For the 14th consecutive year, Aspen Snowmass is hosting the X Games on Buttermilk’s world-famous superpipe and slopestyle course. From Jan. 21-25, 2015 spectators can watch their freestyle ski and snowboard heroes up close and personal and take advantage of swag giveaways, sponsored parties and world-class concerts. X Games Aspen is a prestigious, invite-only freestyle-skiing, freestyle-snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowboarder-cross, skier-cross and mono-cross competition.
Watching the events from Buttermilk’s base area is akin to sitting on the sidelines at the Super Bowl; you can see the world’s best snowsports athletes pull off their gravity-defying stunts just a couple hundred yards away. You can even take runs off the Summit Express chairlift, which ascends alongside the X Games courses, and enjoy bird’s-eye views of the competitions and practice runs.
The superpipe and slopestyle courses are maintained throughout most of the winter for other park and pipe competitions and athlete training, making it possible to see the monstrous jumps and the 22-foot-high, 500-plus-foot-long superpipe in person later in the ski season. Nominate a newbie (i.e. new skier or snowboarder) to learn in Aspen Snowmass, and you and your friend could a win grand prize ski trip, including learning experiences like Terrain Park & Pipe Private Lessons and the chance to see the X Games courses for yourself.
What’s in store for X Games 2015:
See newly medaled Olympic athletes in action
The 2014 Sochi Olympics was the inaugural showing of Ski Halfpipe and Slopestyle and Snowboard Slopestyle events. The new Olympic athletes certainly made their mark on the world. The competitors exchanged many on-air smiles and hugs and displayed constant camaraderie throughout the Games, but the world really fell in love with this new class of athletes when Ski Slopestyle silver-medalist Gus Kenworthy started a campaign to adopt a litter of stray Sochi puppies that he befriended in the Olympic Village. Other Olympic athletes soon followed suit.
Kenworthy and U.S. teammates, Joss Christensen (gold) and Nick Goepper (bronze) swept the Men’s Ski Slopestyle podium, so it will interesting to see how each of them perform while competing in X Games. Kenworthy is a multi-event athlete and will competing in both the Slopestyle and Superpipe competitions and is an alternate for the Big Air event. Here are some of the other Olympic podium athletes :
Who to look out for this year
With a growing rate of young guns moving up into the ranks and a laundry list of time-tested veterans, the 2015 X Games invite roster is incredibly stacked. It’s truly anyone’s game, but here are some names to watch.
Maddie Bowman, 21, of South Lake Tahoe, has been enjoying a two-year streak of women’s halfpipe dominance and shows no signs of slowing down. She captured her first Olympic gold at Sochi and clinched a win on the Dew Tour last month.
Aaron Blunck, 18, of Crested Butte, and Lyman Currier, 20, of Boulder, are two to keep an eye out for. The Colorado boys could give Olympic gold-medalist and three-peat X Games winner David Wise, 24, of Reno, a run for his money. Torin Yater-Wallace, 19, of Aspen, who was a favorite to medal at Sochi, beat out the king of halfpipe, Wise, last month on the Dew Tour. Men’s Ski Superpipe is sure to be an edge-of-your-seat event.
Chloe Kim, 14, of Mammoth, made headlines at last year’s X Games when she took silver in Women’s Snowboard Superpipe and came within a couple points of veteran halfpipe champ and Olympic gold-medalist Kelly Clark, 31. Olympian Taylor Gold, 21, of Steamboat Springs, claimed his third win since last March. Gold has been on the U.S. Snowboarding Rookie Team for several years and has slowly worked his way to dominance with hard work and determination. He made the jump to pro about a year ago and hasn’t looked back.
Veteran freeskier and Olympian Keri Herman, 32, of Breckenridge, captured her first Dew Tour title last month, but 16-year-old Julia Krass, of New Hampshire, is hot on her heels and enjoying a successful year, ending the 2014 Dew Tour in third place.
The men’s slopestyle roster is probably one of the most competitive, especially considering the return of veteran and smooth operator Tom Wallisch, 27, of Park City, who missed his sport’s Olympic premiere due to injury. Other proven veterans include U.S. Freeskiing Team member Bobby Brown, 23, of Breckenridge, who landed in second place for Slopestyle for the 2014 AFP circuit. The charismatic Swedish Olympic skier Henrik Harlaut, 23, nabbed fourth place in 2014 X Games Slopestyle and sixth at Sochi. Harlaut has eight years of international slopestyle and big air competition under his belt, making him a consummate athlete to watch.
The young guns to look out for in slopestyle include 19-year-old Øystein Bråten, of Norway, who can pull off triple corks (spinning three times off axis), and 17-year-old Evan McEachran, of Canada, who Freeskier magazine called “the real damn deal.”
Olympic gold-medalist Jamie Anderson, of South Lake Tahoe, landed her third consecutive Dew Tour win last month. She is expected to continue her reign as the queen of slopestyle, but Enni Rukajaravri of Finland, has been consistently trailing just behind her.
Between 21-year-old Olympic gold-medalist Sage Kostenburg, 21-year-old silver-medalist Staale Sandbech, 21-year-old bronze-medalist Mark McMorris, Chas Guldemond, 27, of Lake Tahoe, who just took first on the 2014 Dew Tour and Sebastien Toutant, 22, of Canada, who took second on the 2014 Dew Tour, the podium line-up for Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle will be exciting to watch.
Get your dance on with Skrillex, Chromeo, Wiz Kalifa and Snoop Dog
Hip-hop stars Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa and electronic music sensations Skrillex and Chromeo will headline the musical portion of 2015 X Games Aspen. Event organizers are making big efforts to foster a music festival atmosphere this year and in the years to come.
Snoop Dogg is touring to promote his”7 Days of Funk” collaboration with Dam-Funk and his 2013 “Reincarnated” album, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Reggae Chart. The Montreal-based electro-funk duo Chromeo recently released their fourth album, “White Women.” The band has performed at large festivals, including Lollapalooza, Coachella and Bonnaroo, and on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” Six-time Grammy winner Skrillex will be recognizable to fans of the X Games; his single “Bangarang” was featured in 2013 X Games commercials.
Catch the all the action on ESPN. If you don’t get to see Buttermilk’s state-of-the-art superpipe and slopestyle course in person this season, you have at least four more years to do so. Last year Aspen Snowmass announced they will be hosting the Winter X Games through 2019.
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