Event News

Get ready Aspen

X Games 2023 Preview

By: Matt Masson and Ethan Stone January 26, 2023

It’s that time of year again: the 2023 X Games kick off this weekend in Aspen, Colorado.

If you’re in Europe, that could mean your sleep schedule might be a bit disrupted over the weekend! Don’t worry, here on Downdays you’ll know when to wake up, what to watch, how to watch and who to watch Winter X Games XXVI. And if you pass out on the couch at two in the morning waiting for the pipe finals to start, don't sweat it—we'll have the contest results ready for you when you wake up.

X Games Aspen 2023 is the 22nd consecutive year that X will be held in Aspen. As has been the way since 2020, each event will have the Jam Session format, where the athletes go one after the other for a set amount of time from 20-40 minutes, depending on the event. But don’t worry if your favorite is last to drop, because every rider gets the same amount of runs, no matter when the clock stops.

How to watch: X Games Livestream

Unless you are in the US or are handy with a VPN client, you probably won’t be watching the coverage on ESPN/ABC. However, according to the X Games website, there will be free all-day livestreams available on YouTube and Twitch. 

The X Games get started on Friday, 27 January with Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle and Special Olympics Unified Skiing and Snowboarding (21:00-23:00 CET), but the first freeski event is:

Women’s Ski Big Air

When:  19:30–20:15 EST, Friday 27 January (01:30–02:45 CET on Saturday, 28 JanuarY)

Who’s in it?
Olivia Asselin (CAN)
Mathilde Gremaud (SUI)
Grace Henderson (USA)
Sarah Hoefflin (SUI)
Sandra Eie (NOR)
Tess Ledeux (FRA)
Kirsty Muir (GBR)
Megan Oldham (CAN)

The first freeski event of the weekend has an intriguing subplot: Tess Ledeux is defending her X Games Big Air title and one of her biggest rivals, Eileen Gu, dropped out of Big Air at the last minute. Johanne Killi also withdrew from the event and the two were replaced by Grace Henderson and Sandra Eie. Former X Games Champ, Mathilde Gremaud is joined by up-and-comers like Olivia Asselin and Kirsty Muir. Will the last-minute replacements shake things up?

Tess Ledeux competes in womens ski big air at the 2022 Winter X Games

Will Tess Ledeux be able to hold onto her Big Air title? Photo: Gabriel Christus/ESPN Images

Knuckle Huck

When: 21:30-22:10 EST, Friday 27 January (03:30-04:10 CET, Saturday 28 January)

Who’s in it?
Joona Kangas (FIN)
Alex Hackel (USA)
Alex Hall (USA)
Henrik Harlaut (SWE)
Colby Stevenson (USA)
Matej Švancer (AUT)
Jesper Tjäder (SWE)
Quinn Wolferman (USA)

Surely everyone’s favorite event, the Knuckle Huck is a bit more relaxed than the other disciplines. The lineup pits skiers who you don’t see so often in contests these days, like Alex Hackel and last year's Knuckle Huck champ Quinn Wolferman, against contest stalwarts like Alex Hall and the king of the X Games, Henrik Harlaut. We’re sure to see some new and innovative tricks here. Knuckle Huck is definitely one you want to stay up for! [in a late change, Joona Kangas has stepped in for Ferdi Dahl]

Quinn Wolferman competes in Knuckle Huck at the 2022 Winter X Games

Quan hucks the knuck. Photo: Eric Lars Bakke / ESPN Images

Men’s Ski Slopestyle

When: 12:30-13:50 EST (18:30-19:50 CET), Saturday 28 January

Who’s in it?
Fabian Bösch (SUI)
Ferdinand Dahl (NOR)
Mac Forehand (USA)
Alex Hall (USA)
Max Moffatt (CAN)
Andri Ragettli (SUI)
Birk Ruud (NOR)
Colby Stevenson (USA)
Edouard Therriault (CAN)
Jesper Tjäder (SWE)

Now we get to business! Defending champion Andri Ragettli is fresh off winning his home World Cup at the Laax Open, while Birk Ruud has been collecting medals like candy on the World Cup circuit this winter. Obviously, the level is so high at the X Games that everyone who drops could win it, and this one’s too close to call.

Christian Nummedal competes at the 2022 Winter X Games Men's Ski Slopestyle

Christian Nummedal styles out during last year´s men´s slopestyle. Photo: Erik Lars Bakke/ESPN Images

Women’s Ski SuperPipe

When: 19:00-20:00 EST, Saturday 28 January (01:00-02:00 CET, Sunday 29 January)

Who's in it?

Zoe Atkin (GBR)
Hanna Faulhaber (USA)
Amy Fraser (CAN)
Dillan Glennie (CAN)
Eileen Gu (CHN)
Rachael Karker (CAN)
Brita Sigourney (USA)
Kelly Sildaru (EST)

Can anyone stop Eileen Gu? The reigning Olympic champion sets such a high bar that it’s hard see past the Chinese-American superstar. Still, she'll have to duke it out with last year's X Games champ Kelly Sildaru, as well the amplitude-minded American Hannah Faulhaber and a pack of hungry Canadians.

Women’s Ski Slopestyle

When: 13:00-14:00 EST (19:00-20:00 CET), Sunday 29 January

Who's in it?

Mathilde Gremaud (SUI)
Eileen Gu (CHN)
Sarah Hoefflin (SUI)
Johanne Killi (NOR)
Tess Ledeux (FRA)
Megan Oldham (CAN)
Kelly Sildaru (EST)
Maggie Voisin (USA)

Tess Ledeux will try to defend her slopestyle title in what’s sure to be a hotly contested event. Johanne Killi is fresh off a win at the Laax Open, Eileen Gu and Kelly Sildaru are both strong contenders, and you should never count out the Swiss one-two punch of Sarah Hoefflin and Mathilde Gremaud.

Mathilde Gremaud competes in slopestyle at the 2022 Winter X Games

Mathilde Gremaud in action on the slopestyle course. Photo: Gabriel Christus/ESPN Images

Men’s Ski Big Air

When: 19:15–20:15 EST, Sunday 29 January (01:15–02:15 CET, Monday 20 January)

Who's in it?

Antoine Adelisse (FRA)
Mac Forehand (USA)
Alex Hall (USA)
Teal Harle (CAN)
Troy Podmilsak (USA)
Birk Ruud (NOR)
Matej Svancer (AUT)
Edouard Therriault (CAN)

One question on everyone’s lips: Will Matej Švancer get justice for last year’s Big Air debacle? His two 1980s were apparently “too similar” to count as separate tricks, so the gold went to Alex Hall instead. On top of that story, Birk Ruud is an obvious medal threat and currently the man to beat in any Big Air he enters.

Matej Svancer competes at the 2022 Winter X Games Big Air

Will Matej find redemption at this year´s X? Time will tell. Photo: Joshua R. Gateley/ESPN Images

Men’s Ski Superpipe

When: 20:30-21:30 EST, Sunday 29 January (02:30-03:30 CET, Monday 30 January)

Who's in it?

Aaron Blunck (USA)
Noah Bowman (CAN)
Alex Ferreira (USA)
Birk Irving (USA)
Brendan Mackay (CAN)
Jon Sallinen (FIN)
David Wise (USA)
Simon D’Artois (CAN)

Nico Porteous isn’t competing at X this year due to injury, which must be some relief to the other competitors after the Kiwi clinched last year's gold medal with a clutch last-minute performance. This year the field appears more even, with a host of veterans looking to stave off up-and-comer Jon Sallinen, who just won a World Cup event in Calgary last week.

David Wise will make his ten thousandth X Games appearance this weekend. At least, that´s what it feels like. Photo: Joshua R. Gately/ESPN Images

Let's keep our fingers crossed for a great X Games this year without any of the controversy of years past! But if it's controversy you're looking for, make sure to read our editor's hot take on the jam format judging system.