Ever since the ESPN-created Winter X Games hit the scene in 1997, it has been a huge success. Appealing to mass audiences of eyewitnesses and television viewers alike, the X Games is now one of the biggest athletic competitions in the world.
Aspen was host to this year's games Thursday through Tuesday, showcasing the finest snowboarders, skiers and Moto X riders planet Earth has to offer. This year was the fourth consecutive year the X Games have called Aspen home.
The inaugural games in 1997 took place in Big Bear Lake, Calif., and included Ice Climbing, Shovel Racing, Snowboarding and Snow Mountain Bike Racing. More than 38,000 spectators watched the games in 70-degree weather, while the events were broadcast to 198 countries in 21 different languages.
In 1998, the games came to Crested Butte Mountain Resort, and 25,000 saw new events of Freeskiing, Snowmobile Snocross and Skiboarding added. Crested Butte played host again in 1999 and 30,000 came to watch.
The Winter X Games were then uprooted to Mount Snow, Vt., in 2000. More than 83,500 came to see the first installment of Snowboarding Superpipe. The competition remained in Vermont in 2001 before returning to Colorado.
This year's X Games Nine featured 260 athletes from all over North America, Europe and Asia. Nearly 20 of those hail from Colorado. The athletes train year round and have to qualify at the X Trials each year to make it to the games.