How to Watch Winter X Games Online from Anywhere

Ray Walsh

Ray Walsh

January 11, 2017

Winter X Games is back and snowsports fans are going mental. Sadly, ESPN controls the event so you will need to unblock it if you are outside the US. The good news is that with a VPN for sports you can. Phew!

VPNs allow anybody to quickly and easily overcome geo-restriction notices. That means streaming Winter X Games online is an option for everyone. Unfortunately, not every VPN will do. Some VPNs are highly insecure, which is bad. In addition, the vast majority of VPN services have slow servers, which will make watching Winter X Games laggy and full of buffering.

Which VPN is Best for Winter X Games?

To watch Winter X Games online, we recommend ExpressVPN. It has everything that you need to get the most out of this year’s competition. Firstly, it has awesome – lightning fast – servers in the US. Perfect to watch X Games live online streaming in HD. In addition, the firm provides outstanding OpenVPN encryption. OpenVPN is military-grade encryption that will let anybody unblock Winter X Games without fear of repercussions.

Remember: unblocking geo-restricted content with a VPN is technically in breach of copyright laws and you do so at your own risk.

Unblock Winter X Games

Despite that warning (which is a legal requirement), thousands upon thousands of people around the world use VPNs in this way. In addition to security and privacy, unblocking geo-restricted content is the main reason that people subscribe to VPNs.

That is why all of the VPNs in our 5 Best VPNs for Sports article have strong privacy policies. Furthermore, they provide strongly implemented OpenVPN encryption. Strong encryption means that your ISP and ESPN won’t know what you are doing. For a full Winter X Games VPN setup guide, look here.


Winter X Games 2017

Winter X Games is one of the most exciting extreme sports events on earth. Sadly, it is controlled by American sports broadcaster ESPN and is aired on ESPN, ESPN 2, and sister network ABC Sports. It is for that reason that you will need to unblock it.

Winter X Games first took place in 1997, when the four-day event attracted 38,000 spectators. Since then, the tournament has never looked back, finally being televised in 2002. At that time, nighttime events were added, bringing record crowds to Aspen’s Snowmass venue. The competition is due to carry on being held in Aspen, Colorado until at least 2019.

As the competition is privately owned and run by ESPN, Winter X Games competitors take part by invitation only. This has led to some pretty crazy decisions and criticisms of the competition (look at Shaun White’s absence below).

No Official Drug Testing

Amazingly, competitors at X Games do not have to undergo drug-testing. This is something that last year brought ESPN under criticism from the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA). However, ESPN was quick to dust off allegations of allowing cheating, by telling WADA that they were free to test anybody they wanted:

“At X Games Oslo, federations can operate as they have for 20 years at X Games events around the world and we are happy to provide accreditation and space for them to perform their normal ‘out of competition’ testing procedures. However, we are not prepared to change the X Games guidelines for participation at this time.”


Music Festival

Another enticing part of the Winter X Games is that it is also a music festival. This means that ticket holders get to see rock bands and DJs during their time at Winter X Games. This makes the whole competition an immersive experience designed to thrill audiences (including you lot at home).

This year’s competition is no different with Bassnectar, the Chainsmokers, and G-Eazy amongst the acts that will perform to packed crowds.

Who to Look out for

Nine-time SnoCross champion Tucker Hibbert will once again be participating in this year’s snowmobile event at the Winter X Games. He says that the competition is the “the ultimate adrenaline rush,” and no one could deny that his breakneck event is a high octane thrill.

In the Freestyle event, last year Joe Parsons won with a Parsby flip – a full backflip of the skimobile that he lands sitting facing backward. Just watching the video of him doing it makes your heart race.

Matt Ladley, last year’s Snowboard SuperPipe winner will be at it again this year. In the event, snowboarders must drop into a 567-foot-long hard-packed tunnel of snow and ride at high speed up the side to fly 30 feet in the air while performing tricks. On average, riders perform eight to ten tricks per run – with riders who squeeze more, bigger and better front and backside tricks into their run scoring higher.

Shaun White Back Again

Last year, Shaun White (who is now patron of his own competition Air + Style) fell out with ESPN due to a comment he made about the competition. White told the media that he felt Winter X Games was falling behind with the times, and that it needed to update the camera angles and methods used to capture the competitions:

“Hey, I think that maybe that some of the things that they’re doing are a little outdated. They haven’t changed the way they do things with the event, with the commentating, with the camera angles, all these things, in many years.”


After being uninvited by the organizers, White went on the record to explain that he only meant it as a constructive criticism:

“I guess they took offense to it and it was uninvited to the (Aspen) event, which is a bit unfortunate because I meant it as constructive criticism. Bottom of my heart, I do think they need to change the way they do things but here we are.”

Luckily for fans of snowboarding and Shaun White alike, this year the organizers and the superstar have ironed out their differences. So we can all relax, because the snowboarding legend from San Diego (who was born with a congenital heart defect) will once again take part in 2017. Shaun White holds the record for the most gold medals ever won at Winter X Games. He has 15 gold, 5 silver and 3 bronze – wowza!



The X Games description of a Four-Day Platinum pass really makes the event sink in! It costs $1,799 and is described on the website as follows:

“The Four-Day Platinum pass allows you access to the exclusive Platinum Tower at the base of the SuperPipe, with gourmet food, complimentary beer and wine, and the best views at X Games Aspen. Platinum Pass holders also receive a limited-edition merchandise item, preferred access to all musical performances, athlete meet & greets plus a private tour, a single day all-mountain lift pass, and photo on the SuperPipe with the course builder.”

The events that ticket holders (and ESPN viewers) will get to see are as follows:


Where to Watch Winter X Games Online

ESPN – US only (requires you to sign in with an existing US cable subscription).

ESPN 2 – US only (requires you to sign in with an existing US cable subscription).

ABC Sports – US only (requires you to sign in with an existing US cable subscription).

Remember: in order to watch ESPN you will also need an actual US TV provider (because ESPN is pay per view). The good news is that you can get a SlingTV monthly pass to watch ESPN. To do so, you will still need to connect to a US server, but once you are connected simply navigate to SlingTV and either get a subscription or make use of their 7-day free trial to watch Winer X Games for free (I will be).

If you have already used the 7-day free trial to watch something else using your VPN, be advised that Sling TV is still the cheapest way to subscribe to ESPN with your VPN (Sling Orange package one month is $20).

Unblock Winter X Games Online from Anywhere with VPN

In order to watch Winter X Games live on ESPN from outside the US, you are going to need a VPN service. To unblock Winter X Games we recommend ExpressVPN because it has reliable, fast, and secure servers in the US that are absolutely ideal. However, for people who like a few options, any of the VPN services on our 5 Best VPNs for Sports page will work beautifully.

To unblock ESPN and watch Winter X Games, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Choose a VPN service. To watch Winter X Games, we recommend ExpressVPN because it has servers located in the US that will allow you to unblock ESPN and ABC Sports. In addition, it provides outstanding connection speeds and reliability to watch the X Games in HD quality.
  2. Subscribe to the VPN service that you prefer.
  3. Install the VPN software on your PC, laptop, Mac, Android or iOS device. ExpressVPN allows you to install the VPN software on up to three devices, to watch Winter X Games on all three.
  4. Choose OpenVPN encryption from the menu (this encryption will keep you most secure).
  5. Connect to a VPN server in the US to stream ESPN Winter X Games.
  6. Navigate to the TV provider where you will watch ESPN or ABC Sports (we recommend SlingTV).

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