IRON RIVER - ESPN has axed Nick Baumgartner's event from the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo.
ESPN, creator of the winter competition, announced that two of the longest-running events have been eliminated from the 2013 schedule. Both ski and snowboard cross, as well as mono skier cross, will be eliminated.
"How lame is this?" Iron River's Baumgartner, a world-class competitor who won the 2011 Winter X Games snowboard cross title, wrote on his Facebook page. "Let's get us back to put on an awesome show."
Tim Reed, ESPN X Games senior director of content strategy, said these decisions "are never easy."
"There wasn't one single factor that led to this decision," Reed said. "It just comes down to filling the schedule with how much we believe we need to make the event enjoyable to the fans and deliver on what we need from a product standpoint."
The decision means that the costly X Course, widely touted as the best cross course in the world each year, will not be built for the first time in the event's history. Snowboarder cross is one of only three competitions that had made the schedule every year since the inaugural Winter X Games in 1997.
"It's a devastating blow to our sport and skiercross, too, because X Games has been our Super Bowl for years," six-time X Games snowboarder cross gold medalist Nate Holland told ESPN. "I have sponsors that put a value on X Games and the exposure I get there. Basically, my stock went down as soon as that news came out."
After establishing itself as an X Games staple, snowboard cross became an Olympic sport in 2006.
Snow cross athletes will now be forced focus their efforts on World Cup competitions as this season's races mark the beginning of qualification for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.
Giving some hope to athletes and fans of snow cross sports is the fact that two events that were eliminated at last year's winter X Games, snowmobile cross and speed and style, will return to the 2013 schedule.
"There's nothing to say we won't do X course next year," added Reed. "We believe in the sport, we love it, we've been doing it for a lot of years. Ultimately we just made the decision that we're going to focus on pipe, slope, big air, a full complement of snowmobiles and snowboard street."
Holland hopes his sport's fate mirrors that of SnoCross.
"I know it's a business decision," he said. "I remain optimistic that they'll repeal this decision in the years to come. I'm open to any suggestions. I don't want this to be the end. And I don't think it's over for us."
(skiracing.com and ESPN.com also contributed to this story)