What do you do when you already have a good amount of golds in your pocket, your wedding is covered by Vogue Italy, and you are one of the most successful action sports athletes of all time? Invest in X Games of course. Australian super competitor Scotty James sat down with us a few weeks ago before heading back home to watch the Women’s World Cup in person to talk about the whirlwind of the past two years, Olympic judging drama, investing in the iconic action sports event, and more. A very long overdue interview with such a big name in the sport, enjoy a quick chat with Scotty below. 

On the way to X Games ’23 gold. First hit in Aspen. p: Clavin

How you doing?

I’m doing good.

What are you doing in L.A.?

So I’m here, just doing some stuff with Red Bull, using the HPC, and then I’m gonna go down to summer X this weekend in Ventura, should be cool it’s right on the water and fly back to Australia on Friday night.

How was the wedding? 

We had a great time. Chloe and I love Italy, so it was awesome to have that as the place with family and friends.

Be honest, you were just scouting where the pipe is going to go when the Winter Olympics are in Italy in 2026. What would mean more in Italy, getting gold or the fact that you were married there?
Getting married, haha.

So how did it make you feel to finally break the news of you investing in X Games?
I’m excited. It’s a dream come true, honestly. It’s a cliche thing to say, but I mean it in the most genuine way. I guess first and foremost, for me, is still to compete and I have no intention of stopping. It’s been really cool to be a rider and continue to be a rider in the X Games. The opportunity just came about with the MSP Sports Capital guys who acquired the business almost 12 months ago now, I got an opportunity to invest and be in an advisory position. Obviously early days, but it’s been really fun. I feel like I have the ability to help from the snowboard community perspective and to add value from the athlete’s perspective… and not just with the current events like halfpipe, slopestyle and big air. My vision is that there is all the opportunity in the world for X Games to become a tour. That was a really exciting element that I’d love to explore. The best thing I’ve seen in my journey of snowboarding so far was TTR World Snowboard Tour. They had amazing events around the world.


So the potential tour rumors are true?

I think, you know, there’s elements of bringing back that tour aspect. It becomes a league, maybe encompassing all the events of the different aspects of snowboarding. It’s the mountains, it’s the streets, it’s everything. I want to spend more time to understand that. So that’s kind of where it all came about, and obviously my passion for snowboarding and the industry, as you know. And I really want to see it prosper into what we all know it can.

You’re 29 years old, right? Or are you 30 yet?
Yeah, 29.

Is this your first foray into investing?

No, so I’ve done some investing now the past few years into some venture capital funds and done some direct investments into early-stage tech startups.

He has the same number of letters in his name as another famous James in sports. p: Clavin

Any big name stuff that we would know? 

The majority are still active at the moment, nothing necessarily that you’d be like, “Oh yeah, I used that right now.”

Is that what you have done with all of your winnings and sponsorship money?

Yeah, I’ve always had a really keen interest in learning and understanding the investment space. I learned, like most athletes, when you start to make some money, it’s straight away about investing in property, which is very smart, and that’s what my parents taught me. And then as I’ve evolved over time, and I’ve been fortunate enough to do well in events, I’ve been very engaged in learning more about it.

What was your first investment?

First investment I ever made, actually sadly, it just came to an end…but it was Buzzer. It was basically a sports streaming platform that was kind of disruptive, kind of the like old iTunes. You know how if you didn’t want the whole album, you could get that one song for 99 cents? It was that for sports. Instead of subscribing to a mainstream sports outlet, you would just pay 99 cents to get your favorite game. They would do partnerships with like NBA, MLB, golf, and try and bring on more viewership.

There’s been ones that have gone well as well, but that’s my first one. I think why I got so excited about this one, obviously it’s my life, I’ve spent so much time within the X Games world and action sport. It’s an opportunity for me to learn and understand a business of this scale and how it runs and operates, as well as trying to add value from the athlete’s perspective. From a business standpoint, do I have all the answers? No, I’ve never been a part of something of this capacity, but will try and add value where I can.

Yeah, it was a pretty big rumor that the new ownership group is trying to put a lot of juice back into X Games. And obviously, I’m guessing then that you have a lot of faith in the new owners?

Definitely. I’ve got a lot of faith in them. What I have said to them from the start is that X Games is X Games because of the athletes. The athletes are pivotal. They are the foundation of it all. It is so important that you have input from us, from course building to everything. I mean, it’s massively important. I’m definitely driving that home and they seem super receptive and want to hear our opinions.

How did you get to know the new crew?

I actually met them through the F1 World. MSP Sports Capital invest in sport. They’re invested in F1, in soccer leagues…they really enjoy the sports space. 

You going to bring a type of that F1: Drive To Survive show into the snowboarding world?

Already working at it.

What percentage, technically, do you own of X Games? Is that a thing? Can I ask that?
Haha. It is, but I mean, with any investment, I would never disclose that. So it’s not something that I would, haha.

Fair, I normally just ask how people’s winters are. What would you say to anyone that’s saying your investment about a conflict of interest?

I’m really happy, actually, that we’re talking about it, because it’s definitely ran across my mind more so than anything. If I’m honest, I think that we’ve always had an input to some degree on events; just because I’m invested in X Games doesn’t mean they are going to build the events out the way that I would like them so I could win. I would never do that. It’s more about bringing what everyone thinks to the table. Should we change the formats? That is not my call. My position is putting the question out to all the riders, and the people that are actually competing and bringing us together to answer these questions in ways it hasn’t happened previously. That’s not why I did it. I’m doing it because I want to make an impact in a positive way.

You ever think about just quitting on the competitive front? I mean, you’ve already won a good amount of medals at X [editor’s note: five golds in Aspen alone].
No, can’t do that. I’m still a jock, Mark, let’s be honest. I just love to win. That’s it, man. That’s life, hahaha.

In what other instances are there basically player owners? Inside snowboarding, there is Travis Rice, who has won the event he partially owns. Shaun White bought Air + Style.
Yeah, but Shaun didn’t compete. There are a few tours, like there’s TGL, the golf tour, owned by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy–players owning the tour that they’re starting. So it’s starting to happen a little bit more. But yeah, I mean, honestly for me, I’ve tried to just do everything on my snowboard. Do it by action, and this will be the same. I’m going out and putting myself out there and saying I want athletes to be first, then I’m also putting my ass on the line, too. I want it to be the athletes event. I want to be the enabler of that.

So you’re not going to ban triple Corks in X Games until you can land them and win yourself?
Haha, I’ve started working on them! You know, it’s scary stuff. But yeah, no banning of the triple corks.

Scotty James post-Olympic final. p: Clavin

Random one, but never asked you after all the crazy judging stuff in Beijing during finals: Where you happy with silver back in 2022? What was your view on Ayumu’s first triple run that lead to all the drama?
Yeah of course, I find joy on executing my vision on the day. And Ayumu was flawless. I mean, I walked away and said, Damn, I was so close. But I got another go-round in me. As far as the first run, my strength is the switch and grab selection…and complete honesty, I saw the run that he beat me–and he beat me. I didn’t look back at the other one because it didn’t matter.

Alright, back to conflict of interest.
Just as far as a conflict of interest, people putting an asterisk next to it or whatever if I win…for me personally, it almost makes me have to go ten times harder because if I win, I need to REALLY win. That’s kind of how I’m taking it. It’s almost a disadvantage, because now, I’m going to be so much more critically looked at. I’m gonna have to go higher. I’m gonna have to do better tricks. I’m gonna have to bring more elements. I’ll be looked at now with an even finer-tooth comb. I’m going to have to do triples, I’m going to do all these things which I love to do. So it’s almost added an element of motivation for me.

Back in black. p: Clavin

Obviously you can’t buy a metal.

Of course not, and it’s on the judges too. It’s unfair to say to them that I won because of that. At the end of the day, I’m not gonna be in that booth; I’m just gonna riding like I would any other year. The only thing that’s different is hopefully we’re only riding stuff that we absolutely love. The slope guys get courses that they are stoked with. They get big air jumps they love. Let’s get street back in. We should be doing a street event. You know, let’s speak to the big mountain guys. Like, should we be incorporating the big mountain element of X Games again? We can get hung up on, as you said, buying a gold, but that’s not the case.

You saw a financial opportunity to obviously benefit you and you can give back and elevate the event. Would you say there was a need for this?

I think there was a need for it. I definitely have a fire in my stomach. The reason I have been so driven I think the whole time is so I could be in this position to impact the evolving industry and do something more than just win medals for myself. Normally when snowboarders want to make a change, in my experience, it’s always been in a “fuck them” mentality. We want this back for us. And absolutely, I agree. But it’s a long game, and I think we need to start in a positive frame of mind to make it happen, and understand what the end goal is, myself included, that we all want, instead of just ripping down all the doors before they’ve even opened.

You have location ideas for the tour yet? Would it stay in Aspen?

I’m not honestly not super sure yet. The plan is to expand the footprint geographically–more events. I’d love to see a tour happen.

Are you now financially obligated and interested to say X Games medals mean more than Olympic medals?

Hahaha, that one’s a conflict of interest, sorry. No, X Games always has been, regardless of my investment, the Mecca for action sport. I think it’s pretty fair to say that every single action sport athlete wants to win an X Games medal, so whether you think it’s more important or not than Olympic medal, that’s your choice.

What about all the hate the X Games had because of that Yung Gravy performance? 

Yeah, I have been thinking about that. As a competitor, culturally, it’s still the benchmark. And all this, let’s call it fresh energy, is important to be considered within what the next step. It needs to evolve and needs to become more accessible. It needs viewership and needs to be more accessible to the demographic that watch action sport but embracing, obviously, the culture and what and where they watch. So I think at the moment, the exciting thing is it’s an open book about embracing the community of action sport and saying, “Hey, we all mutually love X Games. How do we grab it back and how do we work together to make it what we all know it can be?” That’s where it is right now. It’s an open book.

Scotty and his wife, Chloe. p: Clavin

Last question. Any investment tips for us?! 

Grab you passions and invest your time. Don’t invest in things you don’t understand–which I have done. Also, think long term about what you want to learn, too.

We were hoping for more like…insider trading stuff…but whatever.