Everyman’s X: Bring your A-game to Aspen’s Z-list casual competition
January 31, 2019
Do you ever wonder how long you would have to train to be qualified to compete in the X Games? If you're older than 7, it's already too late for you. If you're 7 or younger, the answer is "every day for the next 10 years" — also, it's impressive that you can read.
It's really unfair that event organizers expect you to prepare your whole life to earn the privilege of throwing yourself off a 45-foot jump. The individual contests are free to watch — other than the price of being smashed on a Ramblin Express with Fireball-chugging college kids to and from Buttermilk — allowing you to live vicariously for a few seconds as the athletes plummet back to Earth.
And just as men don't want to hear a Maroon 5 halftime show at the Super Bowl, we also don't want to listen to EDM at the X Games — or any other time ever, for that matter. We do it because chicks or Disney make us.
So here are a slate of not-as-extreme sports designed for Aspen ski gangs to square off against one another. We present to you the Everyman's X Games:
POWDER DAY PANCAKE-EATING CONTEST
SB: I can't think of a situation in which I would want to participate in competitive gluttony. Joey Chestnut haunts my dreams. If winning anything necessitates puking afterward, count me out. The fall of U.S. society will be directly related to Donald Trump, hot dog-eating contests or both.
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However, forgoing breakfast in order to grab some freshies works up an appetite. Any storm that dumps more than 8 inches of snow is worthy of stacks of flapjacks. Get ready to guzzle maple syrup and butter because the contestant who consumes to most free pancakes — without hurling — takes gold.
FOUR MOUNTAIN CHALLENGE
BW: Rule one is to begin at the Village Express, which starts spinning at 8:30 a.m. If that doesn't kill you, nothing will. Fight off our editor Dave "D.K." Krause for first chair and ruin his Adam's Avenue groomers to first barstool at Big Hoss.
If you can board the bus upvalley before the passengers or the driver start singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" or anything Bon Jovi, you're ahead of the world record. Hop the shuttle to Highlands and knock out the five lifts there, assuming you don't have to wait thirty minutes at Deep Temerity. Otherwise, an automatic DNF.
Get a taste of the actual X Games at Buttermilk by taking out its three chairs and also some Jeraldine trying to exit the West Buttermilk lift at the midway point. Later in the season you can pass through the superpipe and realize those 17-year-olds were flying up an actual wall (not steel slats) while you can barely figure out which cold and flu medicine at Clark's Market will get rid of your sniffles.
Little Nell and Silver Queen chairlifts on Ajax don't count, as those are rarely spinning. But bonus points if you manage to accidentally hit on a high school senior while sharing a 20-minute ride on the Couch because her goggles and Buff hide her youth. Key word here is "accidentally." Jesus, I hope God appreciates nuance.
Whoever accumulates the biggest variety of chairlift rides wins.
HOLLYWOOD LINE HUCK
SB: One of the best parts about riding a ski lift other than not having to skin up the run is the skier watching. This is personified by the Hollywood line, which is that roller-, jump-, jib-laden route right underneath the lift.
If you've frequented Ajax Express, Alpine Springs and, to a certain extent, Village Express lifts enough, you know the amount of entertainment involved in watching grommets and bros salute the send. The routine that can get you rubbernecking/hooting and hollering the hardest mid-chair wins EMX gold.
NAKED LADY NUDE DASH
BW: He's setting a Ski Tracks record as he flies by you. Was that … ? Yes, it was. A pasty, white butt just ripped past at 64 mph. Was he at least sporting a mankini? No — that helicopter sound wasn't a search-and-rescue chopper overhead but a racer in the Naked Lady Nude Dash. The idea behind a clothes-free run isn't to torment innocent bystanders with your winter bulking body but to make them second-guess if they actually just saw somebody wearing nothing but their ski boots. This event pays homage to the rich history of Snowmass — trails don't just get named Naked Lady without a story. That being said, women shouldn't hesitate in signing up for this one. It creates a much better visual than 85-year-old Olaf Rasmussen flashing down the mountain.
Whoever can get the farthest before being tackled by ski patrol or overcome by frostbite is the weiner.
CLOUD 9 SKI DOWN
SB: As much fun as the afternoon seating at Cloud 9 seems, there are two aspects that are incredibly difficult to perfect at the infamous Aspen Highlands locale. First, getting a reservation is akin to copping a ticket to any Atmosphere show at Belly Up (for real, random Minneapolis rap stans?), and the second is making your way down to the Alehouse for an apres mid-afternoon cap.
The contest thusly is who can reach the bottom of Highlands first after Champagne campaigning all day. With a minimum BAC of .15 to qualify for the contest (no sandbaggers allowed), in this case the V stands for victory and Veuve. As much as I'd like to hear increasingly frustrated patrons' voicemails to the reservation line, there's something satisfying about the prospect of people Bambi-ing their way down to the bus as fast as drunkenly possible.
PARACHUTE MAN MISSION
SB: Is it littering if you're trying to retrieve said garbage? Not every day can be a powder day, so dropping a parachute man out of the bucket provides some impetus to that groomer lap. The only catch is the release. Providing that perfect descent and avoiding the nefarious death spiral in the Christmas Trees is key to finding that pink Owen Wilson who landed "Behind Enemy Lines."
We promise, ski patrol, no one wants to lose a 50-cent investment from Carl's. Go get your man and get gold.
TOWNIE BICYCLE DOWNHILL
BW: So you can mountain bike through the Four Pass Loop to Crested Butte? I bet you can't ride beer-sponsored townies down from the Ullrhof to Base Village. As reigning champion of the Ullrhof Games (please bring these back, I've been promised a quantum of competition this year), I declare you'll have to best me in a Jedi pod race down Coney Glade on a device that may at any minute lose its pedals from the gear shift thingy that wasn't properly welded together (seriously, this thing almost killed my lady friend on Tuesday Cruiseday). When I repeat this year I'll just take the cornhole set instead. Anyway, it's pretty much a death race, so this game is pass/fail. If you're able to survive the trip, arrive at the bottom and chug a Venga Venga margarita while dancing to Kygo, you succeed. Ties are possible but unlikely.
APRES SKI MARATHON
SB: Ahhh, good old cardio. The hardest part about skiing deep, luxurious turns all day isn't the burn in your legs but rather the totality of exercise, adrenaline, send and substance. The key to apres skiing is longevity. Falling face-first into a RFTA seat cushion at 3:30 in the afternoon isn't what your visiting friend paid ridiculous sums of money to witness.
The goal of the apres ski marathon is to extend the party — without Aspen's preferred apres powder — the longest without making passes at disinterested cougars, losing your gloves, sleeping on the bus and the like. Keep your s— and ski gear together to prevail.