Boy, talk about last minute. I’m posting this as the Ski SuperPipe eliminations are going on… though I wrote this out earlier in the day.
I actually wasn’t going to do predictions because I only watched half of the X Games last year and haven’t kept up with the scene too closely. Then I remembered that I did see the Olympics and parts of the Dew Tour. Also my Olympics predictions weren’t too far off so I’m thinking why not give it a shot. This time, I’m just sticking to gold medalists and freeskiing and snowboarding (nothing against snowmobiling and monoskier X, but the news just hasn’t been at my fingertips). Ready for the list? Let’s go!
Women’s Skier X – Ashleigh McIvor
Ophélie David is looking to become the second Winter X athlete to five-peat, but Ashleigh McIvor is ready to dethrone her. She won both the World Cup and Olympics last year, and she definitely has the drive to add an X Games gold to that collection.
Men’s Skier X – Chris del Bosco
After crashing at the Olympics, Chris del Bosco is looking for redemption… and another X Games gold. He has the speed and skill, and with his Olympics competition not present, it should be smooth sailing (well, as smooth as Skier X can be).
Women’s Ski Slopestyle – Kaya Turski
Last year, Kaya Turski won every contest she entered. Moreover, she scored more than 11 points higher than second place at last year’s Winter X. She might have spent the past few months recovering from surgery, but Kaya isn’t afraid to go big.
Men’s Ski Slopestyle – Bobby Brown
The new name that strikes fear and awe in the hearts of freeskiers is Bobby Brown. The X Games rookie took home not one, but two gold medals. This year, with a few more victories under his belt and his biggest competitors out from injury, nothing is going to stop him.
Women’s Ski SuperPipe – Jen Hudak
Jen Hudak is going to battle it out with a driven Sarah Burke, but she’s got an edge: a 1080. Although she didn’t medal at Breckenridge, the first stop of the 2011 Dew Tour, you can count her on being physically and mentally ready to defend her title.
Men’s Ski SuperPipe – Simon Dumont
Ski SuperPipe competitors and fans alike know that you won’t like Simon Dumont when he’s angry, and losing makes him REALLY angry. Having lost to Kevin Rolland at last year’s Winter X Games and the latest Dew Tour stop, he is going to blast through the pipe with his signature high airs and stomp all his tricks.
Skiing Big Air – Bobby Brown
My pick had been TJ Schiller since he’s one of the few who can pull a 1620 (that’s a whopping 4 1/2 rotations), but he’s injured. Also, based on last year’s competition, the judges love technical tricks, of which Bobby Brown is the master.
Women’s Snowboarder X – Helene Olafson
Lindsey Jacobellis is another racer looking for redemption, but Helene Olafson no longer wants to be the bridesmaid. Last year, she produced consistent results, and this year she is looking to better performance.
Men’s Snowboarder X – Seth Wescott
The X Games gold has eluded Seth Wescott for years. I’m thinking his time has come. Of course, he’ll face tough competition from Nick Baumgartner, Graham Watanabe, and five-time champ Nate Holland, but we are talking about a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle – Jamie Anderson
Jamie Anderson is like the Bobby Brown of slopestyle. She has been on fire this year, killing the competition at both Dew Tour stops with her rail combos. She definitely has the trick repertoire to upgrade from last year’s silver.
Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle – Eric Willett
Eric Willet has amazing double corks, and he can even do them switch. His biggest competition, Torstein Horgmo, re-injured himself last week at Killington, which might make his bigger tricks hard to pull. Thus if Eric can pull a solid run together, he can find himself on top.
Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe – Kelly Clark
Although Torah Bright has been the one topping the headlines and podiums, she may be a little off focus with competing at Slopestyle this year. Kelly Clark may not be as technical or have the Crippler, but she has a grab bag of 540 and 720 variations (and a frontside 900) that the judges will definitely like.
Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe – Shaun White
Shaun White has a huge target on his back, but he go so much bigger that all the riders have been spending the past year trying to play catch up. If he throws down the Tomahawk (double McTwist 1260), it’s all over. I’m calling the SuperPipe podium right now: Shaun White, Louie Vito, and Iouri Podladtcikov.
Snowboarding Big Air – Torstein Horgmo
Yes, he is injured, but he said he was “stupid” enough to go big anyway. The sick tricks he threw in the Slopestyle finals at Killington proved it. I’m not sure he can make a repeat performance in Slopestyle, but he will pull out all the stops for one trick (or two or three) in Big Air.