The top 11 reasons to look forward to Winter X Games 17 in Aspen
Winter X Games 17 in Aspen kicks off this week and is one of the biggest events in action sports. With that in mind, we present 11 reasons why X Games, in Aspen, is hands down the best time of your life. If you’re going, make sure to take notes. If you’re not, you’ll probably want to stop reading immediately. Proceeding to read this list could spark some sort of depression and no one will want to be around you for the foreseeable future.
If you’re going, check out the complete X Games 17 schedule so you don’t miss an opportunity to see your favorite pros in action.
1. The first sight of the X Games worthy Superpipe while you drive (or fly) into Aspen.
If it’s your first time, your face will be stuck to the car (or airplane) window as you approach Buttermilk. If you can plan it, come in at night, because seeing that 22-foot moster lit up in the starry Aspen sky gives you that feeling of, “Oh shit, I didn’t realize how f-ing awesome this is going to be.” You literally get chills down your spine, later only to realize that you somehow you exited your friends car and started high-fiving strangers in the street.
Kevin Pearce with his Gram after taking second in pipe in 2009, the last time he competed at X Games.
2. Witnessing first hand the best terrain park features in the world
You’ve seen it plenty of times on TV but it just doesn’t do it justice. Standing at the bottom of the 22-foot superpipe is a trip. The walls seem to go past vertical (they’re not) and the slopestyle features will make you dizzy just thinking about how big these guys and gals go. Just don’t get to hammered the night before (or the day of) and miss the events. It’s technically the reason you’re there.
3. Watching your favorite riders go for gold and breaking records in the process.
From triple corks in the park to 22′ airs in the pipe, you’d think you took to much adderall (hopefully you’re prescribed) because your jaw is going to be clutched as the take off to on the floor when they land. Seeing the best in the world break records is something everyone should do once in their life. It gives you a better perspective on just how hard this sport really is. Maybe this year you’ll witness Shaun White beat last year’s prefect 100.
4. Partying your face off
It’s no secret that the action sports industry loves to party. It’s in our blood. So you have to image the parties at the biggest event in the world are most likely some of the biggest parties in the world (I mean it’s no P. Diddy White Party). The Target party. The Monster Party. Belly Up parties. Aspen is littered with good times and free drinks (if you know where to go). Also, the possibility of downing a beer with your favorite pro is on the table. A great game to play (one of our favorites in the office) is to see which one of your friends collects the most bracelets; 10 or more and you’ve successfully claimed party start status.
Side note: If you’re a true baller, you’ll end up with faint memories of balling it up with Aspen’s finest at The Caribou Club. Good luck finding it.
5. Crashing ten to a room so you can afford the best week of your life.
Thought Aspen was expensive? Go during X Games and you’ll probably leave with a new credit card, maxed out. But that’s cool, that’s what friends are for. It happens every year. Ten “good” friends go in on a room to split up the cost and fight over who’s sleeping where. Three to a bed, five on the floor and two in the bathtub. The best part: walking in at 4:00am to see your best bud hooking up with the rando from the bar. This is when you whip out your iPhone and start snapping pics…
6. Epic Meal Time
There’s two ways to go when it comes to eating in Aspen. You can go all in and hit the nicest spots in town like Matsuhisa (awesome sushi) or Pinions (bring your rich friend) or take the cheaper route and get greasy (we mean this in the best way possible) at Johnny McGuire’s with some insane subs, burgers and the most underrated breakfast ever, or hit The Big Wrap and blow your mind for under $10. Ether way, eating in Aspen could be classified as a destination vacation itself.
7. Après at the Sky Hotel
If you know us, then you’ll know how much we love Après at the Sky Hotel and its bar, hot tub and pool at 39 Degrees. It’s been rated the best Après spot in the world by multiple magazines and has killer drinks, food and a scene straight out of Dumb and Dumber. Our advice, get there a bit early and get right in the hot tub. There’s no reason to leave as the cocktail waitress will bring you drinks until you pass out. Also, you might bump into a famous face or two. We here Jimmy Johnson (NASCAR’s #48) loves the dude stew. But you didn’t hear that from us.
8. Fur hats, jackets, pants and boots and the occasional Bentley
Aspen is a scene and the people who frequent there know how to dress, according to Joan Rivers. Fur is always in and you’ll see some of the best outfits made from species that may or may not be on the endangered list. Throw in a few Bentleys and you have yourself one of the best people watching spots in the world. But don’t be quick to judge, we’ve had many encounters with the fur-friendly and they can ride and party with the best of ‘em. After all, we’re all just here to have a good time.
9. Riding Aspen/Snowmass’ vast terrain in your off-time
If you find time between your late nights and two day hangovers, the best part about X Games is shredding Aspen/Snowmass’ awesome terrain when there are no events to watch. With four glorious mountains that cater to any skill level, you’ll have many decisions to make. If you’re looking to sweat off the hangover, head up to Highlands Bowl for a good 30 minute to hour-long hike and access some deep and steep runs (weather depending). If you can barely make it out of bed, Ajax’s Silver Queen Gondola is within walking distance from anywhere in town. Or maybe you want to get away from it all and head over to Snowmass for some laps by yourself. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
10. Swag bags
Did someone say Tent City? That’s right, X Games is littered with companies hoping you’ll try their new products. So take full advantage and bring an empty backpack to stuff in all the free crap your about to get for easy carrying. From energy drinks to product tosses and giveaways, X Games has it all.
11. Telling your friends back home how amazing X Games was
They’ve most likely un-followed you on Instagram and Twitter so there’s no shame in giving them a shout on the old telephone to rub in how much fun you had in Aspen. From the parties to the shredding to meeting your favorite pros, we recommend sending an hourly message to remind them that they missed the time of their life so that next year they sack up and join you.
Good luck out there!
Jonathan Glass is the Online Editor at Snowboard Magazine. If he says he is going snowboarding it means he's at après, early.
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