On the hill: The best of X | AspenTimes.com

On the hill: The best of X

Jon MaletzThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – I came, I saw, I consumed my weight in Lemonheads.Another edition of X is in the books. Soon, the scaffolding crowding the base of Buttermilk will disappear. Soon, the locals will regain their slopes. Soon, I’ll stop bemoaning the fact I was not invited to the Oakley party (probably a blessing, considering my proclivity for embarrassing myself).Soon, scores of the athletes who wowed us this weekend will head to Vancouver to go for the gold on another grand stage.Before we look ahead, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the lasting images from Winter X Games 14. Here are a few of my favorites:• Gretchen Bleiler lights up the night. On a weekend when valley athletes had largely forgettable performances (we can try to claim Jen Hudak as one of our own, but she’s really from Connecticut), our hometown hero wowed record crowds and competitors alike with unsurpassed style and that engaging smile. Let’s hope Saturday night’s performance is just the beginning …• Five-peats. Congratulations to Nate Holland (boardercross) and Tucker Hibbert (snocross).• Human spinning top. T.J. Schiller lands the first 1620 – or 4 1/2 rotations – during skiing’s big air competition. Just when we thought we’ve seen it all, the bar is raised. I hope he stretches.• The free hug I received on the bus.• The halfpipe takes a bite out of the Flying Tomato before Friday’s snowboard pipe final. Like that could stop him. Later, Shaun White walked away with gold and a huge gash on his face – does that prove he is actually human? The jury is still out.• Bobby Brown makes another hit. The Breckenridge skier blew away the big air and slopestyle fields to become the first skier to ever medal in two events in one Winter X Games. And I thought “My Prerogative” was impressive.• Another one-of-a-kind Hannah Teter news conference. While other competitors fielded questions last year, the South Lake Tahoe, Calif., snowboarder, both feet propped on the table, talked on the phone. This time, the media could do little to make her look up from her Ben & Jerry’s Maple Blondie.At least she offered me a scoop.jmaletz@aspentimes.com

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