Officials at ESPN made official yesterday what had been rumored in snowmobile racing circles for months now: Snocross racing is out as an event at the custom, made-for-TV X Games Aspen festivities this coming winter.
There will be two snowmobiling events, however, and two snow bike events at the games, which have hosted snowmobiles as a part of their event for the past 20 years — starting with snocross at the 1998 games in Crested Butte, Colorado, back when it was referred to as Winter X Games.
The writing seemed to be on the wall for snocross racing — the event was getting less television coverage in recent years and last year snocross really seemed like a low priority. The track was very small and completely subpar, and the race was only streamed live, with little mention of it on TV when Petter Narsa earned the gold medal. Snocross has been raced at 19 of the past 20 events — it was not included in 2012.
There will still be snowmobiles at the event — and not just the ones carrying snowboarders and skiers to the top of the hill for another run. Snowmobile Freestyle returns for another year, and the mixed Snowmobile Speed & Style event, which combined freestyle scores and times run on a mini snocross course, is also back. Those two events will be it for sleds, but snow bikes are back and jump from one to two events.
Snow BikeCross returns for a second run — Brock Hoyer won gold at Aspen last year — and Snow Bike Best Trick has been added.
The event will be January 25-28, 2018, at Aspen Snowmass. As has been the case in recent years, the X Games folks appear to be hyping their musical lineup as much as their sports.
So far, the only invited snowmobile athletes invited are Levi LaVallee, Colten Moore and Joe Parsons, while Hoyer, Colton Haaker and Cody Matechuk are the lone three announced so far for SnowBike Cross. No names have been released for Speed & Style or Snow Bike Freestyle.
For the record, here are your X Games snocross gold medal winners over the years, by our recollection:
Tucker Hibbert (10): 2000, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Blair Morgan (5): 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006
Toni Haikonen (1): 1998
Chris Vincent (1): 1999
Michael Island (1): 2004
Petter Narsa (1): 2017