Superior venue ramps things up
Competing against men brings progress
I'm obviously a little biased here, and I've never actually been to the Summer X Games. Still, I think it's pretty clear that Winter X Games is the event of the year, hands down.
Sure, the summer has the festival vibe going on, and there's more of an emphasis on the bands and the party. But if you're looking to watch some awesome riding, it's all about the winter. First of all, the snow is usually more forgiving than the ramps and concrete courses, which means we progress faster and do bigger tricks.
And the Winter X Games venue is better than at any other event. The guys who build it are on site months in advance getting the pipes and jumps polished just so. That gives us the perfect setup to do some incredible jumps and go bigger than ever.
In 2011, Winter X was the perfect spot for me to try the first frontside 1080 in women's snowboarding history.
But the best part about the Winter X Games is that it's not just a spectator sport. The general public can go out and shred the mini park at the mountain by day and watch the contests by night. You might not be hitting the 70-foot jump, but you can hit the 10-foot one.
Whenever I'm at the X Games, everyone I'm talking to is going to take their own runs.
Oh, and did I mention no sunburn? Winter is where it's at.
At this January's Winter X Games in Aspen, 54 women competed in five women's events. Compare that with the 30 women who were invited to compete at the X Games in Austin this weekend, and it would be easy to argue that, for women, winter is where it's at.
But I submit as evidence to the contrary three groundbreaking women: Jen Horsey, Vicki Golden and Emma Gilmour.
At last year's Summer X Games, of which there were four held around the world, Horsey became the first woman to work as a color analyst for a motorsports event on ESPN. That same year, Golden, a three-time X Games women's Moto X racing gold medalist, was the only woman invited to compete in the seven-rider freestyle motocross Best Whip contest, and she finished third. She will compete in the same event this year. And on Saturday, Gilmour, a three-time runner-up in the New Zealand Rally Championships, will become the first woman to drive in an X Games RallyCross race, and she will compete against a field of 18 men.
In all action sports, women are pushing the envelope and progressing at an incredible rate. Much of that progression -- the new tricks, the highest airs, the never-before-seen combinations -- happens at X Games. But only at Summer X do women compete against the men on an even playing field for the same prize money in front of a larger TV audience than the Winter X draws. Much of that audience is women.
Imagine what that does for progression.