With more than a decade of participation covering the Winter X Games, the city of Aspen and Pitkin County expect to be ready for anything once the games begin.
Blair Weyer is serving as the public information officer for the Pitkin County Emergency Management Team and said with 13 years previous experience, the combined law enforcement agencies in charge of safety at the X Games have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
“We’ve been planning for this year’s event since this past October,” Weyer said. “We’ve been working with the Colorado State Patrol, the Army National Guard, the Aspen Hospital, all our local law enforcement agencies and more. There’s been a lot of coordinating going on, and with all our previous experience covering the X Games, we have a lot of practice doing this. We won’t be reinventing the wheel.”
The biggest difference this year will be the two concerts held at Wagner Park in downtown Aspen on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, featuring electronic music artist Tiesto and rock band Phoenix.
Weyer said that 10 years ago, there were concerts at Wagner Park that turned into negative experiences due to a lack of timely transportation between the Buttermilk ski area and Aspen.
This year, Weyer said, after working with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, in addition to the regularly scheduled buses shuttling between venues, there will be an additional 20 buses added during the time frame between when the concerts start at 3 p.m. and end.
“We don’t want people getting stuck in one place,” Weyer said. “That’s when people tend to get rowdy, especially if the weather turns bad.”
Weyer said there would be plenty of extra security and lighting around the concert venue to keep the vibe positive. She added that because these shows do require tickets, that will help control the size of the crowds.
“There will be alcohol served inside the concert venue,” Weyer said. “We have around 60 security folks staffed just for the concert venue. We want to make sure the crowds don’t end up milling about and getting into any trouble.”
Weyer wanted to remind people that there is no public parking at the event site at Buttermilk and the public should take advantage of the RFTA bus system to access the games.
Parking is free at the Intercept Lot near Snowmass Village on Highway 82 and shuttles will run from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. continuously as quickly as they can move people. There are also shuttles running from Rubey Park in Aspen to Buttermilk, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The shuttles running from Highlands to Buttermilk will only be in service from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Weyer said the event is alcohol, drug and smoke free, and the public should not try to bring any alcohol or marijuana to the event. Folks getting onto buses at the intercept lot will be screened for alcohol and other contraband. There will be an even more thorough search by security at Buttermilk before people enter the venue.
She reiterated the only alcohol being sold would be at the VIP tent at the Wagner Park concerts.
One other area of concern the past few years has been people getting impatient and walking along Highway 82 between the Intercept Lot and Buttermilk. Weyer is encouraging anyone wishing to walk this year to use the trail system on the north side of 82 and not walk along the highway.
“We put a lot of time into investigating the possible scenarios that could play out,” Weyer said. “We really feel prepared. We have a lot of different agencies working with us, but the bottom line is we want everyone to have a safe and fun X Games.”
For more information, Weyer said people can go to pitkinemergency.org, where a Google Map has been created for the X Games and more information is available.