News from the X Games in Tignes
An X Games Overview from one of our Resort Managers, James:
This week I found myself in the very fortunate position of being able to visit the X-games for a day. The programme for the day was the men’s slopestyle ski qualifiers, the final for the men’s super-pipe and a wakeup call of 5.30am.
I had not planned on going to the event, but a phone call on the Wednesday afternoon by a friend within the company, meant that it was an event not to be missed. Shaun White, the reigning Olympic and X-games gold medallist was going to visit our shores and compete for the first time since the X-games has been introduced to Europe and specifically Tignes. He was not originally on the billing and was only announced late and what’s more….he stayed in a Ski Total chalet!!!
We set out early for the day, eager with in anticipation. That was until my friends fell asleep 5 minutes in to the journey….
3 and a half hours later we arrived at Le Lac in Tignes 1800 and got on to the free bus that took us over to Val Claret, where the X-games were being held.
All the talk of the day (even by skiers) was that Shaun White was there and this was creating a huge buzz around the site. We took a quick tour looking around the various tents and sponsors. Then we went and watched the snow bikes perform a shower, this was very cool!!! How they rotate them to perform backflips, I will never know!!!
The Men’s Ski Slope style event was starting at 1.30 so we made our way up the mountain to the slope style course. Perched in the snow and with thousands of spectators, we forged a mini Ski Total camp and set in to watch the Skiers.
Freestyle skiing has very much advanced over the last couple of years and the competitors did not let us down. They were double backflips; double cork 1080’s and spins so many spins!!!!
In the downtime, all of the spectators decided to partake in a mountain wide snow ball fight; this alone was actually worth the whole trip. With a crazy French man leading the charge, the slopes were alive with snowballs; we had the perfect position towards the top, perfect distance away from the bottom but within range to strike ourselves. This lasted about 15 minutes, all was good natured and everyone had huge smiles across their faces. It really was something to behold.
We wandered around resort, buying official merchandise (I have a lovely new X-games beanie) and waited until the gates opened for the Super pipe and its 6.30pm start.
Eager to get a good spot, we debated on the pros and cons of waiting at the base, or new to this year, climbing up the super pipe and being able to watch from the side, literally inside the pipe. We decided to watch from the side, apart from the logistics of standing on a slope on a piece of ice, this was a masterstroke. For one, I had Shaun White no more than a metre away flying through the air but we could look down on the crowd and enjoy the sites and it really added to the occasion. So well done to the organisers for deciding to open the sides this year!
In all honesty it was a walk in the park for Shaun White, taking 98 on his first run, his next two were relatively a strolling pace for him, but yet you could see the difference in class. He went higher, was smoother and went bigger than any other competitor and was eventually awarded the gold medal at this year’s Winters X-games in Tignes.
And so with the action over, we headed to the saloon bar to catch up with old friends and to grab a burger. Then we headed back to the car, reflecting on what a wonderful day it had been and then had the honour of driving all the way back, and yes my friends fell asleep within 5 minutes again.
Over the course of the journey I reflected on the day. This was my first time attending the X-Games, but you can tell it still has not lost its roots. This is the 3rd time it has been in Europe and Tignes itself. They have managed to bring the magic, that makes the American version so good and slowly have brought that to the European scene. With only 30+ competitors last year, this year saw that top 100. Every year it is getting bigger and now it is attracting the top names in the business and what’s more…….it is completely free! Everything; the parking, entrance to the venue and getting around resort. What more could you really want!?
A huge thank you has to go to the organisers and Tignes itself for staging such a wonderful day. I just cannot wait for next year now!!!