X Games Recap

Keeli Telleen, Stampede Reporter

While I generally prefer to be on the slopes myself, there is one weekend a year where I feel no guilt for being a total couch potato in favor of watching a particular event on TV: the Winter X Games.

This year, the 16th annual games took place from Jan. 26-29 in Aspen, Colo. As is customary in progressive action sports, minds were blown and records shattered. The typically hyped up atmosphere was darkened, however, by the recent death of iconic freeskier Sarah Burke.

Burke’s death left a deep mark on the snow sports community, where she held an exalted place as a four-time Winter X gold medalist and spearheaded the successful effort to include freeskiing events for both men and women in the upcoming 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Still, the athletes present at the X Games sought to honor Burke by performing their best while sporting “Sarah” stickers and armbands. And perform they did.

I was psyched to see my favorite skier, 20-year-old Bobby Brown, reclaim gold in Ski Big Air. Heath Frisby also landed the first ever front flip on a snowmobile in competition (Snowmobile Best Trick), and Shaun White stunned the crowd by not only five-peating gold, but doing it with an unprecedented perfect 100 point scored run in Snowboard Superpipe.

As some athletes soared, others fell. There was no shortage of heart stopping, edge-of-your-seat moments, especially when Colten Moore channeled Tom Petty by free-falling over 100 feet from his snowmobile on a trick gone wrong; he persisted to get right up and win the gold medal in Snowmobile freestyle.

Skier Justin Dorey was less fortunate. He was one of many competitors who left the games in a stretcher, but they weren’t named the Extreme Games for nothing.

Some combination of the lights, fashion, athletic prowess, fearlessness, and inspiring, comeback attitudes of the competitors keeps me enraptured during the Winter X Games every year. Argue if you wish, but there’s something we can all take from the determination of someone who throws their body into the air, makes four-and-a-half rotations while flipping twice over, and trusting two planks to catch them when they land. Plus it looks sick.