X Games is as much about the party as the events
The irony of visiting Aspen for the Winter X Games is often the discrepancy between the amount of time spent at Buttermilk Mountain and the amount of time spent, well, pretty much everywhere else.
It can be easy to fall victim to the lure of Aspen, especially during the long X Games weekend, which involves no shortage of wild parties, concerts and events to attend.
Plus, the X Games draw some of the most popular artists in the world, such as Nas, DJ Snake and Deadmau5, who, among other headline names, performed at both Buttermilk and Belly Up for this year’s event.
But, hey, it’s all a part of the X Games experience, as many crowd-members and visitors said this weekend.
Like 24-year-old Lauren Van Pelt of Denver, who says she is “a big sports person” but is “more here for the social aspect.”
“If it works out, I like to watch the skiing events,” Van Pelt said. “If I had a little more money, I would take advantage of the shopping, too.”
Van Pelt said she was most excited for the concerts, which, along with the nightlife, is her favorite part of the X Games.
Van Pelt’s friend Jessie Burke, also 24 and from Denver, agreed: “Concerts are a must for the weekend.”
Burke, who’s visited Aspen to watch the X Games since 2008, said her favorite events are slopestyle and men’s big air.
For first-time Aspen visitor Brian Winowich, a corporate consultant who lives in Chicago, attending the X Games has been “a lifelong dream.”
Winowich said he and his friends nearly called off their trip, due to concern of the expected snowstorm canceling their flights home, but ultimately decided it was a risk they were willing to take.
“Having a good time is more important,” Winowich said. “We took the chance, and we may have to pay the consequences. But until then, we’re going to drink mimosas and go to Cloud 9.”
Though the 27-year-old said Aspen’s marijuana dispensaries “aren’t really for him,” a few of his buddies scoped some of the local pot shops the previous day and made a few interesting purchases, Winowich said.
Others visiting Aspen for their first time are here to take advantage of the full Aspen experience, like 23-year-old Trevor Niemann of Palos Verdes Estates, California, and 20-year-old Christine Esserman of Orinda, California.
Throughout their four-day stay, the two covered everything from some St. Regis spa time to dogsledding and lunch at Krabloonik, which Niemann said “was one of if not our favorite thing we’ve ever done.”
They also watched Twenty One Pilots and Kygo perform at Belly Up and dined at some of Aspen’s restaurants, including Matsuhisa, Casa Tua and Ajax Tavern.
“Matsuhisa was by far our favorite,” Niemann said, adding that their dishes of choice were the yellowtail jalapeno and crispy spicy tuna rolls.
And of course, as far as the actual X Games, the California native said he looked forward to the snowboard and snowmobile big air events most.
But 27-year-old Vail resident John Bukac may take the cake for greatest disparity between number of hours spent at Buttermilk and in town during the X Games.
Despite having visited Aspen for the X Games weekend three or four times, Bukac said, “To be honest, I’ve never stepped foot inside the X Games.”
So what does Bukac like to do when he visits Aspen?
“Shake it at Escobar,” chimed in one of Bukac’s friends, who also was in town for the X Games.
Bukac confirmed, with a laugh: “Shake it at Escobar.”
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