What to watch for | AspenTimes.com

What to watch for

Michael Appelgate
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
Jim Ryan / Special to the Aspen TimesA participant in the Winter X Games practices on the slopestyle course Wednesday afternoon at Buttermilk.

Elimination: 10:30 a.m. today; finals: 8:45 p.m. Friday.

It’s tough to call any favorite for the men’s skiing superpipe event, nor is there any shortage of story lines to follow in the elimination round or in the final.

Start with Basalt’s Torin Yater-Wallace: After claiming podium spots in his only two X Games appearances, the 17-year-old is coming off shoulder surgery, and his expectations are lower this year.

Then there’s Tanner Hall: The seven-time X Games gold medalist hasn’t competed since 2009 after suffering a serious knee injury and then becoming addicted to painkillers.

Defending gold medalist David Wise is back, and 2010 and 2011 gold medalist Kevin Rolland also is looking to return to the podium.

Finals: 6:30 p.m. Friday.

In the wake of Sarah Burke’s death, fellow Canadian freeskier Roz Groenewoud posted the highest score in event history and dedicated the win to Burke. Groenewoud will compete with silver medalist Maddie Bowman and bronze medalist Brita Sigourney, who was the only competitor last year to land a 1080.

Elimination: 1 p.m. Friday; finals: noon Saturday.

It’s almost difficult not to see Tom Wallisch on any advertisement dealing with skiing in the past year, and with good reason – Wallisch won gold last year with a score of 96, the highest in event history.

He will go for back-to-back gold medals but should receive a fair challenge from last year’s silver medalist Nick Goepper, from Indiana, and defending big-air gold medalist Bobby Brown, who won the slopestyle event in 2010 and the gold medal in the 2012 X Games Europe.

Finals: 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Kaya Turski will compete for her fourth straight gold medal, and at first glance, it would appear that the Canadian will be another lock for the top spot.

Last year, she landed the event’s first switch 1080 on the final jump of her last run.

Bronze medalist and former Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard club member Anna Segal should push Turski to land the trick again.

Women’s snowboard slopestyle

Finals: 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

All three medalists are back, and this year’s conditions promise to be better than last year’s.

Jamie Anderson was the only competitor to deal successfully with new snow that fell the night before the final. She nailed a 1080 on her final run with the gold medal already locked up for a 95.33 – the highest score in event history. The win was her third gold medal in the X Games and sixth overall.

Elimination: 1 p.m. today; finals: noon Saturday.

This might be one of the most hotly contested events of the week as last year’s double gold medalist Mark McMorris faces off against Shaun White.

Sebastien Toutant, the 2011 gold medalist in slopestyle and silver medalist in the big-air competition, will return after not claiming a podium spot in last year’s slopestyle.

White dropped out of the event last year after suffering a sprained ankle in practice. The Californian won double gold in the slopestyle and superpipe events in 2009.

Finals: 7:15 p.m. Saturday.

Kelly Clark already has three gold and three silver medals from the X Games, and she is looking for more.

She made history last year by claiming the first-ever back-to-back gold medals in superpipe, and she intends to make it three straight. Clark was the first woman to land a 1080 two years ago and since then has been pushed to stay at the top by Elena Hight and Kaitlyn Farrington.

Snowmass Village’s Gretchen Bleiler is still recovering from a broken eye socket she suffered in the summer while training with Clark in Park City, Utah. It’s been a long road back for the four-time X Games gold medalist, but at age 31, she might have something left in the tank to challenge Clark.

Elimination: 7 p.m. today; finals: 7:45 p.m. Sunday.

Can anyone match what he does?

The question isn’t “Can anyone beat him?” But can any competitor soar as high out of the pipe as Shaun White and perform the tricks he performs?

White will compete for his sixth consecutive X Games gold Sunday in an event that he has become synonymous with for pushing the envelope. Last year, the Carlsbad, Calif., product landed the sport’s first-ever frontside double cork 1260 in his third run – something that White invented just four days prior in training. The near-flawless performance earned him the sport’s first perfect score.

He did it while nursing a sprained ankle that forced him to drop out of the snowboard slopesyle event.

If there’s anyone who can push White, it’s Swiss competitor Iouri Podladtchikov.

Last year, Podladtchikov pressured White by scoring two runs in the 90s.


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