ICYMI: The Week on Front Row

The Superpipe at X Games Tignes 2013 (Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)
The Superpipe at night, part of the final destination for ESPN employees as they arrived at X Games in Tignes, France.
(Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

For the second stop on X Games’ 2013 global expansion – a six-event schedule that began in Aspen this past January and will conclude in Los Angeles in August – ESPN colleagues working the event find themselves in the southeast corner of France for X Games Tignes.

While they discover the mountainside scenery to be absolutely breathtaking, the intrepid souls also learn that jet lag can be a very real thing! A few of our co-workers kept travel logs for our internal website, In the Know (ITK). Here, Front Row is proud to share a sampling of those diaries that help represent the incredible dedication and devotion it takes to be part of the X team.

Barb Blake (Director of Photo Operations, Communications)- Traveling from Connecticut – Estimated one-way travel time: 19 hours:
2 p.m. – Depart NYC
3:45 p.m. – Long-term parking; escort my two suitcases and backpack to monorail, Terminal 4. Note to self: I parked in A4.
4:15 p.m. – Check in; Express lane; through security in 15 minutes.
5:15 p.m. – Board, sit through 50 minute delay; sleep for two hours
5:55 a.m. – Arrive in Amsterdam; hustle through customs and security, board plane with ten minutes to spare.
8:35 a.m. – Arrive in Geneva; re-unite with luggage; await shuttle
11:30 a.m. – Depart on shuttle arrives; drive is filled with switchbacks on the side of a mountain – not conducive for sleeping, especially at high speeds
2 p.m. – Arrive at L’Ecrin hotel in Tignes; quick nap; credential pick-up and I am ready to start working.

Grace Coryell (Event Publicity Coordinator, Communications) – Traveling from California – Estimated one-way travel time: 23 hours: Traveling to Tignes is no easy task if you work in the LA Office. In my case, the trip lasted almost a full day. My journey began at 5:30 a.m. PT on Friday with a traffic-free drive to LAX. Then I hopped a plane with fellow LA employees Jason Krutzsch, Jennifer Kalban, Alyssa Roenigk, Kim Stravers, Ryan Garfat and Melissa Larsen to Washington, D.C.

After five hours and a much-needed tortilla at IAD, we boarded our next flight to Geneva. Eight hours, three movies and a breakfast croissant later we landed in Switzerland at 6 a.m. Saturday morning, where we met up with the 50 other ESPN employees waiting for the shuttle – the four hour variety – to Tignes.

Paul Melvin (Director of Communications Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA)- Traveling from London – Estimated one-way travel time: 2 hours:
. . . (T)he day starts with a 7 a.m. wake-up because I still have to finish packing. I just got back from some other business travel, with only a day in between. So Sunday was “unpack,” Monday was “office, laundry and dinner with my wife,” and Tuesday morning was “re-pack.” A taxi to the airport arrives at 8:30 a.m., and I’m at Heathrow by 9:05 a.m. . . Check-in is smooth, security lines are short and I’m in a line for coffee by 9:40 a.m.

. . . a bit of work while I wait, and I am on my flight by 10:40am. The flight itself is quick and we touch down in Geneva at 1:45 p.m. local time – losing an hour along the way. Next is moving through customs. . . then looking for the driver of our transfer shuttle for the three hour drive from Geneva to Tignes. . . I meet the others that I will be riding up to Tignes with – including Real Ski Backcountry competitor (and eventual Silver Medalist) Sean Pettit and X Games Tignes forerunner (the kids that slide down the Super Pipe to clear any loose snow or ice), Aspen Spora and his mom. We are on our way.

The drive is beautiful, through small French towns, past lakes, up gorgeous valleys and finally the steep, winding road from the valley up through the dramatic, jagged alps to the mountain town of Tignes, with the X Games Super Pipe glowing on the mountainside.

ICYMI: Highlights from the past week on Front Row

• The YouTube sensation “Kid President” filled out his ESPN.com Tournament Challenge bracket with SportsCenter’s Robert Flores. ESPN’s consumer marketing manager Katherine Boidy discussed this year’s record-setting Tournament Challenge.

• ESPN features unit manager Denny Wolfe joined Andy Katz on a trip to the White House for President Barack Obama’s annual bracket completion. Wolfe shared details on the experience.

• ESPN Deportes #Redes host Carolina Guillén discussed her favorite parts of Twitter and how she uses it in both her work and her private life.

• With UNITE’s “This is Madness: The Star Wars Character Tournament” underway, hosts Danny Kanell, Reese Waters, Marianela Pereyra and DJ Rob Swift shared their connection to “Star Wars” and their expert predictions on the winner in the galaxy’s ultimate March bracket.

Row of Four
Our favorites from across ESPN over the past week

• Golfer Arnold Palmer prepares his namesake beverage for ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

• espnW’s Katy Fagan looks at Baylor star Brittney Griner’s four years in college basketball.

Rick Reilly: For one gambling addict, March Madness fueled a sickness that almost ruined him.

• Enjoy an array of photos in this gallery from ESPN Images.

Elisabeth Carpino of ITK contributed to this post. Special thanks to Paul, Grace and Barb for sharing their travel diaries – and for all the tremendous work by the X Games crew.

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