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
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
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.