In 1993 the management at sports television channel ESPN agreed to create an international gathering of action sport athletes. In April, 1994 the company announced the first Extreme Games would be held in Rhode Island in June, 1995.
Since 2002, Aspen’s Buttermilk Mountain have hosted the Winter X Games and are reported by ESPN to be continuing to do so until 2019. The location for the Summer X Games has been in Los Angeles, changing to Austin, Texas, in June 2014. The X Games also has international competitions and demonstrations worldwide throughout the year.
For the first games, athletes competed in twenty-seven events across nine sporting categories. The categories were Bungee Jumping, Eco-Challenge, In-line Skating, Skateboarding, Sky-surfing, Sport Climbing, Street Luge, Biking and Water Sports.
198,000 spectators attended the first Extreme Games. Seven sponsors supported the event, these were Advil, Mountain Dew, Taco Bell, Chevy Trucks, AT&T, Nike and Miller Lite Ice. With positive feedback from athletes, organisers, spectators and sponsors, ESPN made the decision to hold the event the following year, instead of every two years as stated in the original plan. Rhode Island was again chosen as the location for the 1996 event.
Chronology of the games
1996: the name of the event was officially changed to the X Games, to assist in translation to international audiences as well as offering better branding opportunities. In June, 200,000 spectators attended X Games II. Wakeboarding replaced Kite-skiing, wind-surfing and mountain biking.
A press conference on June 30, announced the site of the first Winter X Games as Snow Summit Mountain Resort in Big Bear Lake, Calif.,
1997: The inaugural Winter X Games were a 4-day event beginning on January 30, 1997 and had 38,000 spectators. Competitions included snowboarding, ice climbing, snow mountain bike racing, super-modified shovel racing and a cross over multi-sport event. The event was televised to 198 countries and territories in twenty-one different languages. ABC Sports broadcast their first X Games at this event.
In March, the qualifying event for the X Games, known as the X Trials, began in Rhode Island. Additional X Games qualifying events, included the B3 and EXPN Invitational that continued to be held each summer until 2002.
X Games III in California, drew a record crowd of 221,000. Snowboard Big Air amazed on-lookers with a 10-story jump made from hundreds of tons of artificial snow.
1998: The Winter X Games II drew about 25,000 spectators in Colorado, with new sports including Free-skiing, Snowmobile Sno-Cross and Ski-boarding.
The first-ever international X Games qualifying event was held in April. The Asian X Games saw 200 athletes from the Pacific Rim compete for a limited amount of spots at X Games IV in San Diego where the numbers of spectators exceeded 233,000.
1999: More than 30,000 attended the Winter X Games III that featured more disciplines, including women’s Free-skiing. X Games V in June attracted almost 275,000 spectators. Spectators witnessed Tony Hawk’s first-ever “skateboarding 900” and the X Games debut of Moto X.
2000: The Winter X Games IV added the Snowboard SuperPipe competition. X Games VI of 2000 added the Moto X Step-Up competition. Several new ventures were also announced, including Action Sports and Music Awards, International X Games Qualifiers and more.
2001: The Winter X Games V saw the debut of Moto X Big Air. The first Action Sports and Music Awards uniting action sports athletes, sporting legends, musicians and Hollywood celebrities was held in Los Angeles in April.
The X Games VII in Philadelphia saw downhill BMX make its debut. Events were held inside and outside an arena, with 234,950 spectators.
2002: Winter X Games VI saw the entire 2002 US Olympic Snowboard Freestyle team, compete in Winter X Snowboard SuperPipe just weeks prior to the Salt Lake City Olympics.
The second annual ESPN Action Sports and Music Awards in April 2002 saw performances by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jay-Z entertaining the capacity crowd.
In July, ESPN’s European X Games Qualifier II saw 10 athletes from Spain, UK, Germany, France and Sweden qualify for X Games VIII
X Games VIII saw another park course added to accommodate the unique riding style of skateboarding. Women’s Skateboard and Moto X exhibitions were featured. The average per day crowd was a new record of 40,210 with an overall crowd count of 221,352 and almost 63 million people watched broadcasts from ESPN.
2003: Winter X Games VII featured the sports of Moto X, Ski, Snowboard and Snowmobile. The first X Games Global Championship in May, featured 6 world regions competing against each other in summer and winter action sports at two simultaneous venues in Texas and British Colombia.
X Games IX 2003 saw the successful launch of X Games Surfing and women’s Skateboard Park and Vert were made official X Games competitions. The telecast captured the sought-after 12-17 year-old demographic that increased 10 percent from the previous years telecast with an average of 162,621 viewers across all three networks.
2004: X Games XX featured a live telecast of the new finals-only format. 150 athletes competed over the four days in Aggressive In-line Skate, Bike Stunt, Moto X, Skateboard, Surf and Wakeboard. Attendance over the four days was 170,471. It was agreed that X Games would remain in Los Angeles until 2009.
2005: X Games XI airs live in more than 75 countries and territories via ESPN International.
2006: X Games XII in 2006 added Rally Car Racing and BMX Big Air to its sport line-up. More than 138,000 fans attended the competition and was the highest-rated X Games ever among young men in the 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 age groups. For the first time, X Games was aired 24 hours each day of the event.
2010: Winter X Games Europe held in Tignes and continue to do so
2011: ESPN held a bid to select three host cities in addition to Los Angeles, Aspen, and Tignes, France, to form a six-event calendar for the next three years 2013-16, though this was later cancelled.
2014: X Games XX took place over June 5–8, 2014, at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, the first full X Games event to be held in the state of Texas. The 4-day attendance was 160,000.
2015: Winter X Games, ESPN used camera drones for the first time, to capture aerial views of the athlete’s runs. Again in Austin, the X Games XXI saw the first ever Moto X Flat Track competition, Moto X Quarter Pipe and Big Air Doubles. The X Games XXI attracted 160,000 spectators over four days. The 2016 X Games XXII were also held in Austin
2017: X Games Minneapolis XXIII took place July 13–16 at US Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. The 2018 X Games will also take place here.
In 2015, Forbes ranked Austin as the second fastest-growing city, but locals are keen to “Keep Austin Weird”, by which they mean to keep all that makes Austin unique including it’s music, history, art and night-life.
Austin prides itself as being the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’ so it’s easy to find a show at any of the 200+ venues in town. Either stroll down Sixth Street and take your pick or try one of the following trusted venues: Victory Grill; Austin City Limits; Broken Spoke; Unplugged at the Grove; Continental Club; Stubb’s; Nutty Brown Cafe; Threadgill’s South; Mohawk; Waterloo Records; The Mean-Eyed Cat; Saxon Pub; Maggie Mae’s; Austin Detours Live Music Crawl.
If dancing is how you want to enjoy your night, the city will not disappoint. Regulars and newcomers pack the floors at venues each night whether it’s for two-step moves, salsa or swing.
Seeing a movie is atypical in Austin. Combine with food or perhaps a hand-crafted cocktail that is big business in the city with several up-scale lounges with expert bartenders. Then perhaps some karaoke or dancing.
The artistic community in Austin is well-established and well respected. Here are the top places to visit: Blanton Museum of Fine Art; Mexican Art Museum; Long Center for the Performing Arts;
George Washington Carver Museum; The Contemporary Austin – The Jones Center; Austin Symphony, and Ballet Austin.
For those who enjoy history, join a Historic Walking Tour or visit the Texas State Capital; the Warehouse District; the Blanton Museum of Art; Bullock Texas State History Museum; LBJ Library & Museum; Texas Governor’s Mansion; the Austin History Center; Elisabet Ney Museum; French Legation Museum, or take an organised trip with Austin Detours BBQ Crawls
If you want to enjoy the outdoors, hike the Lady Bird lake, visit Barton Creek Greenbelt or sit and listen to Blues on the Green. Perhaps a visit to the bats on Congress Avenue Bridge appeals.
The Austin area also has a number of wineries that offer tours and tastings to the public. These include Becket Vineyards; Bell Mountain Vineyards; Chisholm Trail Winery; Fall Creek Vineyards; Flat Creek Estate Vineyard and Winery; Fredericksburg Winery; Grape Creek Vineyard; Spicewood Vineyards, and Stone House Vineyard.