Fresh pipe walls are good for stalefish. John Hemminger hooks one at Buttermilk, Colorado. PHOTO: Zach Hooper

Fresh pipe walls are good for stalefish. John Hemminger hooks one at Buttermilk, Colorado. PHOTO: Zach Hooper

2. Buttermilk, Colorado

Even if you’ve never been to Buttermilk, you know the pipe is extraordinary. Why? Because this is the very spot where Shaun White smashed his face on the lip last season, only to come back and stomp the double McTwist, and where Gretchen Bleiler edged out Kelly Clark by a mere percentage of a point to take the gold in front of her hometown crowd. And you probably saw it all.

As the celebrated stage for the X Games, this snow sculpture is truly top of the line. SPT special-agents Frank Wells and Mike Binnell show up in mid-December to help Buttermilk pipe cutters Yannick Rioux and Dylan Cox build it out in time for the Christmas crowd-and that cold high-country snow makes great pipe-building material. Once built, it sits at an impressive 570 feet long and 22 feet high. Few resorts can swing dimensions like this-they demand the kind of big-league resources that only come with an event like Winter X. However, the X Games only eat up two weeks-the rest of the winter, this baby is yours for the taking.

www.aspensnowmass.com/parks