Michael Appelgate
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

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January 24, 2013
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Let the games begin

ASPEN - New records will be made, and winning streaks are almost guaranteed to be broken.

But what will make this year's Winter X Games exciting is what new tricks the athletes will land.

At the introductory news conference Wednesday afternoon at Buttermilk, 10 of the top athletes in the games spoke about the building anticipation to competition and the way the courses are constructed this year. The jumps look as daunting as ever, and the big-air jump towers over the others.

"The lip looks huge, and the landing looks super long and steep," big-air skiing competitor Bobby Brown said. "Last year it was pretty flat, and the jump wasn't amazing for skiers. ... This will probably be the craziest big air the X Games has seen yet."

Snowmobile snocross makes its return to the games after a one-year absence, and Tucker Hibbert, of Pelican Rapids, Minn., is looking to win his sixth consecutive gold medal.

"For me, it's been a part of my life, and to have that taken away from you last year, it was a bummer," Hibbert said. "It's the most important event of the year. For me to have a chance at the six-peat is an honor. It's a good opportunity, and I want to make the best of it."

The consummate gold medalist, Shaun White, also will compete for his sixth straight snowboard superpipe gold medal and will attempt a double-gold performance in the slopestyle competition.

"Trick for trick, I don't know how it will go down with rails, jumps and cannons. There's all sorts of stuff," White said. "It'll come down to variation."

Variation is what White is known for - with what he wears during competition and his pioneering tricks.

For his main event, the superpipe, all eyes will be on the Carlsbad, Calif., product to match his perfect-score performance a year ago.

"I feel the pressure to be someone doing new tricks," he said. "I show up here with the eyeballs on me all the time, and I have to be prepared for that.

"I've never really aimed for a perfect score, and I'm not really aiming for it this year."

Today, White and his superpipe competitors will face the elimination round at 7 p.m. So will Basalt's Torin Yater-Wallace and the men's skiing superpipe competitors at 10:30 a.m.

David Wise, 21, looks to defend his gold medal against a host of young competitors in the skiing superpipe, including 17-year-old Yater-Wallace and fellow former Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club member Alex Ferreira.

"You have to watch out for Torin Yater-Wallace. He always will ski well in finals, and he's a contest rider for sure," Wise said. "All of us feed off of competition. You have to land your best thing you can do right now. It's not like you can go out and film with your buddy and do four runs and hopefully one of them is good."

Today also features the high-flying snowmobile freestyle event at 7:30

p.m.

mappelgate@aspentimes.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Jan 24, 2013 02:13AM Published Jan 24, 2013 02:11AM Copyright 2013 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.