It’s on! The X Games continue the Aspen makeover.Saturday afternoon a couple of push-up bras and pulled-down T-shirts underneath unzipped down parkas on snowboarding girls, who might have been seeking jobs selling power tools or snowmobile parts for exactly one month a year, were getting on the gondola. The question was whether or not my son and I were going to ride up with them. It was a generationally awkward moment… that we need a lot more of.Aspen Mountain was dead, reminiscent of the all too quiet “Uncrowded by Design” days. The throngs were at Buttermilk until nightfall. It was calm until I crested Aztec and the fresh breeze, propelled by a reggae beat, rose up from town. I blasted Corkscrew to the rhythm of live music from Wagner Park. There was life below, tempting me to come down. The base of Little Nell was coming alive for the after-hours big-wall demonstration. The mere setting up of it created its own form of excitement.My kids scored black Napster shirts proclaiming what everyone in the know already does: “Gretchen Rocks!” Later on, they met her. She’s talented, cute, and friendly! Even out of the competition she’s still a huge part of it. Sunday at Buttermilk, you feel the energy, kids doing their thing. No adult pressure, only peer. Sometimes that’s kinder. The athletes feel super cool because of the crowd. The crowd feels super cool because of the athletes. It feeds itself, the perpetual excitement machine!If you don’t feel the energy, have your adrenal glands checked. They might be fossilized. Even if some of us over 30 don’t totally understand this phenomenon, we have to at least be amazed at the beauty and potency of youth. Better yet, we should allow it to invigorate us.The magic of Aspen has always promised us youth. Why do you think so many refusing to face mortality claim it as their Mecca? While economics prevent the young from congregating here on a permanent basis, the X-Games legend attracts visitors who at least have the desire to feel young, who aren’t frightened by the sound of an approaching snowboard or a boisterous concert in the streets. It’s wild! It’s a little bit naughty! At times it’s hide-your-eyes-and-peek-through-your-fingers sexy! It’s a sweat-inducing, heart-pounding, quick-catch-your-breath five days of foreplay that Aspen hasn’t bothered with since its honeymoon with skiers ended without notice sometime back in the ’70’s. Thanks to the athletes and the fans for giving Aspen the chance to show that it’s cool again. Thanks to ESPN for having the genius to put it together and the marketing wizardry for making it huge. Thanks to the Aspen Skiing Co. for seizing an opportunity to revitalize. You charm us with greenspeak and baffle us with real estate plays, but whether you realize it or not, this is what you’ll be remembered for.I’ve reached my count. I’m out.
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It’s that time of year — hikers and mountain bikers must be aware that seasonal closures are taking effect on multiple trails in the area today for the winter for the benefit of wildlife.