Beginning on January 27, the small town of Aspen, Colorado will be filled with excitement as scores of athletes from all over the world will be on hand to compete in Winter X Games 15.
The courses are set, the jumps have been erected and the halfpipes are formed. For thousands of fans, dozens of media outlets and the athletes themselves, tons of heart-pumping, death-defying feats are guaranteed.
The evolution of the Winter X Games over the past 14 years has been nothing short of remarkable. With each passing year, television ratings continue to increase and fan attendance records are shattered. Considering the number of new tricks that surface and the extremely high level of competition annually, it's just another reminder of how far winter extreme sports have actually come. Over a decade ago, the competition was considered raw and almost unknown; however, now it has become very well-respected and extremely popular in all parts of the world.
As a prelude to Winter X Games 15, the following slides highlight 15 of the most amazing performances in Winter X Games history. There's never enough time or space to cover all of the athletes worth mentioning, as the list shown here offers just a taste of the best moments from the past.
With as much excitement that has been provided over Winter X history, Winter X Games 15 promises to supply even more unforgettable action.
When considering the number of amazing performances in the history of the Winter X Games, the pioneers of the sport are often overlooked for the more modern tricks and highly-contested events.
In the very early days, Shaun Palmer personified winter action sports. He was awarded the first gold medal in Winter X Games history, which came in in Snow Mountain Biking Dual Downhill event in January 1997 at Snow Summit Mountain Resort in Big Bear Lake, California .
Palmer certainly deserves a spot on this list, and without athletes like him, the Winter X Games would not have evolved into the tremendous competition that it is today.
Veteran snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis is often considered the "golden girl" of the Winter X Games; however, her performances undoubtedly indicate she is a true legend of the sport.
She's consistently ranked in the top three in the FIS World Cup, and also adds a Olympic silver medal to her long list of accomplishments.
Her most amazing performance certainly has to be from 2010, when she three-peated with a gold medal in Snowboard X—for the second time. Lindsey's first run spanned from 2003-2005.
Without question, she'll be the favorite for gold in 2011.
Tanner Hall earned a total of seven gold medals and four silver medals over the course of his Winter X Games career.
Hall may be best remembered for breaking both his ankles while attempting a switch 900 at Winter X Games 9, but his most amazing performance came in 2004 when he further cemented his place amongst skiing's greats by winning his third-straight gold medal in the Slopestyle competition.
It's not often when a pair of brothers have the opportunity to share the medal podium. In 2005, Zach and Reggie Crist accomplished just that after the Skier X competition.
Reggie Crist easily had the race won from the start, yet Zach rallied in exciting fashion at the end to win the bronze, allowing the brothers to enjoy the winner's podium side by side.
Last year at Winter X Games 14, Halldor Helgason amazed spectators with his impressive trick innovation in the Snowboard Big Air event.
Helgason's perfect score of 100 assured him of a gold medal, and in the process became the first Icelander to ever take the podium in the history of the Winter X Games.
For most of her teen years, Hannah Teter lived in the shadows of her three older brothers. She finally began her rise to fame after an amazing performance at Winter X 8.
At only 17 years of age, Hannah won a gold medal in the Superpipe competition, sealing her victory by pulling off a frontside 900.
Two years later she earned a gold medal in the halfpipe at the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, and eventually went on to capture a silver at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
In the MotoX preliminaries of the 2004 Winter X Games, Brian Deegan was forced to lose his bike after realizing he wouldn't complete the rotation of his turn. He fell 45 feet, and eventually broke his femur and both his wrists.
Showing his toughness, Deegan returned to competition in just six months, and rebounded to win a MotoX gold medal in 2005 at Winter X Games 9.
Deegan was also the first rider ever to land a 360—dubbed the Mulisha Twist—in Winter X Games competition.
In only his second Winter X Games competition at 18 years of age, Bobby Brown captured the gold in the Big Air competition.
He finished with a combined score of 100, the first time a skier tallied a perfect score in Big Air in the history of the Winter X Games.
Brown sealed up the gold with a switch double misty 1440, his first-ever successful completion of the maneuver.
He also captured gold in the Men's Slopestyle the very same year.
While many spectators expected Blair Morgan to win the gold in the SnoCross at Winter X Games 4, Tucker Hibbert, 15, shocked both Morgan and the crowd with a stunning victory to capture the gold.
Ironically, Hibbert's father, legendary SnoCross racer Kirk Hibbert, took fifth place in the very same race.
Despite being one of the most successful snowmobile riders in history, Hibbert decided to trade his snowmobile in for a dirt bike and began racing on the Pro Motocross tour in 2003.
Nate Holland is widely known across the snowboarding community for his chaotic style and his all-out, totally awesome, wicked attitude.
Without a doubt, Holland's most amazing performance came in 2010 when he won the Snowboarder X event for the record fifth straight time.
His recent performances have been strong as ever and he projects to be a strong contender for a sixth consecutive gold in the Cross.
Holland also competed for the USA at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, where he finished 14th, and at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where he finished fourth.
From 2001-2006, Blair Morgan flat out dominated SnoCross at the Winter X Games. Morgan is credited for revolutionizing the modern SnoCross style, and was known by spectators for his sheer speed and determination.
His most amazing performance came at X Games 10 when he won his fifth gold medal. It could have been his sixth if it wasn't for the shocking performance of Tucker Hibbert at Winter X Games 4.
In 2008, Morgan severed his spine during practice. He was paralyzed from the middle of the back down.
Peter Olenick is an Aspen local who was known for his high-risk approach to both the Slopestyle and SuperPipe.
His greatest moment came in 2007 at Winter X Games 11 when he wowed the crowd with the first-ever double-flip in halfpipe history.
The move was later dubbed "The Whiskey Flip," and set a new standard for SuperPipe competitors.
Levi Lavalle will be forever remembered for his attempted double-backflip on his snowmobile at Winter X Games 13.
Although he completed two full rotations, he was just short of success by failing to ride out the stunt after the landing.
Needless to say, the attempt created an overwhelming amount of excitement and emotion from fans across the world.
Lavalle himself said that "it was something completely crazy to even think about doing."
Aleksander Nordgaard is most remembered for his impressive record-breaking 106-foot backflip in the snowmobile freestyle competition at Winter X Games 11.
2007 was the first year for the SMB X, and although he only walked away with a silver medal, Nordgaard's jump will never be forgotten by many.
After missing the past three Winter X Games due to injury, Aleksander hopes to come back with a vengeance in 2011.
It's very difficult to choose just one of Shaun White's Winter X Games performances as his most amazing, but his clean sweep of Winter X 10 is certainly at the top.
White became just the second athlete in Winter X Games history to complete the “four-peat,” as he won his fourth straight Slopestyle title. His gold medal run consisted of three 1080s and a 900, which wowed every single spectator who witnessed the event.
White carried the momentum of Winter X 10 to Turin, Italy, where he won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in the halfpipe.
His first Winter X Snowboard SuperPipe "three-peat" came in 2010, which ranks among White's most impressive performances as well.