The Winter X-Games - A Family Event?
X-Games started out relatively small, an invention of ESPN/ABC Sports to generate
some excitement among alternative sports fanatics. They soon proved so successful
that a winter version was born. This season, as the Winter X-Games moves into
its second year at Mount Snow, Vermont, the event has grown into a phenomenon all
its own. Dozens of competitions in many sports - from skiing and snowboarding
to snow-biking and snowmobiling - will attract hundreds of competitors. And, the
entire thing will be seen by millions of television viewers on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2.
Since the Games are aimed
at the "alternative' sports culture, and since they draw immense crowds, a parent
will naturally ask, "Is this something for me to bring my kids to?"
In a word - yes.
"It's crowded, but it's
real conducive to kids," comments Mt. Snow local, Nancy Pierpont, mother of Noah,
six, and Simon, age five. "There are lots of pros around, and the kids have easy
access to the pros and all the venues. The kids love it."
Indeed, Noah Pierpont will
be an X-Games participant this year. He'll be driving a snowmobile in a pre-Games
exhibition event specifically designed for children.
"The idea is to get more
kids involved in the sport," his mom explains. "The pros work with the kids -
get them suited up in all the gear and attire, show them how to ride and how to
drive the course. They work on the sled together with their own pit crew, do a
practice run on the course, hang out in the pits, do the race and have an awards
ceremony. But, primarily, the pros teach the kids safety."
Minimum age for this event
is six, so little bro Simon can't drive. He will be part of the pit crew, however.
As to bringing young kids
to the Games as spectators, Nancy's only caution is to remember to dress them
Mindel, a sixteen year-old local, recommends taking little kids up the course
to watch events. "It's better to go up on the course to watch. When we were at
bottom of the big air contest, there was a huge mass of people - a lot of them
teens and people in their twenties - so it can be kind of hard to see," Will explains.
"But, there are tons of places on the mountain to stand by the courses that aren't
crowded. It's more relaxed to watch up on the course."
Among the cooler aspects
of the Games, Will says, is having the Mount Snow base area crammed with tents set
up by the various equipment and sponsoring companies. "You can get lots of free
posters, stickers and products. But, you have to expect it's going to be crowded,"
he says, noting that he'd never seen the parking lots so full.
And, Will, points out,
if you don't want to ski or ride, the whole experience is free. "You can just
stand at bottom without buying a lift ticket," he says. "That's a real nice thing
about it - it doesn't have to cost money." Spoken like a true teenager.
Both teen and mom agree
that the X-Games has been terrific for Mount Snow. "It's had great meaning for the
community," Nancy Pierpont muses. "It brings a lot of people into the valley,
and the hotels, restaurants and inns are full. The athletes are always talking
to the kids about safety, and learning their skills before they try tricks. It's
definitely the place to be. We wouldn't miss it for anything."
"Anybody who can go, should
go," says Will. "It's a good time. There are lots of extra things happening -
parties, bands and stuff - that normally doesn't happen here. It's a great time
The X-Games are staged
from February 1-4.
For more info on the Xgames
visit their website here .
For more info on Mount
Snow visit the KidzResort review