Attendance at the four-day Winter X Games hit a new record of 114,500 this year, with Saturday’s crowd of 47,200 breaking the single-day high mark for spectators at the Buttermilk Mountain venue, according to event officials.
This marks the third-straight year that X Games total crowd numbers have broken six figures. The second highest total ever was in 2011, when 114,200 spectators came to Buttermilk, while attendance last year was 108,000.
Crowd estimates are generated by calculating the number of people who ride public transportation to the venue. With parking at Buttermilk limited to permit holders, busses are the only way the vast majority of spectators have to get to the X Games. As such, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, supplemented by other regional transit agencies that help out over the busy weekend, runs dozens of buses an hour to and from the games.
The Brush Creek intercept lot, where people traveling to X Games from downvalley are encouraged to park, was full between about 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday.
On Sunday, 31,500 people came through the venue, as a free concert by DJ Major Lazer packed the venue around 4:30 p.m., and the men’s snowboard superpipe closed the night out. The crowd topped last year’s Sunday turnout, which was 26,800, according to event officials.
Saturday’s numbers were bumped up thanks to a free performance by chart-topping DJ Calvin Harris, who went on at 4:30 p.m. There was also the women’s snowboarding superpipe final and men’s skiing big air final in the evening.
Saturday’s record-breaking number was higher than last year’s Saturday total of 45,600, which at the time was the single-day record. Friday’s attendance of 22,300 was higher than last year’s Friday total of 20,500. Thursday’s crowd of 13,500 was smaller than last year’s Thursday total of 15,100, according to event officials.
Alex Burchetta with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office said the large crowds were generally well behaved. The number of people who were so drunk they had to be taken to a makeshift detox center in Aspen was less than a half dozen as of early evening Sunday, he said, adding that security personnel was focused on keeping people from sneaking alcohol into the venue. Gatekeepers were also on the lookout for people who were visibly intoxicated, Burchetta said.
“It’s not a suitable environment for someone who has a high level of impairment or intoxication to be walking around in the snow,” he said.
There were a couple of minor in possession of alcohol arrests at Saturday night’s private party at the Sundeck on Aspen Mountain, Burchetta noted.
“It’s been a great event,” he said. “Everything went really well.”