Winter X Games
Aspen’s Buttermilk Mountain
Dates: Jan. 26th -29th
Hours: Click here for schedule
The roar of snowmobile engines, excited chatter of commentators over loudspeakers and the cheers of the crowd create a jubilant cacophony in Aspen every year at ESPN’s Winter X Games. The best-of-the-best for all things winter sport turn out for the event, with newly redesigned medals and extreme sports credit for those brave enough for the winter sporting events such as Snowmobile Speed and Style, Snowboard Big Air and Ski Superpipe.
Aspen’s Buttermilk Mountain and surrounding area come alive with The Winter X Games. The games are in conjunction with music festivals, winter sport retail, the City of Aspen, and VIP tents with catered meals and hip lounge areas. Attendees should keep an eye out for athletes such as Shaun White and Kelly Clark roving the tents, booths and hitting the slopes. The busy two-night event takes over Buttermilk Mountain, with pedestrian bridges appearing overnight across slopes affording unique views of the intense games and transforming the mountain in January each year.
Even for those not into extreme winter sports, the high-flying, heart-pounding excitement will make even the most unappreciative sports-goer stop and stare. Roaring snowmobile engines reverberate off the mountains as the large machines slingshot into the air, creating a spectacle better than most in-theater action movies. Snowboarders racing down the slopes explode toward the finish line and skiers gracefully glide into thin air in the Superpipe event.
The 11th year in Aspen, Winter X Games 2012 will bring a few surprise twists. For the first time, the slopestyle competitions will be held at night. Additionally, the gold medalist from 2011 joins invited competitors such as Mark McMorris, Tyler Flanagan, and Chas Guldenmond in the upcoming games.
CBS Denver Insider’s Tips:
X Games are free and open to the public. If staying in Aspen during the games, make sure to make reservations early, as fans book up local lodging quickly. Shuttle services from many of the hotels to Buttermilk Mountain are the best way to get to the event as parking as at a premium and often congested.
VIP Passes and Credentials are needed to get into the VIP tents and special viewing areas during the event. If wanting up-close-and-personal time with either the athletes themselves or for special spectator spots, make sure you get your hands on these passes. Given away as prizes on local radio stations, gifted to local vendors and suppliers, as well as included in special lodging and event packages, the VIP Pass reigns supreme affording access to the entire games, behind the scenes and all.
With the VIP tents offering catered meals, such as Epicurean’s wood-fired pizza to order culinary option, without the VIP Credentials pass on the food at the booths and duck into town for some of Colorado’s best dining options. With grab-and-go at Peach’s Corner Café for breakfast, or lunch at The Little Nell Hotel, the options are wide and suitable to many budgets. If looking for a local hangout where you might see some of the athletes themselves, check out Kenichi sushi for dinner before braving the cold and cheering on your favorite competitor for Slopestyle.
If you go:
Aspen Ski resort is approximately 4 hours from Denver. Flights into Aspen are available from Denver International Airport, with arriving planes flying over the X Games for even more added excitement and stunning areal views of the sprawling games. If driving from Denver, take Interstate 70 west to Glenwood Springs, southbound on Highway 82 to Aspen.
A wide variety of lodging is available in Aspen and nearby Snowmass. Notables include: The Historic Jerome Hotel, St Regis, The Little Nell, contemporary stay at The Limelight, Destination Hotel and Resort’s The Gant condos, or nearby Snowmass Property The Viceroy. Shuttles from both Aspen and Snowmass accommodate visitors to the games.
Chad is an avid globetrotter and brings the best of travel secrets and expert insights to his readership. A Denver-based travel writer and photographer, Chad’s travels have taken him to five of the seven continents in a passionate love affair with the world of travel and the outdoors. His work can be found at Examiner.com.