After attending the Winter X Games for the second year, I decided to create a PROS & CONS list for those who haven't been or plan to go next year. No doubt, it's an incredible event that definitely is an experience, but here's a good way to understand the event and plan ahead.
PRO: The College X Pass
The College X Pass allows college students under the age of 25 who attend an accredited 4 year university to ski on all Aspen mountains during the X Games for 2 days for about $80. This is a hell of a deal because a 1 day regular ski ticket on Aspen's most popular mountain, Snowmass, is about $130.
The craziest thing is very few people know about this pass. The slopes are basically empty because locals don't like the crowds and people attending usually think it'd be too expensive. Check out these pictures of the slopes on the event's most popular day; Saturday.
Not only do you get to ski the mountains, but you can stop off the side and watch the events up-close-and-personal. If you watch from the bottom of the mountain where the spectators stand, you can't see all the action up close. This photo was taken just off the side of the slope while Big Air was competing.
CON: Times and Closures
The various competitions throughout the event force the mountain to close a few routes. Most of the Black Diamond routes are blocked off because they altered them for the competitors to compete.
A big change from last year is that the ski lifts close early during the X Games. Instead of 4 or 5, they close at around 3. Make sure to show up early if you plan to ski because I wish I had slept less and skied more.
PRO: Village and Music
For those who aren't skiing like most, there are a lot of fun activities to do in between events down in the village. Booths playing music, games, and giving away free stuff are throughout the event at the base.
Every year the Winter X Games throw an awesome lineup of musicians every night. This year was Twenty One Pilots, Deadmau5, DJ Snake, Kygo, Nas, and Run the Jewels. You get to experience the concert in the snow and tickets are cheaper than most major concerts in Denver.
CON: The Weather
Remember, it's called the WINTER X Games, so you might encounter some serious winter weather. Whether it's hot or cold, the weather will effect your experience. If it's hot, get ready to run a Mud Run to your car. The parking is free which is great, but its in a dirt lot that gets covered in snow usually overnight. That snow melts by the end of the day if it's sunny, so have fun trudging through that.
From one extreme to the other, this year we had quite a lot of snow. If you're standing out in a below 20 degree blizzard to see your favorite DJ, props to you because I got out of there the moment the snow started going sideways. Here's a photo from the X Games Instagram during the Deadmau5 concert:
PRO: The Experience
The Winter X Games is an awesome event that always has something going on. Whether its the Big Air, Slopestyle, Superpipe, or Snowmobile events, there's something for everybody. You can ski the mountain while watching the events as you ride up and play the games from the booths once you make your way back down. The energy there is infectious not only from the amazing concerts, but the people around you are there to have a good time just like yourself.
CON: The Crowds
When you first arrive at this event, you'll typically park in the Intercept Lot and take a shuttle to the actual mountain. Like any major event, you will be frisked for any weapons, alcohol, or drugs that are prohibited during the event. These shuttles get packed, so try to get all your things together before and be ready to get checked.
This is a major event, so you're going to be around a lot of people, especially when a popular competition is going on. There is a spectators area at the bottom of the mountain where the athletes cross the finish line or throw their final trick. It also has a huge big screen TV that live streams the athletes competing down the mountain. Here's from the ski lift:
Yes there is a lot of people, but the crowds are expected for such a large televised event. However, during the Superpipe events, you are able to stand right along the edge of ramp to literally see the athletes compete only a few feet away. It is amazing to watch, but try to get a good spot early before the event in order to get the best experience.
Check out this updated guide that is even more detailed and comprehensive - it is a multi-page guide on skiing that is packed with practical tips and advice. You can find it here: https://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/ski-training.html