For the first time in seven years, snowboarding phenom Shaun White did not take home the X Games gold for Super Pipe. The Flying Tomato decided to save his legs for the Olympics in a matter of weeks… and Danny Davis took home the gold. That was the last event for this winter’s X Games… and early signs are that it may have been successful
Editor's note: Below is a transcript of reporter Elise Thatcher's story.
[Sound of snowboarder landing on the ice in the SuperPipe, during men’s finals.]
Reporter: After a mind boggling number of tricks… about twenty feet above the enormous icy SuperPipe…Davis won first place.
Announcer: “And that means it’s Danny Davis, the gold medal winner…”
Shaun White’s absence opened up the field for newcomers and for longtime competitors like Davis who had always been overshadowed by White. Jacob Lyons came to the Games from Salida, and said he didn’t mind that White wasn’t competing Sunday night.
Jacob Lyons: “I loved it, it was awesome! Good fun! This is actually my first time coming here.”
Reporter: Winner Danny Davis now goes on to the Olympics in two weeks, and could prove to be stiff competition for Shaun White. Attendance was up for the X Games. ESPN announced that Saturday had set a one day record for the number of people visiting an X Games event. 48,000 fans watched the competitions. Justin "Buck" Erickson was a key person in moving them in and out of Buttermilk. He's with Aspen Skiing Company.
Justin "Buck" Erickson: "Controlled chaos. During the day what we try to do is space'em out, cause it's a trickle coming in. and then at the ends of the night, we try to stage busses so we can load two at a time to each destination. And get people home or to their vehicles as quickly as possible."
Reporter: Erickson helps with logistics at the winter X Games. He say usually about sixty percent of spectators go by bus, so early estimates are nearly twenty nine thousand people took public transportation on Saturday. Like previous X Games, Ski Co brought in twenty more shuttle busses. And they're from as far away as Texas... those are the red trolleys.
Erickson: "The major difference this year was planning for the concerts and changing some of the bus routes during the down period here at Buttermilk."
Reporter: Two concerts were held in Wagner Park in Aspen, and busses were there to bring spectators back to the X Games. The last time there were concerts in Wagner Park during the Games, the massive people-moving-effort didn't go as well with people walking along Highway 82 in the dark. This year, law enforcement said it was mostly smooth. Back at Buttermilk, at least one sponsor’s booth representative was happy with this year's event. Kim Egan is with Henkel, which makes adhesives and sealants. It's the parent company for LocTite.
Kim Egan: "We are here because a lot of athletes use our products on their snowmobiles and in their boards, to keep them from falling apart."
Reporter: Egan and her colleagues handed out samples of hard core glue during the X Games. She echoed what organizers said about there being more spectators this year.
Egan: "Out booth has been packed. This is our fourth year. I have to say this year's been one of the best so far."
Reporter: And there are five more Winter Games on the schedule for the coming years.