The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang have officially closed, and the United States didn’t come out on top as we have in the past. The U.S. scored nine gold medals, eight silver, and six bronze—ranking our country fourth in the medal standings. Of those nine golds, three were won by Coloradoans, but did you know Colorado handed out a gold medal of its own? A Utah hill climber recently walked away with X Games gold in a first-time competition you may not have even known about.
X Games Gold and the Hill Climber That Won It
He’s been riding since he was four years old, and he’s been competing in hill climbs since he was 10, which means 48-year-old Travis Whitlock has a lot of experience under his belt. The Springville, Utah resident recently returned from Aspen, Colorado, where this year’s round of the Winter X Games was held.
Whitlock competed in the Harley-Davidson Snow Hill Climb, a first-ever ice event for motorcycles in the X Games. He was the oldest competitor in the field, but he also possibly had more wins professionally than any of his other competitors. The gold medalist has won 14 national dirt hill climb championships and three world championships. So, when he came to Colorado to fight for the win, he had a lot of experience behind him, but there was a wildcard in the competition—ice.
The conditions provided by the Winter X Games can be considered tricky for motorcyclists. Snow and ice are a major factor in the race, which involves specialized equipment to get up the slick incline. This added an interesting twist to an already extreme sport. Hill Climbing in the dirt can lead to big falls. Whitlock counts himself lucky to have only sustained some broken bones in his career, when he has seen others sustain much worse.
The only question now is, will this snow hill climb pave the way for other winter motorcycle sports in X Games competition? Colorado is also the epicenter for motorsports like snow biking and motorcycle ice races. Could we see other new motorsports in Aspen next year? The attorneys who ride will keep watching to find out what developments unfold.