Feb 022005
 
Authors: Nick Piburn

Sporting spectacles are all events generally enjoyed by the masses by way of television, but they're generally not accessible live to the masses, especially in Colorado.

This year is somewhat different though, as the Pepsi Center will host the NBA all-star game later this month. Unfortunately, the chance of a college student getting a ticket to that without Denver Nuggets season tickets is about as good as Arnold Palmer's chances of winning the Masters in 2005.

With that spectacle shinning mostly for Hollywood, the perfect place for the college student to enjoy such an event is to travel more than four hours away from Fort Collins at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen.

The ESPN Winter X Games are an unbelievably affordable and accessible extreme-sports marvel catered to the young generation of winter-sports enthusiasts, and by the way, spectacle doesn't begin to describe the games.

Getting into the games is free, parking is free and bus rides are free, which is incredible considering it's easily worth as much as a full day of skiing. Just seeing Shaun White throw a McTwist 5 feet away, followed up by a Tanner Hall 1080 60 yards away is worth the trip. Standing on the rail half way up the half pipe is the place to be in Colorado for four straight days.

The athletes are among the best in the world, and they're fearless. Last year two athletes went down with major injuries – Moto X Best Trick competitor Brian Deegan with two broken legs and White with an MCL tear – and came back to win gold medals in 2005. In Aspen, fearless is flying 25 feet in the air, sailing 40 feet down the pipe while trying to spot the landing, all while completing three full rotations and grabbing your ski. Imagine seeing that level of fearlessness every five minutes. It never gets old.

You will catch yourself being as redundant as possible: "This is so cool, this is so cool." It's all right though; you're not the only person in that boat, or snowmobile for that matter.

Maybe the best part about the games is the type of athletes these women and men are. They're not holding out for more money or complaining about feeding their families with just a multi-million dollar paycheck. The total purse for the Snowboard Slopestyle was around $60,000.

Granted, the athletes all receive sweet sponsor checks, but it's refreshing to see athletes compete for more than the money. Plus each and every one of them is putting their careers on the line every time they compete.

The athletes also love to be in Aspen to compete in the games.

"This is the event I've been wanting to do well in for a long time, so I'm loving it," said Men's Snowboard Half Pipe runner-up Andy Finch to expn.com. With the athletes pushing harder and higher and trying to be the best on every run, the excitement is at a constant climax.

With this being the first major professional sporting event I've attended, I couldn't have asked for more, other than two days off of class to see the entire four days of madness.

Nick Piburn is a sophomore technical journalism major. He is a sports reporter for the Collegian.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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