Jan 312006
Authors: Scott Bondy

It was almost meant to be. Generation X smothered the Winter X Games X (10). And if you weren't there, I ask: Why?

For 10 years the Winter Games have wowed audiences time and again. This year was no exception.

It was my second trip to Aspen to watch some of the most talented, daring and impressive athletes in the world. I use the word impressive because no dunk, touchdown catch or home run has impressed me as much as a Switch-1440 (four full rotations) on skis.

Getting tackled by a 300-pound lineman seems insignificant compared to a 60-foot kicker jump.

These athletes are nuts. They defy gravity, show little, if any, regard for their bodies and do it in freezing conditions.

Take the legendary Shaun White. I'm not sure there's anything he can't do. He executed three 1080s in his last run on the Superpipe on Monday night, and that wasn't even his most impressive feat of the weekend. On Saturday afternoon he completed the second four-peat in X Games history, winning the Snowboarding Slopestyle with a breathtaking run featuring two cab-1080s. At 19 years old, he has already tied Shaun Palmer for most Winter X Games medals with six.

But it's not just about the athletes; it's about the X Games' culture as well. Each year they draw thousands of people from all over the world, many of which are college students. People actually travel to freeze their butts off for five straight days of action. If you've ever been, you know why.

To start, the Games are free. Public transportation and all the events don't cost a thing. Second, they give you things just for going. Between all the raffles and giveaways, kids couldn't see where they were going because their loot was piled so high. My list could go on and on.

Even better, the party doesn't stop after the lights go out on Buttermilk Mountain. The free buses transport hundreds of people into town. Between all the restaurants, bars and concerts, there's more than enough going on.

One of the highlights for me was the free concerts as well as the chance to hang out in Aspen. Damian Marley was the featured show Saturday night, but his opening band, Flipsyde, rocked the downtown area. Everyone seemed to have a blast. From age 6 to 60, the Games didn't disappoint.

And if you haven't been able to make that 4-hour drive to Aspen yet, don't worry. The Winter X Games will be there through 2010.

Scott Bondy is the Collegian's associate managing editor for sports and special sections. He can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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