LaVallee wins speed and style gold |

LaVallee wins speed and style gold

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Levi LaVallee from Longville, Minn. flies his Snowmobile through the air during the final Speed and Style competition on Thursday, Jan. 24,2008 at the winter X Games at Buttermilk Ski area, near Aspen, Colo. LaVallee placed first in this new event for these games. (AP Photo/Nathan Bilow)

ASPEN ” With freestyle snowmobiling becoming so popular, the Winter X Games added a new event for this year: speed and style.

It’s a combination of snocross racing and freestyle, with two riders taking off at the same time and crisscrossing through the two courses. They do two laps, hitting jumps and backflips on the freestyle course, then race around the snocross course, splitting points between style and speed.

Based on the first go-round, it’s going to be around for a while.

“It took a little bit of adjusting; the riders and ESPN were changing the course a little bit in practice. We got it where it was pretty close, and it worked out well,” said Levi LaVallee, speed and style’s inaugural gold medalist. “As far as the future, I think you’ll see more freestyle guys trying to do snocross, and more snocross guys trying to tricks. The more guys that try out for it the better the event will be.”

LaVallee faced Sam Rogers in the finals with heavy snow falling, snapping off a backflip on the inaugural jump on the freestyle course and was faster around the snocross course, earning 91 points. Rogers finished with 82.07 points.

“It’s a cool thing to combine two sports like that,” LaVallee said. “To win it, the first one, it’s super cool for me.”

(Thursday, Jan. 24)

1. Levi LaVallee, 108, Longville, Minn.

2. Sam Rogers, 922, Billings, Mont.

3. Joe Parsons, 700, Yakima, Wash.

4. Heath Frisby, 270, Caldwill, Idaho

5. Paul Thacker, 11, Anchorage, Alaska

6. Steve Martin, 12, Evanston, Wyo.

7. Chris Burandt, 211, Kremmling, Colo.

8. Cory Davis, 160, Soldotna, Ark.

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