Winter X Games returns to Aspen for the twelfth 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. Check out Part One and Part Two. Here's Part Three...
In 2011, Winter X Games drew a record crowd estimated at 114,200 during the four-day event, up 36 percent from the year before. While it’s true the best view is the one from your flatscreen, there’s nothing like seeing the Winter X Games live. Until you’ve done it, it’s impossible to grasp the amplitude in the SuperPipe, the progression on the Slopestyle course and the thrill of Big Air.
Eleven of the past 15 Winter X Games have been held at Buttermilk in Aspen. The entire base area is dedicated to the event and though transformed into a multi-event stadium, the compact venue is spectator-friendly.
Shaun White is greeted by his adoring fans after taking the lead in the Men's Snowboard SuperPipe Finals at Winter X Games 15. Photo Courtesy of ESPN.
From looker’s left to right, you’ll find the Big Air, Slopestyle and SuperPipe venues. Big Air and SuperPipe are best viewed from the designated spectator areas below each venue, but the Slopestyle course can also be viewed on-hill. Plus, with all the spectators down low, the actual mountain is usually empty during X Games, so why not make a few turns? The aerial views from the chairlift are pretty good as well.
“The pipe action is best viewed on the decks,” Aspen Snowmass Senior Event Marketing Manager Deric Gunshor said, who has been involved with the past 12 Winter X Games. “It often requires getting there early to get a spot.”
Gates and specific competition venues will close when capacity is reached, so it’s definitely a good idea to arrive ahead of time.
The base of the SuperPipe allows you to take in all of the amplitude. Just dress warmly because it gets cold... even under the lights. Photo Courtesy of ESPN.
X Fest comprises of a small village full of sponsor booths located at the base. You’ll find product demos, sampling, giveaways, athlete appearances, poster signings and more. Hosts will be set up at the entrance to load your swag bag and point you in the right direction. Hours: Thursday/Friday (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Saturday/Sunday (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.).
The event is free to the public and free shuttles are provided from the event parking at the Brush Creek Transfer Lot (also known as the Intercept Lot) at Hwy 82 and Brush Creek Rd. For Winter X Games, Aspen and Roaring Fork Valley public transportation information, call RFTA (970.925.8484).
Brita Sigourney's fans came out in droves for 2011's Women's Ski SuperPipe Finals. Photo Courtesy of ESPN.
The venue will be open to guests and spectators during the following dates and times:
Thursday, Jan. 24 — 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 25 — 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 26 — 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 27 — 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
*Buttermilk Mountain is open to the public daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Though last year’s temperatures were unseasonably comfortable, remember that this is Aspen in January. Dress warmer than you would for skiing, as you’ll be standing still in below freezing temps. Dress especially warm for the night events (think toe and hand warmers).
- Leave alcohol, pets, folding chairs, large umbrellas, laser-lights, noisemakers and opened beverages of any kind at home. Security on-site is no joke.
- Practice and qualifying rounds can be just as exciting to watch, with far fewer spectators to compete with.