Steamboat veteran, up-and-comer set to compete at Winter X |

Steamboat veteran, up-and-comer set to compete at Winter X

Luke Graham Steamboat Pilot & TodayAspen, CO Colorado
Contributed photo/Steamboat Pilot & TodayErin Simmons, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., holds her 6-month-old son, Jett. Simmons is returning to the Winter X Games in Aspen this year after taking last year off. Simmons has won three silver medals in 2001, 2002 and 2005 in boardercross.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. Maddy Schaffrick and Erin Simmons are at opposite ends of their Winter X Games careers.Schaffrick is the next big thing on a snowboard. The 14-year-old Steamboat Springs resident will be the youngest competitor Thursday when she enters the superpipe prelims in Aspen at Winter X Games 13. She jetted onto the scene earlier this year when she finished fourth at her first snowboarding Grand Prix event.Simmons, also of Steamboat, will be making a comeback of sorts. After sitting out last years games because she was pregnant, Simmons is returning to boardercross for the eighth, and potentially final, time.Its exciting, said Simmons, who won silver medals at the 2001, 2002 and 2005 Winter X Games. I say a little nervous, too, because I dont know how my body will do. Definitely having been there before, I can feel more comfortable. I know the venue, I know all the people, and I know what to expect. I go into it like its another fun event.Schaffrick, on the other hand, cant believe she is at the X Games. Despite strong performances the past two years against some of the top snowboarders in the world, Schaffrick said she was taken back during Tuesdays training day.Right now, I feel like Im in a dream. I cant believe its happening, Schaffrick said. I remember when I was 10 I would be like, I want to get there one day. Maybe when Im 20. Now Im 14, and Im there. Its unbelievable.For Simmons, who will be accompanied to Aspen by her 6-month-old son, Jett, and husband, Cactus, this X Games could be her last. She said she started training right after giving birth. While the 2006 Olympian wouldnt completely rule out attempting to make a run at the 2010 games, she said this event is more for her son.I hate to say it, but 2010, Id love to do it, Simmons said. Its such a commitment. I think Ill be a spectator at the 2010 games. If I wanted to go, Id have to get on the tour now and go, go, go. Thats not something my heart is into.The X Games begin Thursday and run through Sunday. Other athletes with ties to Steamboat who are expected to compete include Chris Burandt (snowmobile freestyle) and Roger Carver (boardercross). Kim Krahulec was invited to compete in womens boardercross, but she wont compete because of an injury.Carver will be making his first appearance at the X Games after three years on the alternate list. While the course doesnt necessarily set up well for him, he like most of the others said hes just looking forward to competing on one of winters biggest stages.I just want to go as far as I can possibly go, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club member said. Most of all, Im having fun racing. Everything is

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