Guts Against Gravity

Winter X Games Nine steams up Buttermilk.

THURS, 1/27

ESPN and its Winter X Games Nine spike Buttermilk Mountain with a gut-flipping dose of adrenaline today through Tuesday, February 1. Athletes will push the limits of gravity and sanity during the high-energy event -- the athletic equivalent of pouring monster shots of Red Bull and Stoli onto what is usually Aspen's creamiest mountain.

The Games feature motorcross, ski, snowboard and snowmobile events, along with UltraCross, a relay featuring the top sixteen Skier X and Boarder X competitors screaming down a course of jumps, banked turns and rollers. Unlike Skier X and Boarder X -- in which six athletes compete simultaneously for one lap in a roller-derby-meets-Warren Miller-on-fast-forward race -- UltraCross sends skiers down first; they tag their snowboarder teammates, who then finish the race. "These guys go all out," says Ryan McGuinness, an X Games spokesman. "It's a second chance for people who didn't do as well as they expected in their individual events."

Snow is the launching pad of the brave at the X 
Games.
Snow is the launching pad of the brave at the X Games.

In the Moto X Best Trick contest, competitors launch their motorcycles over 45-, 75- or 90-foot gaps in a snow jump, flipping and twisting with their machines. According to McGuinness, the event is "revolutionizing freestyle riding." In previous competitions, riders landed backflips for the first time. In one particularly wild move, a rider let go of his bike, did a flip in the air, then got back on his machine in midair and touched down. "Best Trick is definitely extreme," McGuinness confirms.

Access to the X Games is free. Best Trick and UltraCross run on Sunday, January 30. For a complete schedule, go to www.expn.go.com. -- Shara Rutberg

The Outdoors Indoors
Have a reel good time at the Sportsmen's Expo.
THURS, 1/27

Get ready to equip your inner outdoor animal at the 28th annual International Sportsmen's Expo.

Sure, it's about sports, but sometimes there's a primitive urge to test yourself against nature. Or maybe just fish. Starting today at the Colorado Convention Center and continuing through Sunday, you can do just that -- at a fly-casting pond and a giant aquarium filled with live trout -- and much, much more.

The show will include more than 500 exhibitors offering on-site seminars, product try-outs and the opportunity to talk to some of the best outdoor experts around.

"This expo is the outdoors from A to Z," says spokesman John Kirk. "It's perfect for those who want to get started or for those who have been in the outdoors their whole life."

And if you find your survival weapon of choice, go ahead and spend. Visitors can buy knives, fishing rods, footwear and apparel, all at a discount.

The convention center is at 700 14th Street. Admission is $10 for adults, free for children twelve and under. For more information, call 1-800-545-6100 or visit www.sportsexpos.com.

 
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