Why You Should Go To Winter X Games At Least Once

This world-premier competition is a must for any action sports lover

Man snowboarding, jumping in mid-air, low angle view
John P Kelly / Getty Images

With almost two decades in the books, ESPN’s Winter X Games has proved the ultimate action sports event. Since 1997, Winter X has brought out the world’s best athletes, to showcase their skills on the most challenging, pristine courses. Events have come and gone through the years, but snowboarding, in some form, has always been a part of it. Riders dream of being invited, and those who go hard to prove why they deserve to be there time and time again.

Watching the event on TV is exciting, but there’s just something about standing amongst the sea of screaming fans, bundled up on a wintery day, and feeling the energy of the riders and the crowd, under the bright lights with music blaring over the loud-speakers, that make being at the event in person something you’ll never forget. It’s electrifying. If you’ve never been, there are plenty of reasons to make the trip, at least once.

It’s Free to Attend​

That’s right. The event is free. Unlike Summer X Games, which charges per event, Winter X is all easily accessible at the base of Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, and free of charge. You’ll need to purchase a lift ticket if you want to ride the mountain or get up close to the slopestyle course, but for the most part, you can see it all from the bottom of Buttermilk. Just make sure you have solid winter boots, or wear your snowboard boots, so you’re not standing in the snow and freezing your toes off all day. You’ll still need to get to Aspen, which may cost some dough, but gather a crew of pals, go in on an Airbnb or hotel, and get ready for a good time. The bus in and around town is also free, and there are plenty of giveaways in the X Games village, so you’ll be sure to score. Some concerts do cost money though. Just a heads up.

You Can Claim It

Who doesn’t get satisfaction in saying “I’ve been there”? Just going to the Games makes you official. Make sure to take lots of pictures, post Instabangers and Snapchat’s of the chaos, and claim every second you can. And you just never know when a rider will throw down a trick or run for first-time that goes down in history. Don’t take it for granted. Relish the moment. Get into it. Keep a positive attitude and you’re sure to have an incredible time.

You’ll Meet Your Favorite Pros

All the competitors do autograph signings and can be seen strolling around town, at the local coffee shops, and bars late-night. At the base village, you can find when you’re favorite pro will be hanging to get that selfie, or, you can always lurk around the riders tent and wait for him or her to come out to the course. Shaun White, Mark McMorris, Jamie Anderson, Danny Davis, Stale Sanbech and many more. They'll all be there. Good luck!

It’s Aspen

Aspen is by far one of the best places in the U.S. to ride and party. Not to mention it’s absolutely stunning. It’s such a sweet town to walk around in, with great people-watching. While the cliche is that’s it’s stuffy and over-priced, during Winter X it’s filled with thousands of like-minded snow sports lovers, and there are plenty of places to eat and drink that won’t cost you a small fortune. The event has been held there since 2002 and is contracted through 2019. There has to be a solid reason for that and it’s because Aspen is the best.

For 2016, Winter X added another location in Oslo, Norway set for the end of February. The Euro's are the definition of badass riders who know how to party, so it's gonna be one heck of a time. 

The Parties Are Epic

If you know how to work it, you can get into some great parties. All kinds of companies like Red Bull, Monster, Oakley, and ESPN throw gatherings around town. Some are "private", but if you talk to the right people, or are a hot babe, then you can likely work your way in, and drink free booze til dawn. Every bar though is usually going off during the Games, so don’t fret if you can’t make it past the velvet rope, you’re sure to get in the door somewhere awesome.