BOISE, Idaho - The Road to the X Games kicked off today with some of the best extreme athletes showing off their skills at Rhodes Skate Park in Boise.
This year's event is even bigger than last year's, leaving the athletes to have to up their game. Many came from all over the world to compete.
"I love skateboarding because of the freedom and going fast and being me you know," said Yndiara Asp, a Brazilian athlete in town for the event.
Asp made the trip to Boise from Brazil and, like many of the competitors vying for a trip to Minnesota for the X Games, she came away impressed with Rhodes Skate Park, even with its challenges.
"This skate park is so sick. It is one of the best skate parks in the world, but the part we have to skate is a little bit hard to make a line, you know," she said.
The City of Boise has gone to great lengths to make this year's event even more of a family-friendly event. They've added a fun zone, doubled the number of vendors and even added a stage for music. It's all in an effort to turn the X Games qualifier into a festival.
"We wanted to create an opportunity for people to come down and really just enjoy the atmosphere in addition to the competition because the competition is absolutely awesome. These are the best BMX riders and skateboarders in the world," said Doug Holloway, director for Boise Parks and Recreation.
The Women's competition features skaters from Japan, Australia and Brazil.
"Yeah, it's far, but I love to travel to skate," Asp said. "Skateboarding is the thing I most like to do in life. That's like a great opportunity to travel the world and meet new people, meet new places, so it is so sick to come to Boise."
The Brazilian skater became one of the many athletes who advanced to Saturday's final round of competition. The opening ceremony begins at 11:30 a.m. at Rhodes Skate Park.
Traffic through downtown is going to be a nightmare in certain places, worth avoiding for anyone not hoping to end up at Rhodes or Pridefest. The area around Rhodes Skate Park will be blocked off, with 15th and 16th streets closed between River and Grove. Parts of Front and Grand streets are also shut down for the event. Free parking is available at Ann Morrison Park with a shuttle service every 15 minutes to-and-from the park.