X Games Aspen renews contract

X Games athletes talk to the press at X Games Aspen 2014.

ASPEN, Colo. -- The Aspen Skiing Company has renewed its X Games contract with ESPN and will continue to host X Games Aspen for the next five years, the two companies announced Wednesday from Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, Colo., home of the Winter X Games since 2002.

Eric Bakke/ESPN Images

Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, Colo., home of X Games since 2002, will continue to host the event for the next five years.

"It's amazing how X Games has seemingly become part of Aspen/Snowmass' identity over the years," said John Rigney, Aspen Skiing Company's vice president of sales and events. "There's a rich cultural history here and we're fortunate to host many world-class events, but I can't think of a single event that resonates so well with kids and young adults as X Games does. ... That's a win for our resort and more importantly the sports we love. Our community is proud to partner with ESPN, and we look forward to five more great years together."

Other qualified cities vying to host the Winter X Games were announced in January 2013 and included Lake Tahoe, Calif.; Park City, Utah; and Canada's Quebec City and Le Massif de Charlevoix.

"For the last 13 years, Aspen/Snowmass has been a key part of the heart and footprint of the X Games," said Scott Guglielmino, ESPN's senior vice president of programming and X Games, explaining the decision to stay in Aspen. "We were thrilled to see the interest [from other cities] in hosting the X Games; however, the new opportunities in continuing and growing our long-time, valued collaboration with Aspen Skiing Company proved the most exciting and extensive."

X Games Aspen 2013 broke both the single-day attendance record for a Winter X Games event with 47,200 attendees and the total Winter X Games attendance record, with 114,500 fans on site over the four-day festival.

X Games Aspen 2014 kicks off Wednesday night with the Men's Ski SuperPipe Elimination, airing live on ESPN3 at 8:30 p.m. ET, followed by a full schedule of ski, snowboard and snowmobile events. Nearly all of the U.S. Olympic team's snowboarding and freeskiing athletes -- and many of the international athletes -- headed to Russia next month for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games will first be competing at X Games this week.

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