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The X Factor: Behind the Scenes Recap of the Winter X Games

Another X Games is behind us; let's review, shall we? Curbed Ski was there for all prodigal athletic talent, crashes, and concerts and we have the low-down on the less-publicized highlights of what goes down when X Gamer's need to blow off steam. In the spirit of competition, we've created our own awards. Keep reading to find out who threw the best house party, which X Games cocktail dominated the drinking scene, and which kickass concert blew us away.

Best house party: It may be a competition, but what would winter sports be without camaraderie? Nowhere was "sharing the stoke" more in evidence than the infamous after-hours "Target House" party. Always held in a different, super-secret private venue, this year's upper-double-digit million-dollar mansion had a foyer designed to resemble a red-light ice cave. Attendees were asked to remove their shoes, and Minnetonka moccasion-wielding attendants dispensed slippers. The sight of dozens of world-class athletes (including past Olympians) kicking it in a basement game room while wearing slippers was priceless, as was the handstand comp (natch) that ensued. Don't even attempt to play Foosball with this crew.

Favorite guest appearance: The alpine gear-clad Travelocity "Roaming Gnome," who even had his own pair of custom skis.

Best see-and-be-seen dinner: The hopping scene at spendy hot spot Kenichi was X Games central. Athletes, agents, ESPN employees and other extreme sports peeps caught up over nigiri and beers. No attitude, just like-minded folks appreciating their industry. One to watch: 14-year-old skateboarder/Summer X Games competitor Alex Midler. Not only he is adorable and gracious, but he knows how to work a crowd better than most adults.

Best X Games cocktail: The Firecrotch, created by Chefs Club bar director Anthony Bohlinger (of Make Your Own Manhattan fame). The drink pays homage to Shaun White and Curbed Ski has re-dubbed it the Flip-floppin' Firecrotch, due to White's 11th hour decision to not compete in the X Games. Made with a Sombra mescal "wash," Milagro tequila, ginger (get it?), Three Little Figs Citrus & Smoked Salt marmalade, fresh grapefruit and lime juice, pickle brine, and finally garnished with citron sea salt and a grapefruit twist. Shaken and served up, it's a smoky, heady libation that will kick your ass. Other drinks we'd like to see: the Dirty Levi [LaVallee] Martini; The Gaper (well Long Island Iced Tea, no water chasers), and the The Grom (unaged white whiskey mixed with Monster Energy Drink®).

Best bar quote, overheard at Jimmy's: "I hate the way it tastes, but I love the way it makes me feel." Next time, try ordering top shelf spirits.

Best worst pick-up line, speaking of Jimmy's: From a hexagenarian male sporting a honkin' wedding ring, "Whaddaya say we go out on the patio and smoke some weed, then head back to your place for a good time?"

Best concert: VIP tent at the Wagner Park Phoenix show. The band killed it, but the free (and free-flowing) Woody Creek Distillers spirits (one of our best ski town distilleries) and heaping buffet table of Hickory House bbq were equally epic. That poached set list is a nice keepsake, too.

Most emotional X Games sport: Adaptive Sno-cross. Try not getting teary-eyed watching these bad-asses rip the track and catch air.

Best tribute: Freestyle snowmobiler Colten Moore winning the gold, exactly one year after the tragic death of his brother Caleb at last winter's X Games.

That's it! It's a wrap. Until next year, X Games.
-By Laurel Miller

· All X Games Coverage [Curbed Ski Archives]