Whistler Pledging More Than Double Aspen's Contributions To Bring X Games To Town
Whistler, British Columbia, has "upped the ante to entice the X Games north, pledging more than double what Aspen has contributed from the public purse for the past nine years," according to Alison Taylor of PIQUE NEWSMAGAZINE. The Whistler town council "unanimously approved a three-year commitment of $250,000 last week to the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), the organization designed to bring ESPN’s X Games to Whistler." The city's bid is "not to take the X Games from Aspen, but rather to host a spin-off as ESPN expands the X Games globally and seeks to put action sports on the map year round." Whistler must now "wait for a decision from ESPN, due in April, about whether its bid is successful or not." The funding from the Resort Municipality of Whistler is two-and-a-half times more than what Aspen, which has hosted the Winter X Games since '02, "has given to X Games organizers in the past." Aspen Finance Dir Don Taylor "confirmed the city has given Aspen Skiing Co. $100,000 annually since 2004 as part of the incentive package to host the X Games." Aspen Skiing Co. Senior VP/Mountain Division David Perry "confirmed that in addition to the $100,000 from Aspen, there has been an $85,000 contribution from Snowmass Tourism and a $50,000 contribution from the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority." But Perry said that these are "different times now" as Aspen works to keep the X Games. He said, "ESPN, in going out for international bids, (has) been asking for more than they’ve had in the past." Taylor noted as of right now there is "no contract in place" for the '13 Winter X Games. Whistler Council member Jayson Faulkner said that if Whistler wins the bid it "could take the X Games to a whole new level." Whistler has "pitched its bid as the Whistler X Fest -- taking the sporting events of the X Games and combining them with the cultural and festival components of the resort’s Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival." The festival would continue to "run over 10 days, while the X Games component would likely be four days" (PIQUE NEWSMAGAZINE, 2/9 issue).