Photo Report | A Newby’s Trip to the Winter X Games | Presented by Shot Race Gear
By Billy Rainford
When the Snow Bike competition was announced for the 2017 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado, last fall, I knew I had to be there for this historic occasion. Not only was it going to involve 450 motocross bikes, but Canadian riders had been pioneering this new form of motocross/snowmobiling for the past few years and I knew we had a really good chance of doing really well!
The only question was, “How can I make this work?” I’m not sure if you know this, but Aspen, Colorado, is a pretty expensive place. And I don’t just mean, “Hey, did the price of milk just go up a couple cents?!” We’re talking ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’ levels of expensive here. I don’t have the kind of bank roll to spend 4 days having champagne wishes and caviar dreams in Aspen, that’s for sure! OK, so how was this going to work?
I took a look at the Monster Energy Supercross schedule and thought it would make sense to put just a few more miles on the old DMX Minivan and make a bit more of an adventure out of this.
I decided to head to San Diego and Anaheim for rounds 2 and 3 of the series and then hit the Winter X Games on the way back. It made perfect sense! I’d have my van/home with me and I could hit the practice tracks and ride my new Scott Speedster CX during the week for added site content. Done. I hit the road.
The purpose of this article isn’t to talk about the Supercross portion of the trip. I already did that in my photo reports from those a couple weeks back. The purpose of this article is to outline some of the things I saw at the X Games.
So, here are a bunch of photos from my first-ever experience at ‘Winter X.’ It was a blast but I have to admit I’m very glad to finally be home.
The night before I headed to Aspen, a snow storm rolled in while I was approaching from the west. I was supposed to test out the Timbersleds the next day, but I gave up driving 30kph at 4:30am and threw in the towel. This is the approach to Buttermilk Mountain.
Here’s a look at the base of the mountain that is where all the action was to take place for 4 days of EXTREEEEEME competition!
Jeep is one of the major sponsors. This was a pretty cool display.
The Media Center was a nice tent set up with a bunch of long tables and internet. Oh, and coffee all day long and catered lunch each day. They kept it open until 11pm each night so you could sit and work on your content. I never did make it into the hot tub…
The boarders and skier all grab lifts to the top of the run on the backs of snowmobiles that line up like cabs to pick them up.
That’s Ronnie Renner’s snow bike.
That would make a pretty sweet DMX race vehicle.
I walked over to the snowmobile pits and immediately found Canadian Andrew McLean working away as Team Manager of the Makita team.
He showed me how technical the data was that they use to tune the sleds. Nothing is left to chance!
That’s moto legend, Doug Henry, after his Adaptive Snow Bike race.
I was a little worried about this load until I realized it was just skids of Harley Davidson tuff blocks.
Doug in action.
#5 took the win.
He’s a Dylan Kaelin fan from way back in the amateur days.
Tucker Hibbert was tied for the record of 9 straight gold medals. He missed breaking that record this year, getting 4th.
Brock Hoyer was there watching the sledding action.
A qualifier blasts off.
Not something you automatically think about, but snow dust is a real problem at these things.
“Hey, I’m still talking to you!”
The final blasts off.
Winner winner chicken dinner!
I’m never typing that again.
Tim Tremblay took 5th and said the track was too difficult to pass on to make any moves.
Tim talks with the legend himself, Blair Morgan, after the race. There’s a good chance we’re going to see Tim racing the Rockstar MX Nationals this summer.
Stuck my camera out through the crowd and it got awkward…
Under the hood.
Interviewed Tim up in his race rig after the final.
Tim’s race sled.
Friday was all about the Snow Bike races! These are Cody Matechuk’s rides.
Kourtney Lloyd makes friends wherever she goes.
Jenni Hoyer on babysitting duty.
Doug rolls by on this really cool offroad chair.
Our buddy, #44 Nolan Heppner, had the speed to podium but not the luck.
Here he is chatting things over with Colton Haaker.
Lined up in order of timed qualifying.
Husky riders hamming it up.
Rod Matechuk with a last-minute hand guard swap.
All eyes were on Brock.
I wasn’t really sure how Ronnie Faisst would do in this event.
Cody warming up.
Nolan keeping calm before the race.
Josh Penner was there watching the action and then competing in the Snowmobile Freestyle event.
Cody greets the fans.
I took a walk around and checked out the vendors. This guys is a really good photographer and took a little time out to wander around and roll around on this thing.
It was impressive watching the rescue dogs do their thing.
If I didn’t have this sore AC joint in my shoulder, I was going to show them all how it’s done. “Still holding…..”
This little guy and his mom are from Australia. It was his first time holding a hockey stick. She didn’t think I was funny at all when I asked her what part of Whistler she was from.
The artwork was impressive.
The Shred Hate campaign is fighting bullying.
Carving out an iced shredder.
There were a ton of different languages being spoken by film crews from all over the world.
The crowd gathered for the Snow Bike final.
I’m still not sure what Brock’s concern was before the final. “Is it 1, 2, 3, and THEN go or…”
This isn’t about racing photos, but seeing this emotion is why we go to these things.
Nolan heading out.
Brock and Reagan Sieg make their exit.
And that will do it for my first trip to the Winter X Games. I just got an email inviting us to the Games in Norway. Nahhh!!! See you at the races…
Huge thanks to Shot Race Gear for making this one possible. Go check out their stuff!