Aspen Adventures Part I: Let’s shred some gnar, dude! The Winter X Games

by Heidi Obermeyer

A couple weekends ago, the world’s snow pants sagged a little lower and the bros got a little bro-ier as the masses descended upon Aspen’s quaint Buttermilk mountain for the 2014 Winter X Games. A mecca of young people sporting spectatorship, I have been bothered by friends to check it out for years (Someday we’ll make it Emily!) and finally decided it was time to see what all the hype was about when my brother mentioned he was going up to watch the events with a few friends.

As you get older, it is weird to start hanging out with your siblings. They’re, like, old and stuff. And have cool friends. So I had a lot of fun getting to go on a little road trip with Erik and Company. We had a gorgeous and relatively smooth drive up (leaving on a Friday at 2 from Denver to beat the evening traffic on I-70, our beloved interstate known for delays for dayzzz due to ski traffic) and got to Aspen just in time to watch the evening’s men’s ski half pipe final. Being from Colorado, you see people pulling some pretty awesome stuff on the mountain on any given day, but to get to see Olympians (many of the athletes we saw are probably in Sochi as we speak) doing their thing was pretty neat.

Logistically, I would caution anyone who loves efficiency against attending the Games- I think the event has grown substantially in the last several years, and there is no parking at the base of the mountain since Buttermilk is pretty small. Shuttle busses (that get PACKED at the end of the night) take a while, as the lots are a solid 20 minutes away, so we were lucky to have some secret location parking that gave us about a twenty minute walk to the mountain. Once you’re there, waiting to get onto the sides of the half pipe (where all the cool kids hang out) also takes a while, as they let masses of people into that area with what seemed like zero rhyme or reason about every 20 minutes. Another good thing to note that I didn’t consider- watching snow sports is VERY different than actually participating in them, and there are fewer ways to get cold fast than standing around on the side of a mountain at night and not moving. Lesson learned: Bundle up!

The X Games continues to maintain a very casual atmosphere, despite the development of snowboarding (what I would say is the big draw for many people- skiing half pipe was just recently added, for example) into its own version of a serious sport (including being a part of the Olympics). I found the “keepin’ it cool” attitude to be kind of annoying from the announcers who take everything over the top. However, it is fun to be in an atmosphere that has room for being super enthusiastic about that sweet 1090 backwards grab 470 tailspin… or whatever you call it. Shred on, brah!

If you go…
The Winter X Games are held in Aspen every year around the end of January- 2015 dates aren’t out yet. If you’d like, you can read 2014 results or see photos from the events.

Thanks to Chip Wasson for a few of the sweet pictures from the trip!