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Whistler Says No To Snowmobiles At Winter X Games 2013

Published online: Feb 09, 2012 News
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By Killeen Gonzalez

Yahoo! Contributor Network

Since 2011, city officials from across the globe have been falling over themselves in an attempt to woo X Games officials to select their city as host sites for the 2013 X Games.

In late January 2012, the nine cities that were chosen as finalists were announced. Only one of the nine was vying for the Winter X Games. It was Whistler, British Columbia. Unfortunately, based on recent news headlines it appears that the bloom has come off the rose. You know how it is with courtship. Everything is perfect at first and then someone goes and leaves the cap off of the toothpaste. In the case of Whistler and the X Games organizers, the bone of contention is snowmobiles.

Here's the scoop:

About the Conflict

As Winter X Games fans can attest, snowmobiling is a source of major excitement and has become a big part of the annual competition's draw. At this year's competition in Aspen, millions of stoked fans watched as snowmobilers Heath Frisby took home Best Trick and Colton Moore won the freestyle finals.

Environmentalists in Whistler, however, do not share that excitement and have expressed concerns about the carbon footprint left behind by motorized recreational vehicles. The Whistler Olympic Park in Callaghan Valley, which was being eyeballed as a potential site for the snowmobiling events, is zoned as a non-motorized area and there are many in Whistler that would like to keep it that way.

About the Venue

The Whistler Olympic Park is a $119.7-million facility that was host to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. It is partially funded by the government and features an amazing ski trail system, a day lodge, and a trio of sports stadiums.

My Thoughts

I can appreciate the environmentalists' concerns, but wonder why the area officials, feeling that strongly about the issue, would have applied to be a host city in the first place. I understand that being chosen as an X Games city is an attractive proposition. It's a designation that comes with a multi-year contract, 80 million media impressions per event, and throngs of visitors carrying what are presumably cash-filled wallets. That's a lot of incentive for cash-strapped cities that are willing to make concessions.

Some folks in Whistler, however, don't appear to be ready to concede anytime soon. Where that leaves the 2013 X Games is anyone's guess. It's a big world out there, and I am sure that it will eventually find a host city.