Photos by Heather Rousseau, www.hrousseau.com
Saturday’s crowd at Winter X Games 14 broke the event’s all time one-day attendance record, with an estimated 34,400 people coming through the gates at Buttermilk during the day.
This feat was likely achieved because of 50 Cent’s early afternoon performance, which brought more people to the venue early than anyone had ever seen before that early in the day. While there has always been some live music on the awards stage at Winter X, never has an artist as big as 50 Cent appeared at Buttermilk. The whole scene harkened back to the good old days when the X Games were marked by two huge concerts on Friday and Saturday nights in downtown Aspen that were free and open to the public. These shindigs in Wagner Park were venues for artists such as Damien Marley and Common, but ESPN pulled the plug two years ago, choosing instead to focus all its energies on the event itself at Buttermilk.
The crowd died down a bit after Fiddy’s performance, but it never felt all that quiet. As evening approached, the event swelled again. With the snowboard big air contest and hometown girl Gretchen Bleiler going for — and getting — the gold in the snowboard superpipe competition, thousand came, braving the cold. Another successful peak day of X Games.