One of the biggest stages for winter athletics in extreme sports is about to once again kick off on Wednesday with the X-Games officially starting in Aspen.
With 16 hours of coverage on either ESPN or ABC and an additional 10 hours scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN3, there will be plenty of high-flying, death-defying events for extreme sports lovers to enjoy over the next five days.
A full slate of events in skiing, snowboarding and snowmobile is already set, with athletes like Shaun White and Levi LaVallee looking to take center stage once again.
For those planning on taking in every second of the action, it won't be easy. Before all of the action starts, here is a full schedule of the events and information for each event.
Wednesday, Jan. 22
Men's Ski SuperPipe Elimination (8:30-10 p.m. on ESPN3)
Thursday, Jan. 23
Men's Snowboard SlopeStyle Elimination (2-3:30 p.m. on ESPN3)
Men's Snowboard SuperPipe Elimination (7:30-9 p.m. on ESPN3)
Men's Snowboard SuperPipe Elimination (Highlights) and Snowmobile Freestyle Final (9-11 p.m. on ESPN)
Friday, Jan. 24
Men's & Women's Snowboarder X Final and Men's Ski SlopeStyle Elimination (12:30-4 p.m. on ESPN3)
Women's Ski SuperPipe Final (7:30-8:30 p.m. on ESPN3)
America's Navy Snowboard Big Air Final and Men's Ski SuperPipe Final (9 p.m.-12 a.m. on ESPN3)
America's Navy Snowboard Big Air Final and Men's Ski SuperPipe Final (10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. on ESPN)
Saturday, Jan. 25
Men's Snowboard SlopeStyle Final and Women's Snowboard Slopestyle Final (2-4 p.m. on ESPN)
Women's Snowboard SlopeStyle Final and Snowmobile Long Jump Final (4-6 p.m. on ABC)
Women's Snowboard SuperPipe Final (8:30-9 p.m. on ESPN3)
Women's Snowboard SuperPipe Final and GoPro Ski Big Air Final (9-11 p.m. on ESPN)
Sunday, Jan. 26
Men's Ski Slopestyle Final, Snowmobile SnoCross Adaptive Final, Women's SkiSlopeStyle Final, and Monster Energy Snowmobile SnoCross Final (2-6 p.m. on ESPN)
Men's Snowboard SuperPipe Final (9-11 p.m. on ESPN)
Schedule courtesy of xgames.com.
The most parity in the X-Games appears to be in the skiing events. With several athletes on the men's and women's side that could take home gold medals, each event will be tough to predict in the skiing categories.
Canadian ski half-pipe coach Trennon Paynter spoke about the excitement of having a deep field and what it could mean heading into the 2014 Winter Olympics with Devon O'Neil of xgames.com:
I think it's great for the Olympics that there are a lot of people out there with the capability to podium. It's not like eight years ago when you knew it was going to be Tanner [Hall] or Simon [Dumont]. Now you've got a whole pool of people, and every event you're like, who's it going to be?
On the men's side, McRae Williams and Nick Goepper traded off gold medals last year in the Men's Ski Slopestyle events, with Goepper coming out on top in Aspen. As for the Men's Ski SuperPipe event, 18-year-old Torin Yater-Wallace is looking to earn his fourth straight medal after winning a silver and gold last year and a bronze in 2012 in the event.
As for the women's side, Maddie Bowman will be looking to return to the top of the Women's Ski SuperPipe podium after winning the event in Aspen and losing to Marie Martinod in Tignes. In the Women's Ski Slopestyle event, Kaya Turski and Tiril Sjastad Christiansen will once again do battle after trading off gold and silver medals last year.
It doesn't exactly bring the same type of excitement that Moto-X does for the Summer X-Games, but the snowmobile events always bring some of the biggest highlights
LaVallee, one of the most polarizing figures in the sport, will once again take the stage looking to add to his medal collection. The 31-year-old returned to the Winter X-Games last season to take home the Snowmobile Freestyle gold medal.
With seven medals at the X-Games in his career, LaVallee has a lot of competition in the field. With Joe Parsons, Heath Frisby and Chris Burandt are all looking to take the top spot in the long jump and with the freestyle competition still around there will be a huge field looking to knock LaVallee off the top spot.
It's impossible to talk about snowboarding without mentioning White's name. What Tony Hawk did for skateboarding during his career is mirrored only by what White has done for the extreme snowboarding scene.
But with the Winter Olympics coming up in February and crashing late last week, it appeared White might not compete in the Winter X-Games. On Tuesday, White officially announced that he would compete in the SuperPipe and Slopestyle competitions, according to SportsCenter's Twitter account:
White won't be alone in the two events. With Sebastien Toutant winning the gold in the Slopestyle event in Tignes and Ayumu Hirano looking to dethrone White in the SuperPipe event, it will be interesting to see if the "Flying Tomato" can continue his dominance.
As for the women, Kelly Clark and Elena Hight will once again do battle for the SuperPipe competition. With Clark dominating the event recently, winning gold in the last four events. Meanwhile, Hight has finished with silver in the last three Winter X-Games and is looking to take the top spot from Clark.
In the Slopestyle competition, Jamie Anderson won the gold in Aspen last year but was defeated by Silje Norendal in Tignes and forced to take home silver. With three gold medals between them in the last two years, look for Anderson and Norendal to once again battle it out for the Slopestyle throne.
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