A teen’s view of the X Games
January 29, 2007
There comes a time in just about every local’s life when they must play tour guide to families and friends. And since that’s what I have been doing for the past four days, there has been little time to write. So to earn his keep, I assigned my 15-year-old nephew to pen my column. It’s the Aspen and X Games experience through a visiting teenager’s eyes:My name is Connor Marx and I am a snowboarder. I have been coming to Aspen for the past two years to be part of the Winter X Games experience, and I plan to visit in future years. And it isn’t just the X Games that I come for; it is the whole time I spend here, which includes the food, the stores, and most of all, the people. Everybody in town is very respectful and helpful. A perfect example is that I can leave a $400 snowboard outside a grocery store when I go in and not worry about it being stolen. I would never be able to do that in my hometown of Minneapolis, or at my local ski hill.The X Games are made twice as good for me because I get hooked up every time I come. The one thing I have learned about this town is that it’s all about the hook-up. I like towns that operate on the barter system – just like the pioneers did. My aunt knows so many people in this town, and I have a great time meeting all of them. They seem to go out of their way to be accommodating and we can always count on getting on the hill without a problem. We also seem to always get a prime spot on the superpipe. None of this would happen if Winter X wasn’t held in this awesome town. Aspen makes the X Games into what they are meant to be: An event that brings everyone together. When I was talking to the mayor on Sunday my only request of her was to make sure the Games stay here. I was pleased to find out that they’ll be here at least through 2010.It’s the small experiences that make up the whole experience. On the first night I was here, we tried to find a place to eat, which wasn’t easy since town was “ridiculously packed,” according to my aunt. We made it downstairs to the Steak Pit and got a table right away. We sat in a semiprivate room and were surrounded by fame. At one table was pro skier Tanner Hall’s whole family celebrating Ms. Hall’s birthday. At the other table was a group of top pro snowboarders. That alone was worth the price of admission, but since my dad picked up the tab it didn’t matter anyway.My aunt tells me that the food served up in this town is some of the best in the world. I agree – my favorites are New York Pizza, the Hickory House, Johnny McGuire’s and the Popcorn Wagon.I started my second day with a breakfast sub from Johnny’s, which was the best I’ve ever had. I rode all day at Snowmass and had an epic time in the terrain park. I finished the day off by watching skiers on the superpipe, and hitting the VIP tent and athletes’ lounge. To cap off the night, we headed over to the concert in Wagner Park and got spoiled with VIP treatment there. I had an unobstructed view of the stage, with a plate and a glass under me. The next day, we had some time in the afternoon, so my dad and I decided to walk around town. We got a couple of slices of New York Pizza and shopped. I needed snowboarding pants, so we looked for stores. There was one at virtually every corner, so it was a piece of cake to find what I was looking for. If I tried to do that in Minnesota, I would have one store to go to and I would be paying twice as much.The last night of the X Games was the absolute kicker to my experience. Snowboarder Danny Kass signed my jacket, and my dad bought a snowboard autographed by 40 pro athletes.Aspen has a reputation of being this snooty town where the rich and famous play. But what I found was a town full of awesome people who are happy to be here, whether they are locals or tourists. I think the reason that people are respectful and helpful is because they aren’t uptight like most people who live in the city. They understand what quality of life means, and it shows.And the X Games themselves aren’t uptight like some sporting events. There is something about extreme sports that aren’t controlled, which I think makes them special. I guess that’s why it’s such a growing industry. I heard the spectator count hit 31,000 on Saturday. The event is only going to get bigger, so I hope Aspen can pull it off in the future. One suggestion I would make is figure out the bus situation – waiting in line sucks. I’m VIP, after all. Thank you Aspen for making me feel like a Very Important Person and giving me the time of my life.You can give Connor the treatment by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.