Fans to return to X Games Aspen 2022 with required proof of COVID-19 vaccination |

Fans to return to X Games Aspen 2022 with required proof of COVID-19 vaccination

Event is scheduled for Jan. 21-23 at Buttermilk Ski Area

Austin Colbert
The Aspen Times
Media and athlete support stand in an otherwise empty spectator corral during the women’s ski big air final at the base of the course during the 2021 X Games Aspen at Buttermilk in January.
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Fans will return to X Games Aspen in 2022, ESPN announced Tuesday. After last year’s event was held for the first time without spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic, they’ll be allowed to return for January’s contests, although attendees will be required to wear a mask indoors when not eating or drinking, and will be required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for admittance.

“X Games Aspen 2022 will welcome spectators back to competition viewing and X Fest areas with proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, and masks must be worn in all indoor X Games event areas except when eating or drinking,” the news release said. “Fans 11 years old and under may attend without vaccination if accompanied by a vaccinated adult and must wear a form-fitting face mask at all times except when eating and drinking.”

The news release made clear that Buttermilk Ski Area, which is set to host X Games for the 21st straight year, will be open to regular skiing and snowboarding during X Games under Aspen Skiing Co. guidelines, and proof of vaccination won’t be required to access the mountain. Vaccines are only required for those wanting access to the competition viewing areas and X Fest areas.

X Games is scheduled for Jan. 21-23, and once again, it looks like it will be a slimmer version without any of the motorsports, although the Special Olympics Unified competition will return. The announced competitions include superpipe, slopestyle, big air and knuckle huck for both skiing and snowboarding.

The 14 disciplines between men and women will include 13.5 hours of live coverage on ESPN and ABC, with additional coverage found through ESPN’s social media platforms.

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ESPN has already announced an extensive list of invited athletes, including Aspen’s own Alex Ferreira, who won gold in halfpipe skiing in both 2019 and 2020. Plenty of other familiar superstars were listed as having been invited, including snowboard icon Shaun White, who hasn’t competed at X Games since 2017. He had intended to compete in 2021 but withdrew from the competition after hurting his knee during training.

Jamie Anderson holds her seventh gold medal in slopestyle after winning the 2021 women’s slopestyle final at X Games Aspen at Buttermilk on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021.
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Jamie Anderson, Henrik Harlaut, Scotty James, Gus Kenworthy, Chloe Kim and Mark McMorris are all among the A-list names on the invitation list so far. McMorris, the Canadian snowboarding superstar, was the biggest name to miss X Games 2021 after he tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the contests.

X Games Aspen will likely be the final competition for the athletes ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics, scheduled for Feb. 4-20 in Beijing. Unlike many of this year’s skiing and snowboarding competitions leading up to X Games, including Dew Tour at Copper Mountain in December, X Games is not an Olympic qualifier for U.S. athletes.

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