We are at a weird time in the world of sports, and not just because of the pandemic. Sure, we want things to return to normal, so that people can do things like attend sporting events in person. Bonus points if you are in good company—family, friends, coworkers—and are enjoying a bag of popcorn or peanuts. Hot dogs and beer are also nice things.
But we’re also in the doldrums of winter. We’re also not allowed to congregate at public events. It’s like being doubly stuck in some situation that feels like it will never end.
To say that some of us feel bored would be the understatement of all understatements.
But there is something interesting coming up that might provide a useful diversion as we wait for shots in our arms and the virus to recede to more manageable numbers.
It’s the X Games, which will take place in Aspen the last weekend of January. For those of us hungry for something—anything!—new to focus on, there is lots on offer in the way of extreme sports at this unique event.
One X Games event to know about is something called knuckle huck.
Knuckle huck is one of those awesome things that probably happened by accident while snowboarders were messing around but is now a regular event at this year’s X Games. It must be seen to be fully understood, but first picture a snowboarder heading for a giant jump that launches them high into the air, where they perform any number of tricks before landing on a steep slope. Well, between the jump and the landing is an area called the knuckle. It’s sort of like a mild bump (after the jump) right before the slope becomes very steep.
In this event, instead of going off the main jump, snowboarders and skiers go around the jump and launch off the “knuckle”. They don’t get nearly as high in the air as going off the jump, but that doesn’t stop them from performing a panoply of airborne tricks and maneuvers. It almost feels like what you might see a professional snowboarder or skier do if they were alongside of you at a resort and not in a competition. See a little rise that you can catch air off? Use it to perform a series of tricks! That’s the heart of what knuckle huck looks and feels like for fans.
The other major event that is highly popular with powder hounds and adrenaline junkies is the superpipe. The superpipe is basically the halfpipe event, though the size of the structures can make the halfpipes of yesteryear feel downright quaint. The current superpipes in use at the X Games are so large and expensive to build and to maintain that only a handful exist in the entire world. Picture a halfpipe wide enough to put several lanes of traffic down the center of it. Picture sides so high and steep there could be mountain climbers rappelling down them. And then picture skiers and snowboarders talented and courageous enough to push their bodies to the limits while riding them. That’s the nature of the superpipe.
Finally, the X Games will feature the ever-popular slopestyle event. Slopestyle is like a skateboard park with lots of different features, all built onto the mountain. There are jumps, rails, and other surfaces, which give both skiers and snowboarders an opportunity to put together complicated routines to showcase their skills.
So if you’re looking for the ultimate diversion as you wait for the time to pass, consider checking out people flying through the air at high rates of speed. If nothing else, you can live vicariously through their pursuits.