Winter X Games returns to Aspen for the eleventh consecutive year this month. Whether you're planning to attend action sports' premier event or you're just planning to take it in from the couch, we've got you covered. Over the next several weeks we will give you the lowdown via the OnTheSnow Winter X Games Guide. Here's Part One...
They might tire of the fur jokes, but Aspen’s locals reap the benefits of living in a town with an inflated reputation of luxury. For every skier or rider who shies away in fear of the price tag, there’s a fresh turn, an empty lift line and a free barstool. Ski bums thrive in Aspen, and so can you, even during a peak weekend like that of Winter X Games, which takes place Jan. 24-27 at Buttermilk Mountain.
The event itself is free. And though the town of Aspen is at its most crowded, it’s also at its most inviting, thanks to free outdoor concerts, a plethora of parties throughout town and an event set up for spectating. Here are a few tips to make your trip affordable. Make sure to check out the local papers for restaurant deals, freebies and more inside scoops.
The town of Aspen and surrounding mountains plays host to Winter X Games on Jan. 24-27. Photo Courtesy of David Perry.
Venue shuttles departing from the Brush Creek Transfer Lot (also known as the Intercept Lot) at Highway 82 and Brush Creek Road, which is 10-15 minutes from downtown Aspen.
The St. Moritz Lodge offers the best bargain in town (a bunk in a two- to four-bed room for $62). The friendly, European–style lodge has a steam room and free breakfast, too. (970-925-3220)
Mountain Chalet Aspen offers bunk space for $95 during X Games. This old-time ski lodge has been hosting budget-conscience skiers since 1954. (888-925-7797)
Airbnb.com lists rooms in private apartments, condos or houses. Search “low-to-high” and you’ll find two pages of listings for less than $80 per night.
There’s something to be said for “The Power of Four." For the price of a single lift ticket, you’ll gain access to four world-class mountains with some of the most diverse terrain in North America.
The College X Pass is valid for two days of skiing or riding during this year’s Winter X Games for $87 and gives you a coupon for 35 percent off equipment rentals at Four-Mountain Sports. (877-282-7736)
Buy your lift tickets in advance. Shop early to find the best deals.
Part of the free Bud Light Hi-Fi Concert Series, Mutemath will play at the base of Aspen Mountain on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 5:30 p.m. The Bud Light Beer Garden will serve $3 beers and nearby Ajax Tavern will feature a $3 draft special and a $15 burger and beer happy hour special.
Check the schedule at Belly Up for free local acts and free movies.
Thanks to some local philanthropists the Aspen Art Museum is free for all guests.
Stay Aspen Snowmass books all-inclusive Winter X Games event packages, including lodging, airfare, rental cars and more. (888-649-5982)
The Belly Up is the place for live music in Aspen during Winter X. Photo Courtesy of Daniel Bayer.
Dining and Drinking
Sit in the bar in nearly every restaurant in Aspen and order off the bar menu. Sample the same food from the regular menu at a fraction of the price, in a more relaxed setting.
Save money on coffee and grab a free cup o’ joe courtesy of Aspen Skiing Company, who serves Green Mountain Coffee from a cart on the way to the Aspen Mountain gondola. Hit the welcome tables on any of the four mountains between 10 and 11 a.m. for complementary Clif bars.
The Big Wrap serves sandwiches, salads and smoothies on the cheap, all within walking distance from the Aspen Mountain gondola. (520 E Durant Ave., Ste 101)
Aspen Brewing Company allows patrons to bring their own snacks while they sip on their popular brews in a convenient downtown location. (304 East Hopkins Ave.)
New this winter, the Creperie du Village offers hearty crepes and a salad for about $12. (400 E Hopkins Ave.)
The City Market hot box is always serving a hot breakfast. You’ll find burritos and egg sandwiches for under $4. (711 East Cooper Ave.)
Other cheap eats: newly-opened Finbarr's Irish Pub, 520 Grill, Zane’s Tavern, The Red Onion, Goodfellows Pizza, Pastore’s Taste of Philly and The Artisan (bar menu) in Snowmass. For more cheap eats visit eataspen.com or eatsnowmass.com.