Dream come true : Calgary secures rights to host Winter X Games from 2020 to 2022

Dream come true : Calgary secures rights to host Winter X Games from 2020 to 2022
A rendering of what Stampede Park could look like if Calgary hosts the Winter X Games from 2020 to 2022. (Provided / City of Calgary) Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Calgary is stepping into the extreme sports arena with talks to host the Winter X Games through 2022.

The city has secured exclusive rights to host the event in 2020 through 2022, subject to securing corporate sponsorship.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi made the announcement alongside Provincial Minister of Culture and Tourism Ricardo Miranda and Cindy Ady, Tourism Calgary CEO.

“We’re excited to be taking this step towards hosting the first X Games on Canadian snow,” Nenshi said. “It’s about bringing Calgary to a world stage. The economic spinoffs are significant, and support out plans for tourism and economic development.”

The city, through Tourism Calgary, will be investing $1.8 million per year for three years to support the Winter X games. Miranda said deal is “years in the making” and the province has committed $13.5 million to hosting the event for the next three years.

“This would be a fantastic opportunity to show Alberta to the world, showcasing not only our amazing athlete and facilities, but our artists and culture as well,” he said.

The Stampede Grandstand would be transformed into a 14-storey jump for the competition and a rendering from Manifesto Sports Management shows a built-in stage for musical performances.

Nenshi said the Winter X Games will support 540 jobs and bring 75,000 spectators to Calgary each year the city hosts the competition, which will also feature concerts and special events.

The mayor said the city projects $75 million per year in economic activity.

Noah Bowman, an X Games silver and bronze medalist in ski superpipe, said his hometown is “the perfect place to host the X Games.”

“I grew up skiing WinSport and X Games was always the pinnacle of our sport. We didn’t have Olympic opportunities at that point either, and to have that potentially coming to Calgary would be a major dream come true,” Bowman said.

Cassie Sharpe, Olympic gold medalist and four-time X Games athlete, said the X Games “was the event that we all dreamed of going to — it still is for a lot of up-and-comers.”

“How big it is, how much fun it is, how much energy the crowds have — it’s just a super-fun event to be a part of and hang out and attend.”

The event has featured some of the most renowned athletes in extreme and action sports, including American Olympic Gold Medalist Shaun White and the late Caleb Moore.

Aspen’s Buttermilk Mountain in Colorado has been home to the X Games for more than a decade. The 2019 competition ran Jan. 24-27.

Ady said Tourism Calgary hopes to secure indefinite rights for the Winter X Games, saying competition could become an “anchor event” and make the Grandstand a destination in the winter season, not just during the Stampede.

“For three years, we get the games,” Ady said. “We want that forever.”

More to come…

A rendering of what Stampede Park could look like if Calgary hosts the Winter X Games from 2020 to 2022. City of Calgary
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