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The Journal Gazette

Friday, February 01, 2013 6:35 pm

X Games permit to undergo thorough scrutiny

The Associated Press

The death of snowmobile rider Caleb Moore and another accident involving a driver-less snowmobile that careened into a fence and injured a spectator at the Winter X Games will trigger a more thorough review of the permit process for next year's event.

On Thursday, Moore died from injuries suffered when he flew off his snowmobile and it rolled over him while he was attempting a backflip.

Mike Kraemer, a planner for the department that handles special event permits in Aspen, said Friday that ESPN's permit will be reviewed before next year's Winter X Games, as it is every year.

Kraemer said public safety is the department's first priority, and though it doesn't regulate course design or the sport itself, that could be brought into the discussion during the permitting process.

The review was first reported by The Aspen Times.

The snowmobile that went into the crowd hit a young, male spectator who was attended to at the scene and wasn't taken to the hospital. The accident happened after a rider fell off his sled while trying a jump. The snowmobile landed upright with the throttle stuck open, which sent the machine into a fence.

"If there is a concern of a machine going off into the crowd, those are the types of discussions we'll have next year," Kraemer said. "We'll want to know, how can you mitigate for those types of actions?"

A review could look at the fencing used to surround the competition area, along with whether safety leashes are connected to the snowmobile throttles.

Moore's death was the first in the 18-year history of the Winter X Games.

On Thursday, ESPN released a statement saying it has always worked closely with athletes on safety issues. "Still, when the world's best compete at the highest level in any sport, risks remain," the statement said.