Aspen Untucked: X Gamed Out

by Barbara Platts

There comes a time in the life of every Aspen millennial, when we have to accept that we just aren’t as young as we once were. This acceptance doesn’t necessarily happen all at once. Instead, it comes in stages. We get tired more easily. We aren’t quite as excited to take tequila shots at the bar. And we can’t handle our hangovers anymore — they pretty much feel like death, and that’s all there is to it.

For me, another sign that I’m most certainly aging was my lukewarm — at best — excitement for X Games Aspen 2018. This sporting event, which always occurs at the end of January, snuck up on me this year. All of a sudden, the base of Buttermilk was lighting up the entire valley, Monster Energy drinks were available everywhere I looked, and heaps of teenagers and early twenty-somethings had hit the town in full party mode.

I became very aware of my intense lack of enthusiasm about this weekend when my boyfriend’s brother and his friend came to town for it. The friend had never been to X Games before, and it had been on his Colorado bucket list for a very long time. Both of them were so excited to be here for the events. As they dressed in layer after layer of warm clothing, they urged us to go with them to the competitions on Thursday night. We politely declined and decided to go about celebrating the games in a different manner: by purchasing two large ribeyes and two lobster tails from Clark’s Market, cooking them and enjoying with a hefty glass of red wine. Afterward, we watched some late-night news and dozed off into a peaceful slumber at about 9:30 … maybe 10 at the latest. The stark contrast in our evening activities compared to years past was not lost on either of us. As we sipped our wine and watched our shows, both of us exchanged looks of entire contentment, so pleased that we were not at the base of Buttermilk, freezing our asses off.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The X Games are a hell of a lot of fun. I’ve been fully indulging in the weekend almost every year since 2008, when I was a senior in high school and made an impromptu decision to drive up and stay at my family’s place with two random friends. I’m not the only one in my family to enjoy a good party centered around the X Games. In fact, almost all of my brothers and cousins have invited heaps of friends up since the competition first arrived in Aspen in 2002. Sure, none of us ever know that much about who’s competing or the athletes expected to win, but we’re certainly not the only ones who show up entirely uninformed.

All in all, I’ve experienced many X Games and have the party scars to prove it. But these days, I’m really just over all of the hype. The games and the parties before and after just don’t garner the same crazed enthusiasm for me as they once did. There’s always a locals’ joke in town that the best view to watch the X Games is on the television screen. But, sadly, I’m not even all that apt to watch it there anymore. However, I do appreciate what this sporting event does for our town and the excitement it garners for winter sport athletes. I also think it’s a great experience for those who have never been before. Unfortunately, I’m just entirely X Gamed out.

The X Games are scheduled to remain in Aspen through 2019. Whether the winter sporting event will stay put or move to a different ski town after that is anybody’s guess. I, for one, hope it sticks around. At this point, it feels like X Games and Aspen are practically synonymous. Having one without the other just doesn’t feel natural. However, even if it stays around, I may stick to my new steak and lobster tradition. No one wants an old millennial like me ruining their fun at the base of Buttermilk anyway.

Barbara Platts will generally choose a steak and lobster dinner over anything … not just the X Games. Reach her at or on Twitter @BarbaraPlatts.

Aspen Times Weekly

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