Every Friday in The Weekender we take a look at the best videos from the week that was—like Jeb Corliss wingsuiting over The Great Wall of China \—and give you a preview of some of the most important events in the world of action and outdoor sports coming up this weekend.
X Games Austin is On
In what has become an annual rite of passage for action sports athletes, X Games Austin officially got started Thursday night with Flat Track Racing (Jared Mees won the first gold medal of this year’s event). Plenty of other careers will be made over the long weekend as vert ramp kicks off tonight with both skate and BMX taking center stage. According to ESPN, the average age for the vert ramp skate winner has been above 25 since 2005 but that could change this weekend with three teenagers in the field of selected skaters. Wiley vets Bucky Lasek (43) and Pierre-Luc Gagnon (36) are the gold medal favorites.
Also a big draw on Friday will be Skateboard Big Air where Bob Burnquist will compete in his 25th summer X Games, the only athlete to compete in every single X Games since the franchise was established. The 39-year-old has 30 medals, the most in history. “I don’t know if I should celebrate or cry,” he said. “You start getting old and all your friends are gone.”
Everest Climbing Season Ends With Six Deaths
The tallest mountain in the world continues to be as deadly as ever. And at least part of the reason has to be the sheer numbers of climbers scaling the peak. Some 160 climbers reached the summit this season along with 240 Sherpas. When the body of Indian climber Goutam Ghosh was found on May 21, it marked six deaths this year on the mountain including three Indians, a Dutchman, an Australian woman and a Sherpa. The bodies of Ghosh and his climbing partner, Paresh Chandra Nath, had to be left on the mountain after Sherpas deemed it too dangerous to recover the lost mountaineers. Their guides said the Indians died because they did not listen to experts. "We are the people from the mountains. We know Everest. They just would not listen to us. We know when to move forward and when to stay put," said Lakhpa Tharke Sherpa, who accompanied the three men who he says suffered from energy loss and altitude sickness.
Tiny Target hit on the Great Wall of China
He dubbed himself the “Human Arrow,” for this particular project and the description fit to a tee. Last week, Jeb Corliss nailed a target—a banner strung from one point to another—on the Great Wall of China, dropping from an helicopter at 6,000 feet and traveling 120 mph. After dropping out of the helicopter, Corliss used his wingsuit to glide towards the banner. After cutting the target he had to clear the Great Wall and release his parachute just a 1,000 feet or so above the ground. The stunt actually had to be rescheduled after Corliss deemed his first attempt too dangerous due to high winds. “I’m not about doing death-defying stuff anymore,” Corliss told NBC News. “That’s not the point.” The crazy part of that statement is that the mundane to the 40-year-old aerialist is still pretty death-defying to the average human.
What’s On Tap
X Games Austin
ESPN, ABC | All Weekend, Check the Schedule
The world’s best action sports athletes have gathered in the Texas capital for the annual summer showcase that includes skateboarding, BMX and moto disciplines.
UCI Downhill Mountain Biking World Cup
RedBull.tv | Monday 9:30 a.m. ET
The Scottish Highlands will play host to the Fort William World Cup event, one of the toughest stops on the World Cup tour thanks to terrain, and the increment weather.
WorldSurfLeague.com | Saturday 3 p.m. ET
The World Surf League traditionally holds its “Dawn Patrol” show at 7am from wherever it is hosting, when the commissioner makes the call on whether to run the contest. This time its Fiji, starting Saturday afternoon in the U.S. and one of the most important contests of the year.