gold medal, followed by silver and bronze. There’s also a much coveted cash prize. In past X Games, the prize money wasn’t much to brag about. In fact, many extreme athletes complained that they were underpaid compared to athletes in more traditional sports. At the 2001 Summer X Games in Philadelphia, skateboarders went so far as to threaten a boycott. But in recent years, ESPN has grown deeper pockets. In 2008, the X Games doled out $3 million in prize money for the first time.
Winners can earn $50,000 for taking top prize in an event, but the money drops the lower a competitor places (10th place only pays $1,000 — barely enough to cover the athletes’ travel expenses.
Difference between The X Games vs. the Olympics:
For nearly a century, the Olympics were the ultimate sports competition. Winning gold at the Winter or Summer Games was about the highest honor athletes could hope to achieve. Today the Olympics are struggling to keep up with the much cooler X Games among the lucrative 18- to 34-year-old demographic. In an effort to woo a new generation of viewers, the Olympics challenged its own tradition by adding several extreme sports to its schedule. In 1992, it added freestyle skiing moguls. Six years later, snowboarding made its debut. As a result, ratings jumped by nearly 25 percent among Generation X and Y viewers.