The nXt generation at Winter X
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” The Winter X Games head to Aspen for the 12th edition of the annual high-flying extreme sports showcase on Jan. 24-27. Here’s a few of the up-and-coming riders to keep an eye on:
21 and 17, snowboarders ” Jamie was the youngest competitor in Winter X history when she competed as a 13-year-old in 2004 and won Winter X gold in slopestyle last year. Not to be outdone by lil’ sis, Joanie won snowboarder X last year after a silver two years earlier.
17, snowboarder ” This diminutive (5-foot-4, 130 pounds) Japanese rider burst onto the scene in 2007, winning four times and finishing atop the FIS World Cup standings. Making his Winter X debut.
16, snowboarder ” A high school junior from Vermont, Beerman has already competed in FIS World Cup events and has a cache of moves that includes back-to-back 720s.
19, snowboarder ” An established rider who just missed the 2006 U.S. Olympic Team, Davis seems to be on the cusp of blowing up after a pair of top-10 finishes at last year’s Winter X Games.
23, snowmobiler ” The Idaho native has been at the forefront of the freestyle snowmobile movement and came back from a broken back to win bronze at last year’s Winter X.
16, snowboarder ” A member of the U.S. Snowboard Team, this high school junior from Connecticut became the first female rider to stomp a backside 900 in quarterpipe competition at Lake Placid last year.
18, skier ” This Scandinavian freeski jumper is known for holding his grabs longer than anyone else. He’s piled up podiums over the past year, including a pair of wins in Europe and a second at the U.S. Open.
19 and 17, snowboarders ” These siblings have been shredding since before their teens. Luke was a national slopestyle and superpipe champion in 2002 and Jack was third at the 2006 World Superpipe Championships. Both are making their Winter X debuts.
23, snowmobiler ” This Norwegean rider had never attempted a backflip on a snowmobile before December 2006, then pulled it off at the Winter X Games a month later to take silver.
19, snowmobiler ” An accomplished backcountry rider, Parsons had an impressive snocross season in 2005-06 and has been just as good since switching to freestyle last year. Making his Winter X debut.
20, snowboarder ” Already a seasoned pro with podium finishes in Europe, New Zealand and the U.S., the Vermont rider will be the only snowboarder to compete in superpipe, slopestyle and big air.
21, skier ” The Canadian high-flyer is known for his clean runs and has hit the podium eight times over the last year, including gold in superpipe, slopestyle and superhit (one trick) at the World Skiing Invitational.
19, snowboarder ” At 5-foot-5, 150 pounds, Vito isn’t the biggest rider, but he’s got the moves of a veteran, with four second-place finishes in 2007.
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There is a lot of pent up energy among hikers and bikers to get into the high country, but snow fields, avalanche debris and high stream crossings are presenting challenges later than usual. Forest rangers with the Aspen-Sopris District provide trail condition reports that are updated each week so hikers and backpackers aren’t caught unaware.