ESPN's Winter X Games 2012 was the BIGGEST of All-Time. If we can believe Sal Masekela, Ladies and Dudes, it was the BIGGEST X Games on the Planet. Almost every event had some historic significance in X Games lore. The tricks are BIGGER, the sponsors are BIGGER and the attendance is BIGGER.
X Games is so BIG, Disney and all their assets, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN3, ESPN.Com and ABC will begin presenting Six X Games per year starting in 2013, Two in the U.S. and four overseas. 16 hours of prime-time action was beamed into 232 Million Homes in 192 Countries. That's pretty BIG.
Aspen has hosted the last 11 Winter X Games and AspenSpin has covered the last 6. It's been an unbridled thrill ride to watch the progression and growth of the X Games franchise and Disney's commitment to action sports. It's unclear whether the mutually beneficial relationship between ESPN and Aspen/Snowmass will continue. It's BIG business. Putting it into perspective Walt Disney Company (Market Cap. $70 Bil) is #65 on the Foutune 500 list and General Dynamics (related to Ski Co. Market Cap. $25 bil)) is #86. That's BIG. AspenSpin and a lot of local bars, hotels and restaurants are hoping that the deal can be made to keep Winter X Games in Aspen.
Saturday a new record attendance of 45,600 people was established. Over the course of 4 days 108,000 souls traveled through the round-a-bout via free buses on the two lane road that covers the 4 miles between Aspen and Buttermilk. In the history of Winter X Games over 1 million fans have attended the events. After 11 years, Planet X is pretty dialed in here in Aspen. It's hard to believe than another venue can compete with Aspen...but who knows? It's all about the Benjamins.
A few words about the X Games Athletes. They are younger and more professional than ever before. These kids are highly trained, highly skilled, highly motivated SNOW WARRIORS. They send it, they go HUGE and they crash hard. The progression of action sports has created serious risks. The recent death of skier Sarah Burke cast a giant shadow over the X Games. Everyone at X Games knew her and loved her. She was the best and the brightest, and Planet X lost a great big shining star. ESPN dedicated the entire Winter X Games 2012 to her memory. Going BIG is fun, being on TV is fun, getting sponsored is fun...but please STAY SAFE...ladies and dudes.
The 10 most important moments of Winter X Games 2012.
1) The Sarah Burke Tribute. Honoring the best ever.
2) Shaun White's 5-peat and perfect score of 100 in Super Pipe.
3) Heath Frisby's front flip on a 450 lb Snowmobile in Best Trick.
4) Roz Groenewoud honoring her teammate Sarah Burke with the highest score ever in pipe
5) 18 year old, Mark McMorris Double Gold and Triple Cork in Snowboard BIG Air.
6) Tom Walisch highest score ever in Skiing Slopestyle.
7) Bobby Brown making it look easy off the money booter in Skiing BIG Air.
8) Colton Moore crashed then earned Gold in Snowmobile Freestyle.
9) Kara Turski 3-peats Gold in Skiing Slopestyle
10) Kelly Clark dominates Super Pipe with 2nd straight Gold and 13th win in a row this season.
Whatever happens in the negotiations between X Games and Aspen/Snowmass...it's been a great run. A Hopefully we'll all get to do it again next year. If, not...we will be watching on TV.