The State of Colorado has played host to arge-scale events for many years. In fact the State of Colorado (Denver to be exact) won the 1976 bid to host the Winter Olympics, however residents were less than excited for the bi-centennial state to bring in the masses. Denver ended up serving notice to the International Olympics Committee (IOC) that the Mile High City was unable to accommodate the event due to lack of funding and concerns for the environment. Denver became the first city to be awarded an Olympic hosting bid and then turned it down.
Fast-forward 22 years to 1995 when the town of Crested Butte hosted Coloradoís first Winter X-Games. Over the next 18 years the state played host to the Winter X-Games 14 times including the most recent at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen this past weekend. La Vozí on first assignment of the Winter X Games was historic, productive and just plain cool!
Thursday January 26th was the Opening Day for the 2017 Winter X-Games and the crowd was ready, the atmosphere electrifying. At a blistering 23 degrees I was stoked about my apparel layering preparation in the weeks leading up to the event. What I didnít account for was the
sub-zero temperatures Aspen reached during the late night events and concerts which hit lows of -7. Temps were of little concern as each event stirred up more excitement and anticipation for the athletes I learned about as the days progressed.
While Thursdayís crowd was hyped and ready to roll, the crowds grew from day to day. Friday brought more exciting events followed by a live performance by Bassnectar later in the evening. Buttermilk was unable to provide closer parking accommodation, but they made up for the 14-hour constant shuttle service provided to spectators and media alike. Arriving at the event was typical with security checks and foot traffic management through lines of metal corrals before reaching the concession and welcome gate. Once in, you make your way through what organizers call the village, which is a single row of vendors and sponsors that showcased everything from snow sculpting, cell phone charging and local FREE Wi-Fi
Once at the top of the village, stood the media tower that sat just at the base of the mountain, strategically placed in front of the makeshift event courses. Here is where most of the action played out with three different courses, Big Air, Half Pipe and Slopestyle. Big Air looked most intimidating but the Half Pipe was the most massive of the three, while Slopestyle is obviously built for athletes to show their more technical side.
Friday night the masses begin making their way into Buttermilk to hear Bassnectar, a club kidís dream, as a concert with laser shows and smoke machines filling the brisk -7 degree air. Bassnectar definitely has a loyal following as thousands came out to watch the show in temperatures designated for polar bears.
X Games on Saturday proved to be more eventful with both Men and Womenís snowboarding and skiing as well as motocross and freestyle snowmobiles events occurring throughout the day. It was event overload with exciting athletes who came to showcase their best work and talent. As the sun begin to set in the early evening and temperatures dipped into single digits the crowd remained and partied on.
The biggest impression left was by rookie womenís slopestyle gold medalist Julia Marino who dominated the competition on her second run of womenís snowboard slopestyle with a monster score of 94.66 making way for her gold. She had won bronze the night before (Friday) in Big Air. What makes these types of competitions so appealing to the masses is that you can come in with little or no experience at X-Games participation, rate at the bottom of the competition, yet head into your final run and possibly blow away the competition. Itís quite the experience for spectators and media alike the athletes are on a high-end level of euphoria after performances like Marinoís.
All in all, the 2017 X-Games was by far one of my most memorable sports venue experiences and the opportunity to witness the death defying tricks these young athletes perform with such ease is both amazing and inspirational.