Park City advances in bid for Winter X Games
January 18, 2013
Park City on Thursday was named one of at least four places in North America that qualified to advance in the bidding process for the Winter X Games, putting the city in competition with communities across the continent.
The other three that ESPN named as qualifiers are:
ESPN said in a prepared statement that the list only includes places that chose to be identified. It is not known whether others places qualified to host the Winter X Games but did not want to be identified.
Aspen-Snowmass and the Lake Tahoe region have long been seen as key Park City competitors in the ski industry, and the Winter X Games have traditionally been held in the Aspen area.
The Park City Chamber/Bureau, which has organized Park City’s efforts, did not make a public statement after the qualifying cities were announced. ESPN prohibits the qualified cities from comparing themselves publicly with the other places that qualified.
Details of Park City’s bid have not been discussed publicly. It seems likely the upcoming talks about crafting the bid will involve the three mountain resorts and organizations representing interest groups like the lodging industry. It is not clear when details about the bid will be made public.
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The Winter X Games are a four-day event traditionally held in late January. This year’s Winter X Games in Aspen run from Jan. 24 until Jan. 27. Athletes compete in action sports like superpipe and slopestyle, and there is a contest known as big air. There are snowmobile events as well.
Park City and the others were required to submit a questionnaire to ESPN covering a series of topics, including listing some events the communities have hosted since 2000 and what sort of television coverage the events received.
Another section of the questionnaire asks for three preferences for dates when the Winter X Games could be held. The question about the preferences is critical for Park City. As they are scheduled now, the Winter X Games regularly overlap with the dates of the Sundance Film Festival, the largest event on Park City’s calendar.
The questionnaire offers months as options rather than specific dates. It seems almost certain that the Park City bid would not have listed January as its top preference given the conflict with Sundance. The questionnaire indicates the preferences are not binding but offer ESPN "some initial direction."
Park City and the others are vying to host the Winter X Games in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Official proposals, expected to be far more detailed than the questionnaires, must be submitted to ESPN by April 2. The network prior to February 2014 plans to name the city chosen as the host for 2015-2017.
Park City has a long history of international-level winter sports events, most notably the 2002 Winter Olympics. It has also hosted numerous World Cup competitions and the Freestyle World Championships.