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Winter X Games 14: Riding the bus
Written By: Curtis Wackerle

         This could only happen during X Games.

         The 2 a.m. run of Aspen’s Hunter Creek bus, which serves most of the affordable housing neighborhoods in town, was set to take off from the main downtown bus depot. But there was perhaps a lighter crowd than one might expect over X Games, where bus ridership essentially doubles with the influx into town with more than 150,000 rides given over four days, according to the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, the local public transit provider.

         The bus approaches the first stop, right in the center of town, where more riders await. But the driver isn’t slowing down. He blows by the stop completely, as a confused roar builds from inside the bus and delirious would-be riders begin chasing the bus down the street.

         Next, the bus driver turns off the designated bus route, heading back through town.

         “Turn right!” one rider shouts, trying to convince the driver to head the wrong way down a one-way street. Would’ve been perfect, but didn’t happen.

         The driver returns to the main bus station where the ride began and promptly exits the bus, rushing into the crowd of people still milling about. Is he drunk? Drug deal gone awry? No one knows and we sit there for about five minutes.

         Finally, the driver gets back on the bus and we try this thing again. On the second pass, more people get on and by the third stop, the bus is jammed full, standing room only. Maybe this was the idea in the first place — the bus was just too empty for X Games, and the RFTA gods intervened. Still doesn’t completely explain how a bus driver misses a stop on his route though.

         The bus in Aspen during X games is quite the experience. The area already has probably the most extensive public transportation network of any ski community, with free busses running in Aspen and Snowmass until 2 a.m. and busses traveling as far as 90 miles to the town of Rifle. But during X Games, the community brings in even more busses from Vail and Rocky Mountain National Park to ferry the masses to and from Buttermilk. All you can do is pack in there like sardines and hope you don’t get puked on. That's actually great advice for anything X Games related.

 

 

Photo by Heather Rousseau, www.hrousseau.com

 


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