X marks the spot | AspenTimes.com

X marks the spot

May Selby
Pro skier Chris Anthony of Vail with a few of his lady friends at the Blender magazine party.

When the X Games come to town, the multifaceted sporting event breathes even more life into an already vibrant scene.

Though the competition is centered on the slopes at Buttermilk, there’s no shortage of entertainment options off the snow throughout the valley. From concerts to house parties to corporate events, the community beats to the pulse of X.One event of note from this year’s games was the Blender magazine party last Saturday night in east Aspen. The music and lifestyle rag partnered with Jeep for a high-octane house party open to X Games athletes, industry insiders and local night owls.

“Our parties are the ticket to the Rock ‘n’ Roll fantasy life,” said William Gasperoni, the marketing director for Blender who has coordinated similar events in Sundance, the Hollywood Hills, New York City and elsewhere.Orange County, Calif.-based punk band The Vandals took to the living room stage as the main act, revving up the crowd. According to Vandals guitar player/singer Warren Fitzgerald, the X Games are not to be missed.

“They’re the best – it’s like Europe minus the socialized medicine,” he said.Earlier that evening, a bon voyage party was hosted in honor of Aspenite Letti Alvarez. After nearly seven years in the valley, Letti just left to embark on a new adventure – joining the Peace Corps. She will be moving to Madagascar, an island nation in the Indian Ocean off the eastern shores of Africa. One of the most diverse climates on the planet, Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and is home to 5 percent of the world’s plant and animal species, 80 percent of them unique to Madagascar.

“It’s going to be so eye-opening,” she said. “There is everything from rainforest to deciduous forest to rocky mountains to semi-desert.” Letti’s assignments will include work in fuel wood conservation methods, eco-tours and sustainable farming.”Letti has been a great pillar of our community,” said friend Dylan Johns at her bon voyage party. “She’s always involved, always out there, a real organizer to all of her friends. She will be missed.”

Cathleen Treacy, who served in the Peace Corps in the Ukraine, shared a few words of wisdom from her experience. “You don’t need half of what you take.”Letti plans to return to town at some point – at least for a visit. “Maybe I’ll be back in May of 2008 [after she has completed her service]. Who knows?”