X Files | AspenTimes.com

X Files

John Colson

OK, OK, the X-Games are just that ” OK.

But in general, I’d sure as hell rather be schussing deep powder in the glades than watching hyper-testosterized sports idols on the make, doing their thing for national television audiences.

So, out of a twisted framework of loyalty to both my job and my powder hunger, I managed to do both on Sunday.

Assigned to write about the Games from the perspective of a baby boomer who never assimilated into the next generation, I headed upvalley on Sunday morning (I live in Carbondale) with all the fine intentions of a good little journalistic soldier.

My plan was to carve a few telemark turns on Tiehack, then ease on over to Main Buttermilk in time to witness the noisy and somewhat gassy Xtravaganza known as the snocross semifinals and whatever followed.

The trouble was, it was a powder day ” the kind of day I’d mostly missed this season thanks to injuries. I probably don’t have to explain ” in fact, shouldn’t have to explain to a town like this ” that my powder hunger won over my job loyalties.

So, instead of watching the snowmobilers pounding around the course at the base of Main Buttermilk, I listened to the whine of their engines from afar.

And an awesome sound it was, too, occasionally drowned out by the thunder of a jet taking off from Sardy Field.

From a half-mile away, and on the other side of the ridge that separates Main B from Tiehack, the noise was enough to break my concentration as I slipped through the trees of Ptarmigan Glade and burst out into the fluffy splendor of Sterner trail. Plunging through intermittent powder stashes 2 feet deep in the heart of the Glades, I somehow managed to not eat any bark, through no fault of the Gamers’ exertions, I can assure you.

Once I got to the games, I blanched in dismay at finding only one food booth, offering fare I didn’t care to consume, amid the panoply of gear tents and other merchandising madness cloaking the base of Buttermilk.

At Bumps restaurant, the fire marshal had access pared down to one-out, one-in exchanges. No help there, and my stomach was talking loudly to me, at times drowning out the amplified exuberance of the announcers.

And even worse, there was no place to get a cocktail. They call this a sporting event? Someone needs to explain a few things to these people, beginning with the ABCs of sports promotions ” Always Bring Cocktails.

So I stood around for hours, watching admittedly accomplished young athletes do things I wouldn’t even dream of doing on a snowboard or any other conveyance, which was amusing and, at times, amazing.

And the Moto-X event was a testament to the hardiness and determination of the competitors. I mean, they were dressed in gear designed for summer competition, jumping into stunts on evilly outfitted dirt bikes at high speeds and considerably higher altitudes than where I stood, landing on the downhill side of a domed hillock of ice. One hapless rider, focusing more on his celebratory finishing style than on what was in front of him, crashed into the fence, but no harm was done.

So, what do I think of all this? There’s a new definition of insanity in there somewhere, though it just might be wisdom riding a razor-sharp edge between death and enlightenment. The jury’s still out.

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