Winter X Games XXVII is an upcoming winter sports event from 27 to 29 January 2023 in Aspen, Colorado, United States. This is the 22nd consecutive Winter X Games held in Aspen. The events are to be broadcast on ESPN. Participating athletes compete in eight skiing events and eight snowboarding events.
X Games is back for its 22nd consecutive year at Buttermilk Ski Area starting Friday, with many of the world’s best skiers and snowboarders set to compete in halfpipe, slopestyle, big air, and knucklehuck over three days.
The big story this year is the new ownership, with MSP Sports Capital having purchased the majority stake in the franchise from ESPN. So far, the message from the new bosses has been a desire to return X Games to its glory days — welcome back, Selema Masekela — which is more than enough reason to be hyped about this year’s contests.
The first contest of X Games 2023 has one giant omission in Tahoe’s Jamie Anderson, the unquestioned GOAT of the discipline, who is sitting this one out due to her pregnancy. Her heir to the throne, New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, is back and the unquestioned favorite. Sadowski-Synnott has won slopestyle gold in Aspen twice — first in 2019 and again last year — on top of her big air gold from 2022. She’s also the reigning Olympic gold medalist in slopestyle and won the Laax Open over the weekend. Only 21, she’s the sport’s new star.
Men’s Halfpipe, 8:30 p.m. Friday
Projected winner: Ayumu Hirano
The entire Olympic podium from Beijing is here, including the champ, Japan’s Ayumu Hirano. Hirano, who won X Games Aspen gold in 2018, dazzled last February at the Winter Games, putting down arguably the best halfpipe run ever in finals — he did it twice, actually — to hold off Australia’s Scotty James and Swiss Jan Scherrer. James did edge Hirano to win X Games Aspen gold in 2022, but my money is on Hirano this time. The halfpipe belongs to the Japanese these days — half of the eight-man field on Friday comes from the country — and Hirano is their leader. The only American slated to compete this year is Telluride’s Lucas Foster, who was fifth last year.
Women’s Halfpipe, 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Projected winner: Xuetong Cai
There is no Chloe Kim this year, with the superstar sitting out. Her absence means the contest is again wide open, and any of the eight women could realistically win. The lone American in the field is California’s Maddie Mastro, who took silver here in 2021 and probably has the most upside, but I’m going with China’s Xuetong Cai. She’s a savvy veteran with three prior medals in Aspen, including silver in 2017. Although, last year’s runner-up is back, the timeless Spaniard Queralt Castellet, so it should be a close contest. Last year’s winner, Sena Tomita, is not slated to compete, although her sister, Ruki, is in the projected lineup.
Women’s Big Air, 6:15 p.m. Saturday
Projected winner: Zoi Sadowski-Synnott
Picking Sadowski-Synnott again may be boring and a bit cowardly, but she’s simply on another level, and I’m not much of a gambler. Austria’s Anna Gasser did beat the Kiwi to win Olympic gold in February, with Japan’s Kokomo Murase winning bronze, but I’m going with Sadowski-Synnott to get Gasser back at X Games. Zoi swept the two contests last year at Buttermilk. No reason she can’t do the same this weekend.
Men’s Big Air, 8 p.m. Saturday
Projected winner: Chris Corning
I’m trying to will this win into existence for Chris Corning, who is a Colorado native who even spent a few years training here in Aspen. He has immense big air talent but has struggled at X Games since his 2018 debut, for various reasons. His lone X Games medal is a bronze from Norway in 2018, while his best Aspen finish was fourth in 2021. Maybe it finally comes together for him? His competition includes the best the sport has, like superstar Mark McMorris of Canada and Marcus Kleveland of Norway, who pound-for-pound might be the best big air snowboarder ever. The name to watch is China’s Yiming Su, the shocking gold-medal winner from the Beijing Olympics last winter who is making his X Games debut.
Canada’s Mark McMorris catches his breath after a run during the men’s snowboard slopestyle finals at the U.S. Grand Prix and World Cup on Saturday, March 20, 2021, at Buttermilk Ski Area in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times