What to watch for at X Games Aspen 2016
What to watch for at X Games Aspen 2016
X Games returns to Aspen in 2016 for four days of high-intensity action, live music, interactive village entertainment and more. Need the inside info on what's going down at X Games Aspen 2016? Here's your guide to tuning in.
Snowmobile SnoCross Adaptive
At X Games Aspen 2015, Mike Schultz (pictured) crashed out of the Snowboarder X Adaptive competition, breaking his right heel in 15 places. The injury required a five-hour surgery, 11 screws and four months in a wheelchair. He didn't return to a snowmobile until late January, but he's hoping 13 years of X Games racing experience will help prepare him for Snowmobile SnoCross Adaptive on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 3:30 p.m. MT on Buttermilk Mountain.
Tucker Hibbert (pictured) has so dominated X Games SnoCross that it would be an enormous shock if he doesn't win his ninth straight gold. Hibbert has had an astounding average win margin of more than 18 seconds in his eight consecutive X Games victories. A ninth in a row would tie him for a milestone: most consecutive X Games gold medals, a record currently owned by BMX Vert star Jamie Bestwick. Look for Hibbert on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 4 p.m. MT, and don't be surprised if he walks away with another gold medal...
Men's Ski SuperPipe
At X Games Aspen 2015, David Wise could have chosen to do a safety run that likely would have netted him a medal. Instead, he landed a rightside double cork 1440 mute grab in the middle of all three of his runs, but didn't carry enough momentum to make his follow-up tricks. He placed fourth, missing the podium for the first time since his 2011 rookie appearance. Continuing his quest for progression over a secured win, Wise plans to "try and spin a different direction on every hit I can," this week in the Ski SuperPipe. A clean pass might earn Wise his fourth SuperPipe gold, the most in X Games history. Watch the action of Men's Ski SuperPipe on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. MT.
Music: Run The Jewels, Nas
The son of famed jazz musician Olu Dara, Nas created what's widely regarded as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time with 1994's "Illmatic" at just 20 years old. Two decades later, Nas remains an incendiary and outspoken rapper. Following a performance by Run The Jewels at 8 p.m. MT, Nas takes to the music stage at Buttermilk Mountain on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 9:30 p.m. MT.
Women's Snowboard Slopestyle
Ten-time X Games Slopestyle medalist Jamie Anderson (not pictured) broke her right collarbone when she fell on a switch backside 540 on a jump in the Breckenridge terrain park days before the Dew Tour Breckenridge. The 25-year-old had a metal plate and eight screws inserted in surgery. "I was a wreck; so heartbroken and emotional!" she says. "It was my first surgery and I was really nervous." Anderson has been rehabbing ever since and is back in Aspen, ready for a rematch with three-time defending X Games Slopestyle gold medalist Silje Norendal (pictured). Watch the action of Women's Snowboard Slopestyle on Friday, Jan. 29 at 10 a.m. MT.
Women's Ski Slopestyle
The only time Norway's Tiril Sjstad Christiansen competed in Aspen was in 2013. While all eyes were on three-time defending champion Kaya Turski, Tiril, then 17, became the youngest female ski gold medalist in X Games history. She then went on to win silver at XG Tignes and finished second overall on the year-end AFP slopestyle rankings. A torn ACL had her on the sideline since December 2013, but since she's returned to competition in February 2015, she's made the podium at all seven comps she's competed in. Can she reclaim her former glory at X? Find out Friday, Jan. 29 at 12:30 p.m. MT.
Monster Energy Snowmobile Freestyle
"This time around I'm just glad Freestyle is back. Everyone's really excited to put on a big show again because we've all missed this competition. Everyone's pretty much been working on their tricks in secret, so who knows what we'll see," said Colten Moore (pictured), who claimed gold the last time Snowmobile Freestyle was contested in 2014. Moore returns to defend his title in the Monster Energy Snowmobile Freestyle Final at Buttermilk Mountain on Friday, Jan. 29 at 5 p.m. MT.
Women's Ski SuperPipe
Maddie Bowman earned her third straight X Games Aspen SuperPipe gold in 2015, using technical 900 spins to top the women's field. The 2014 Sochi gold medalist has been top dog in the discipline for several years now. While she is favored to win gold in Aspen in 2016, Bowman is just returning to competition after surgery on her right knee in February 2015. Aspen will be her second competition of the season. See if Bowman can defend her crown Friday, Jan. 29 at 6:30 p.m. MT.
America's Navy Snowboard Big Air
Max Parrot landed a quadruple underflip 1620 in April. Defending Big Air gold medalist Mark McMorris (pictured) and Yuki Kadono have switch backside triple cork 1620s added to their trick repertoires. In an event where winners are judged on a combination score of their best two tricks, and triple corks have become a contest standard, what second trick will be the one that wins it all? Watch and see when America's Navy Snowboard Big Air takes the stage on Friday, Jan. 29 at 8:15 p.m. MT.
Music: Twenty One Pilots
Twenty One Pilots have spent much of the past year performing main stage sets at international festivals including Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Japan's Fuji Rock Festival, Belgium's Pukkelpop and Montreal's Osheaga Festival Musique et Arts. Twenty One Pilots' new single "Stressed Out" is rising quickly at alternative radio outlets nationwide, while its companion video has scored over 20 million views and counting at Twenty One Pilots' official YouTube channel. The band is slated to appear at X Games Aspen 2016 on Friday, Jan. 29 at 9:30 p.m. MT.
Mono Skier X
At age 54, Mono Skier X veteran Chris Devlin-Young is more than twice the age of his youngest competitor, yet he remains one of the biggest threats on the X Course. Devlin-Young is making his sixth X Games appearance in 2016 and, as the second-oldest athlete ever to compete in a winter discipline, he has racing experience on his side. Catch Devlin-Young on the X Course in Mono Skier X on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 11 a.m. MT.
Men's Snowboard Slopestyle
Men's Snowboard Slopestyle is always one of the most dramatic contests of X Games Aspen, and this year will be no exception. 2015 Slopestyle and Big Air double-gold medalist Mark McMorris, who has six Slopestyle medals to his credit (three gold), will face off with 2014 Olympic Slopestyle gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg, 2014 Big Air and Slopestyle double-gold medalist Max Parrot and the style master, 2014 Olympic Slopestyle and 2015 XG Slopestyle silver medalist Stle Sandbech (pictured) -- all gunning for that No. 1 spot. Watch the action unfold Saturday, Jan. 30 at 12 p.m. MT.
Coors Light Skier X
In 2012, the last time Skier X was held at X Games, Chris Del Bosco won his second gold and his fourth X Games medal. The Canadian, now 33, is back in 2016 as the discipline's oldest competitor. Once again, he'll be the favorite. After all, he won the first two World Cup races of the 2015-16 season, and the Aspen X Course tends to reward the same handful of competitors year after year. Catch Men's and Women's Skier X in the X Course on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. MT.
Halo 5: Guardians
esports returns to X Games Aspen 2016. This year, the focus is on "Halo 5: Guardians," with eight teams competing for X Games medals and $30,000 in prize money. The eight teams slated to appear include Epsilon eSports, Penta Sports, Team Allegiance, CLG, Evil Geniuses, Leftovers, Dream Team and Team Liquid. The Halo World Championship Tour: X Games Aspen Invitational 2016 kicks off on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 5 p.m. MT in The Gaming Shack. The final goes down Saturday, Jan. 30 at 5:30 p.m. MT.
Intel Men's Snowboard SuperPipe
Can two-time defending gold medalist Danny Davis, leader of the "bring style back to halfpipe competition snowboarding" movement, pull off a three-peat? It'll be hard with prodigies like Ben and Gabe Ferguson, 2014 Olympic gold medalist Iouri Podladtchikov and 2015 Burton U.S. Open champion Taku Hiraoka hot on his heels. See if Davis' switch method can continue to dominate when the men drop into Snowboard SuperPipe Saturday, Jan. 30 at 6:15 p.m. MT.
GoPro Ski Big Air
Henrik Harlaut is the only skier to take back-to-back X Games Big Air gold (2013-2014). Only Harlaut and Bobby Brown have won Big Air more than once. After missing X Games Aspen 2015 Big Air due to injury, Harlaut returns to the roster and will be 2015 gold medalist Vincent Gagnier's (pictured) biggest competitor. While their rotations are different, their approach is the same: to be unique. Gagnier throws one-of-a-kind doubles; Harlaut specializes in creative, daring nose-butters. See whose approach will reign supreme Saturday, Jan. 30 at 8:15 p.m. MT.
Joel Zimmerman, more commonly known as deadmau5 (pronounced "dead mouse"), is one of the world's most respected electronic music producers. In between birthday vacations and new studio setups, deadmau5 intends to wind down the month of January with an appearance at X Games Aspen 2016. deadmau5 is slated to appear at X Games Aspen 2016 on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 9:30 p.m. MT.
Men's Ski Slopestyle
Three-time X Games Aspen Slopestyle gold medalist Nick Goepper will face off with Gus Kenworthy, who is coming in hot off of his second consecutive Dew Tour Slopestyle win, freed from the mental burdens he says have been holding him back in his past six X Games appearances. Kenworthy is the only skier competing in both Slopestyle and SuperPipe (he's also an alternate for Big Air). If he medals in both, he'll be the first skier to do it since Jon Olsson's reign of dominance from 2002 to 2005. Watch it all go down Sunday, Jan. 31 at 10 a.m. MT.
Snowboarder Adaptive X
Snowboarder Adaptive X debuted as a medal sport at X Games Aspen 2015 after being an exhibition in 2011 and 2012. With the same six-rider format as Snowboarder X and Skier X, the X Games version is very different than its Paralympic and World Cup counterparts -- but that's beginning to change. Former Snowboarder X competitor Bibian Mentel (pictured) will make her return and set an X Games record for most years between appearances: 16. Catch Snowboarder Adaptive X at X Games Aspen 2016 on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 10 a.m. MT.
It would appear that Nate Holland, 37, has found the magic formula at X Games. He can start slowly, and he can ride injured. Give him a long course or a short course, and he still finds his way to the X Games podium. He has nine medals in 12 X Games appearances, seven of them gold. No other man has come close to that sort of success on the X Course. While he remains the favorite to win in Aspen, the always confident Holland is, surprisingly, downplaying his X Games 2016 chances; he says his odds of reclaiming gold are 90-to-1 because he sprained his pelvis. Catch Snowboarder X at X Games Aspen 2016 on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 12 p.m. MT.
The Real Cost Women's Snowboard SuperPipe
Sure, the big story of Women's Snowboard SuperPipe might be the rematch between 13-time SuperPipe medalist Kelly Clark (seven gold, five silver) and 15-year-old Chloe Kim (pictured), who became the youngest athlete to win winter gold when she bested Clark and topped the podium in 2015. But don't count out two-time Olympic halfpipe medalist (2010 gold, 2014 silver) and five-time XG medalist (two gold, two silver, 2015 XG bronze) Torah Bright. The three medalists of XG Aspen 2015 meet each other again in the U-shaped battlefield to close the 2016 action down on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 1:45 p.m. MT.
A natural born musician, Kygo's innate ability to construct catchy melodies and uplifting chord sequences, which together forms the basis of his signature sound, came from piano lessons that he started taking when he was just 6 years old. After discovering Avicii some years later, Kygo began to develop a unique passion for dance music, remixing the likes of Rihanna and James Blake and experimenting with different sounds and exciting new textures. Kygo will close out X Games Aspen 2016 on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 3:30 p.m. MT.