After the horrific crash that killed Caleb Moore on Jan. 24 at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado, ESPN vowed to conduct a full review of the snowmobile-freestyle event to determine how to make it safer. The network controls and operates the X Games and its satellite events worldwide, and so far it has been true to its word. The organizers of X Games Tignes, the second of six X Games competitions this year, announced Tuesday that they had canceled a snowmobile freestyle exhibition—which in practice means doing multiple backflips on a snowmobile across 30-foot jumps over the course of 75 seconds—because ESPN has not completed its investigation.
The decision is a commendable step by ESPN, but it's not yet enough. The Worldwide Leader in Sports, a network that is majority owned by The Walt Disney Co., should go further and permanently ban the snowmobile freestyle event and its sister event, snowmobile best trick (where you only do one jump but it has to be even bigger and more dangerous), from the X Games. Because unlike any other event—even ones like snowmobile racing or motorcycle freestyle competition in the Summer X Games—snowmobile flipping carries an inherent high risk of serious injury or death that cannot be fixed with a few tweaks to the rules.