This weekend, Aspen will be hosting the Winter X Games for the 23rd year. To stoke the hype around this annual event that brings together some of the world’s top winter athletes, we put together a guide on how to watch, what to expect from this year’s competition and a little history about how the X Games started.

Winter X Games History

The first Winter X Games took place in 1997 in Big Bear, California. Then, both in 1998 and 1999, Crested Butte Mountain Resort hosted in Colorado, and then in 2000 and 2001 the X Games were held in Mount Snow, Vermont. Since 2002, Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen continues to be the proud home resort to the X Games, when they occur in the United States

The first year the Winter X Games were televised live also took place in 2002. In order to boost viewership, the competition schedule was shifted to later in the day and added events in the evening so more people could tune in and attend.

This strategy worked with a new record of over 36,000 people in attendance in Aspen. Plus according to Nielsen Media Research, viewers across all three networks streaming the event live, ABC Sports, ESPN and ESPN2, exceeded 2001’s household average by 30%.

Athletes who have competed in the X Games live up to its ‘extreme’ reputation, and have progressed winter sports and inspired several generations of athletes with its many firsts in the competitions that have been established over the years, an unavoidable result of some of the best athletes in the sport going head-to-head year after year attempting to one-up one another.

A Few Noteworthy Firsts:

  • 2007: Peter Olenick landed the first double-flip (later coined the Whiskey Flip) while free skiing in halfpipe competition history.
  • 2009: Shaun White won the first back-to-back gold medals in the Snowboard Superpipe
  • 2011: Kelly Clark landed the first 1080 as a female snowboarder in Women’s Superpipe
  • 2011: Torstein Horgmo, a Norwegian professional snowboarder, landed the first triple cork in competition in Men’s Snowboard Big Air
  • 2012: Shaun White won Snowboard Superpipe for the fifth year in a row and posted a perfect 100 for the first time in the history of the winter or summer X Games
  • 2013: Elena Hight became the first snowboarder, male or female, to land a double backside alley-oop rodeo during a halfpipe competition.
  • 2013: The first triple corks were landed in the Ski Big Air competition
  • 2016: Max Parrot lands the first cab triple cork 1800 in Snowboard Big Air
  • 2018: Mark McMorris earns a bronze medal in Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle 11 months after waking from a medically induced coma after an accident boarding in the backcountry that left him with 17 broken bones, a collapsed lung and ruptured spleen.
  • 2020: Mark McMorris earned his 19th career medal by winning the gold in Snowboard Big Air, breaking Shaun White’s record (18 medals) for most winter medals at X Games
  • 2022: Alex Hall lands the first ever 2160 in Men’s Ski Big Air


Winter X Games 2023 Schedule: 

Friday, Jan. 27:

  • Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle
  • Special Olympics Unified Skiing and Snowboarding
  • Women’s Ski Big Air
  • Ski Knuckle Huck
  • Men’s Snowboard Superpipe
  • Music performances from TJ Mizell, Night Tales and Kaskade


Saturday, Jan. 28:

  • Men’s Ski Slopestyle
  • Women’s Snowboard Superpipe
  • Women’s Ski Superpipe
  • Women’s Snowboard Big Air
  • Men’s Snowboard Big Air
  • Music performances from Alexander Smash, MOD SUN and Yung Gravy
Ben Harrington practicing for the Men's Ski SuperPipe competition in the 2022 Winter X Games
Ben Harrington during Men’s Ski SuperPipe Practice at 2022 X Games Aspen in Aspen, CO. ©Mark Kohlman/ESPN

Sunday, Jan. 29:

  • Women’s Ski Slopestyle
  • Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle
  • Snowboard Knuckle Huck
  • Men’s Ski Big Air
  • Men’s Ski Superpipe
  • Music performances from MADDS and girlfriends


Does the Winter X Games happen every year?

Yes, the Winter X Games is an annual competition that is typically held in Aspen, Colorado when hosted in the United States. The competition even continued during the Covid-19 pandemic: in January 2020 before large gatherings were brought to a stop around the world, and in 2021 when it was televised but no fans were able to attend in person.

How do I watch the X Games?

If you’re lucky enough to be in Colorado during the X Games, general admission to the competitions and festival experience is free to the public. For more exclusive, in-person viewing options, such as watching from on top of the superpipe, tickets are available for purchase here.

To tune in from home, look for the X Games on ABC and ESPN or stream it live from YouTube or Twitch. More information on the competition schedule and how to watch can be found here.

Who to watch at the 2023 Winter X Games?

All the athletes coming to compete are renowned in their individual sports, but there are a few to keep an eye on in the coming days. There will be three champions from the Beijing 2022 Olympics competing: Ailing (Eileen) Gu, Hirano Ayumu and Anna Gasser.

Others looking to score big air this weekend are New Zealand’s slopestyle Olympic champion Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, Tess Coady of Australia (Sadowski-Synnott’s rival), Aspen native, Alex Ferreira in the Ski Superpipe, and in the Freestyle Ski Big Air and Slopestyle competitions, Norwegian competitor Birk Ruud, U.S. athlete Colby Stevenson and Sweden’s Henrik Harlaut.

This year’s Winter X Games won’t be one to miss. Get hyped to watch some of the best winter athletes compete in the iconic X Games and potentially establish some of their own firsts out on the snow this year.