Posts Tagged ‘boardercross’

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is currently hosting a special exhibit called 2theXtreme: MathAlive!  It combines math, science, and engineering with action sports, design, and pop culture.  In other words, quoting the MathAlive! site, it “answer[s] the age-old question: ‘Will I ever use all this math they’re teaching us?'”  Last month, I got to check it as part of the museum’s adult-only Social Science event, which also featured a BMX demo.

Even though MathAlive! is designed for a younger audience, it still contains some fun hands-on activities and educational tidbits for adults.  Unfortunately we’re too big to enjoy the rock climbing wall and comfortably sit on the stationary bike (I have short legs and it was still awkward for me).  Several of the games seemed easy, but they still required some thinking.  This is a math exhibit after all!

My favorite part of the exhibit was the skateboard design challenge.  You selected board length, truck placement, and wheel size in order to create the ideal board for an ollie.  While it could have used a better explanation as to why a design failed, it was a cool way to look at a math problem.  My second favorite module was the 360-degree camera if only because I got this little souvenir:

Scattered throughout the exhibit were videos of people who use math, which range from engineers to video game designers to skateboarders.

I appreciated the diversity, particularly with the female scientists and engineers shown.  Women in math and science rarely get any face time, which negatively impacts girls thinking of getting into STEM fields. so I’m glad the exhibit is doing its part to promote equality.

The boardercross game should have been fun and easy, but the board was really rickety.  I didn’t utilize the rails because I wanted to emulate the real snowboarding experience.  Unfortunately I crashed too much in trying to get my balance.  Although it’s been over a decade since I stepped foot on a board, I can’t imagine my balance being that bad (I dance and still occasionally skateboard).  That was probably the most disappointing aspect of the exhibit for me.  Nevertheless the exhibit contained more ups than downs; just remember that it’s for kids and during regular hours, you’ll probably have to fight them to give each section a try.

Because I had to buy separate tickets for MathAlive!, I spent a lot of time there and didn’t get to see other aspects of Social Science.  I did catch the second freestyle BMX demo by BMX Pros Trick Team.  The riders have my admiration because not only did some of them come from doing demos all day at the State Fair, but they had to deal with low light and a moderately energetic (and somewhat inebriated) crowd.  Nevertheless, they still pulled out some of the big tricks.

DSC_1897

I tried to take photos, but it was too dark.

DSC_1928

Winter X had some scary wipe-outs, and updates on the athletes came sporadically following the Games.  I’ve decided to compile all the info I found on the injured athletes.

  • Lindsey Jacobellis (boardercross) – torn left ACL
  • Alex Schlopy (ski) – damage to meniscus
  • Wing Tai Barrymore (ski) – torn ACLs
  • Sammy Carlson (ski) – partially torn right ACL
  • Justin Dorey (ski) – partially dislocated left shoulder, contusions and bruising on right leg and both hips
  • Justin Hoyer (snowmobile) – broken right arm, broken left tibia and fibia

Caleb Moore (snowmobile) and Duncan Adams (ski) were also injured during practice.   If I remember the commentary, Caleb had a bruised tailbone.  There weren’t any specifics about Duncan’s crash other than that it led to him walking around on crutches during Winter X and sitting out on the last stop of the Dew Tour.

Speaking of the Dew Tour, the final contest in Snow Basin was last week.  Here are the winners of the Dew Cup, as well recipients of special awards.

  • Ski slopestyle – Kaya Turski and Tom Wallisch
  • Ski superpipe – Devin Logan and Kevin Rolland
  • Snowboard slopestyle – Spencer O’Brien and Sebastien Toutant
  • Snowboard superpipe – Kelly Clark and Louie Vito
  • Ballpark Rookie of the Year – Jake Aaronson (snowboard) and Alex Bellmare (ski)
  • Mitch Breakthrough Athlete of the Year – Devin Logan (ski) and Nick Goepper (ski)
  • Toyota Athlete of the Year – Kaya Turski, Tom Wallisch, Spencer O’Brien, and Kelly Clark

Even though the two biggest ski and snowboard events have wrapped up, there’s still plenty of action on the slopes.  Red Bull Supernatural will air March 31.  The invite-only contest devised by Travis Rice pit veterans like Terje Haakonsen against rising stars like Mark McMorris (and apparently makes ESPN reference Star Wars).

"Terje Haakonsen and Mark McMorris -- Obi-Wan and Luke. This is simultaneously the greatest example of the legend generation taking an interest in passing on knowledge to legends in the making, and just straight up adorable." - Danny Zapalac (ESPN)

The Legendary Mt. Baker Slalom also featured old school and new school competitors, as well as Kevin Pearce’s return to competition.  Freeskiiers will have their own back-country event with the Red Bull Cold Rush in a couple of weeks.

If you’ve felt left out when all your friends and co-workers talk fantasy football and basketball, come join me with a fantasy league that’s closer to our style: Fantasy Freeride League.  The site also gives you the latest news in freeskiing.

I don’t think I’ve had a harder time making predictions.  It’s not because I’ve added snowmobile events and taken more time to deliberate, but rather, everyone has stepped up their game.  Even though we’ve got some possible two- and three-peats, there are many challengers who have made a name for themselves in the past year.  To mix things up even more, injuries have taken several big names out of the competition.  There’s no doubt that the 2012 Winter X Games will be exciting to watch.

Women’s Skier X – Hedda Berntsen
The favorites are all out due to injury, but don’t count out Hedda Berntsen.  She won silver at the Olympics and has a background in multiple skiing disciplines that might just give her the extra edge.

Men’s Skier X – Chris del Bosco
Chris del Bosco definitely has the speed.  He was barely edged out for the gold last year, and he’s going to let that fuel his competitive spirit.

Women’s Ski Slopestyle – Kaya Turski
Although Kaya Turski is going to have some tough competition in her quest for a three-peat, she just came off a Dew Tour win at Killington.  Last March, she became the first woman to land a switch 1080, and she’s got a whole bunch of other technical tricks that will make her stand out.

Men’s Ski Slopestyle – Tom Wallisch
Tom Wallisch has been dominating the Dew Tour which his rail combos and back-to-back double corks.  He has a tendency to get it together at the last minute, but if that means he thrives under pressure, then he’ll be poised to take the win.

Women’s Ski SuperPipe – Brita Sigourney
Brita Sigourney had a great season last year, and she’s keeping the momentum going with a Grand Prix World Cup win and a third at Killington.  She’s got an arsenal of rotations and always packs in as many hits as possible.

Men’s Ski SuperPipe – Kevin Rolland
While Torin Yater-Wallace may be the It Boy and and the guy who can beat” Kevin Rolland, the two-time defending gold medalist is going to put up a fight.  He is one of the most consistent skiers around, and he links doubles like they’re nothing.

Ski Big Air – Bobby Brown
Last year, Bobby Brown was plagued with injury.  Now that he’s back in full health, watch him throw down some insane tricks… like possibly a variation on the triple cork (which he was the first skier to stomp).

Women’s Snowboarder X – Maëlle Ricker
Lindsey Jacobellis had been my pick until she tore her ACL in today’s practice.  This leaves the door for her rival (and Olympic gold medalist), Maëlle Ricker, to slide into a third X Games victory.

Men’s Snowboarder X – Nate Holland
Hot off an FIS World Cup win, Nate Holland is looking to reclaim the top spot.  He has the drive and the aggressive style that will send him to the lead.

Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle – Jamie Anderson
It was hard to pick a winner with so many awesome skiers in the field, but rail tricks are going separate out the best.  Jamie Anderson has the technical tricks, big spins, and smooth style that has brought her many victories already. 

Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle – Sebastian Toutant
Like the ladies, any of the guys could easily claim the top spot.  However, Sebastian Toutant has some of the biggest, cleanest tricks, and his recent second place finishes will be fuel for him to step up his game.

Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe – Kelly Clark
Recently, Kelly Clark has dominated women’s pipe the same way Shawn White has dominated men’s, winning the last twelve contests she has entered.  Although her competitors are starting to close the gap, she has hinted at new tricks that will make her stand out.

Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe – Iouri Podladtchikov
If there is one man who can end Shaun White’s reign, it is Iouri Podladtchikov.  He has one-upped Shaun’s double McTwist 1260 by doing it switch, and if he was playing it safe at last week’s competition (which he won), then he’s definitely got a winning run up his sleeve.

Snowboarding Big Air – Torstein Horgmo
Torstein Horgmo threw the first triple cork in competition while injured, and he was pissed… because the landing wasn’t perfect.  This is the type of competitor he is so while others have done the triple now, he’s likely to find something completely unexpected.

Freestyle Snowmobile – Heath Frisby
Freestyle gold had eluded Heath Frisby, but with favorites Levi Lavalle and Daniel Bodin injured (apparently one day apart from one another), this veteran and innovator has the opportunity to rise to the top. 

Snowmobile Best Trick – Caleb Moore
Last year, we got a taste of the insanity that the Moore brothers are capable of.  Caleb is a bit more skilled of the two, and not only does he have the creativity to come up with new tricks, but he also demonstrates the commitment to pull off combos.

I have a lot of catching up to do in terms of posting. It’s almost time for Winter X Europe and I have yet to recap what went down in Aspen. My sincerest apologies. It took me a while to decide what I ought to do for my Winter X recap, and then this weekend, inspiration struck.

I am looking back at my favorite moments of Winter X Games 15 Oscars style. Now this seems a little bizarre, but the Winter X is full of action, drama, surprises, carnage, tears, unique characters, and triumphs of the human spirit… just like the movies. Also, similar to an awards show, the X Games has excited winners, speeches of gratitude, controversial decisions, and crazy fashion. Without further ado, here are your winners in the first ever Academy of TtPoX Awards for Winter X.

Best Newcomer – Sebastien Toutant (Snowboarding Slopestyle)
This year, we saw a lot of fresh faces on the podium. Many were surprises, but Sebastien Toutant made his intentions clear during slopestyle elimination. Armed with a bag of double cork variations, he clocked in a 97.00, the highest score ever. Then he led a pack of teenage shredders onto the podium, indicating that a new era of slopestyle has begun.
Other nominees: Torin Yater-Wallace (Ski Superpipe), Alex Schlopy (Ski Big Air)

Best Trick – Daniel Bodin’s double grab backflip (Snowmobile Best Trick)
This category is full of personal biases, but let me explain how my top choice was not the triple cork. First, to be nitpicky, Torstein did have a hand drag. Second, I’m a moto girl so a double grab flip is something that I never thought would happen. A double grab right-side up is still impressive. So to do on a much heavier snowmobile is just out of this world. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the trick, Daniel Bodin has to let go of his sled while it/he is upside down. The trick’s level of danger is something I don’t even want to think about, and Daniel pulled it off like it was nothing.
Other nominees: Scotty Lago’s method (Snowboard Best Method), Torstein Horgmo’s triple cork (Snowboard Big Air)

Best Athlete in a Snowmobile Event – Tucker Hibbert (Snocross)
Tucker Hibbert is so good snowmobiling that the freestylers dread the day he decides to learn some flips (fortunately for them, that doesn’t seem on Tucker’s agenda in the near future). Despite getting the last gate pick in qualifiers, he still got the holeshot and led the race, proving that starting position doesn’t matter when you have the speed, skill, and determination. He then led every lap of the finals. Tucker’s victory made him the second Winter X athlete to five-peat and the SnoCross racer with the most gold medals: a whopping six.
Other nominees: Caleb Moore (Snowmobile Best Trick), Daniel Bodin (Freestyle Snowmobiling)

Best Female Athlete in a Ski Event – Kelsey Serwa (Skier X)
While Kelsey Serwa’s win might not have been as clean or painless as her freestyling peers, it showed what the X Games are all about: balls-out courage and risk-taking with a little bit of stupidity. She and Ophelie David could have played it safe, but instead, they showed that the women are just as tough as the men by flying through the last kicker in their close race and crashing across the finish line. Kelsey’s determination paid off as she fended off the four-time champion to a hard-earned victory.
Other nominees: Sarah Burke (Ski Superpipe), Kaya Turski (Ski Slopestyle)

Best Male Athlete in a Ski Event – Kevin Rolland (Ski Superpipe)
Kevin Rolland found himself in a precarious position in the Superpipe finals: defending gold medalist out of podium contention after two runs, a newcomer having just overtaken one of the favorites for the top spot, last run of the night with all eyes on him. A lesser man would have caved under the pressure, but Kevin nailed back-to-back spins in both directions, showing why he is dominating Ski Superpipe right now.
Other nominees: Torin Yater-Wallace (Ski Superpipe), John Teller (Skier X)

Best Female Athlete in a Snowboard Event – Kelly Clark (Snowboard Superpipe)
Kelly Clark’s willingness to push herself and her sport is why she has remained one of the top snowboarders for ten years. She didn’t even have to take her last run; her first run was the highest scoring of the night and the only one to break the 90s. However, Kelly spiced up her victory with the first 1080… in the middle of the run. She’s the first woman to do one in competition, and I think it’s safe to say that she’ll be the only one to do it mid-run for a while.
Other nominees: Lindsey Jacobellis (Snowboarder X), Enni Rukajärvi (Snowboard Slopestyle)

Best Male Athlete in a Snowboard Event – Torstein Horgmo (Snowboard Big Air)
You’ve all seen the video now. Sal Masakela compared it to other epic X Games moments, like Tony Hawk’s 900 and Travis Pastrana’s double backflip. While he may not be a household name, Torstein Horgmo goes down in history for landing the first triple cork in competition… on a kicker that probably wasn’t meant for such a trick… with broken ribs. You know what the most unbelievable part is? He wasn’t satisfied at all. Nevertheless, Torstein deserves recognition for taking risks (he wound up with a concussion), never quitting (he fell on the previous two attempts), and pushing his sport to a new level. Did I mention that he competed in Slopestyle the two days later?
Other nominees: Scotty Lago (Snowboard Superpipe), Sebastien Toutant (Snowboard Slopestyle)

Best Finals Event – Men’s Ski Superpipe
What inspired this Oscar-style recap was the dramatic moments in Winter X, and man, there were a lot of contests that kept me on the edge of my seat. In talking about Kevin Rolland, I described a scenario that could be the climactic scene of a movie. We had your fresh-faced rookie in awe of skiing with his heroes, the seasoned vet focused on winning, and the defending champ who had one last chance at victory. There was suspense, tears, cheers, disappointment, shock, and of course, mind-blowing stunts from our competitors.
Other nominees: Snowmobile Best Trick, Snowboard Big Air

Best Moment Outside of Competition – Kevin Pearce returns to Winter X in good spirits.
Thanks to the support of the snowboarding community and broadcast TV coverage, Kevin Pearce became a household name and an inspiration. Last year, he was in critical condition. We followed his road to recovery, and to see him in good health and loving life was a moment worthy of a few tears.
Other nominees: Nick Baumgartner celebrates his first X Games gold with his son. Athletes take a stand against cyber-bullying in PSA (see below and find out which Olympian doesn’t Tweet).

Lifetime Achievement Award – Peter Line
Snowboarding would not be where it is today without Peter Line and his rodeos. We wouldn’t have the double corks that are now a competition staple and triple corks that are the latest headline makers. He created one of the most influential group of riders, the original Forum 8. The man was a pioneer with a career that spans more than 20 decades, and it was very cool for Winter X to have him show off some old school style in the Best Method comp.

Listening to: “The Downward Spiral” by Nine Inch Nails

Man, I was rather overconfident of the accuracy of my predictions. There were some where I should have gone with my initial choice (over-analyzing doesn’t work here). In other cases, the results showed how different the X Games are compared to events like the Dew Tour and how well the athletes respond to a larger playing field and more pressure.

I have been catching up on the Day 3 action during the breaks in today’s contests so I’ll throw in a few thoughts from those events as well.

Ski thoughts

  • The SuperPipe guys were probably not liking it the sunny Aspen weather so much. You see, the heat leads to slippery pipe which leads to more speed. While that results in bigger amplitude, the greater inertia and lack of control means more crashes and general squirreliness.
  • Simon reminds me of freestyle motocross’ Nate Adams with his serious attitude (some might say too serious but that mentality has helped him win) and analytical approach to competition. He had a guy taping his final runs for him to review and make improvements.
  • Local boy Torin Yater-Wallace became the youngest X Games medalist. He’s a few months younger than snowcross racer Tucker Hibbert, who also medaled at the age of 15. The judges really liked his alley-oop double flatspin 900, and I did too. We’ll be seeing more from this kid.
  • Way to keep us on the edge of our seats, Kevin. He said there was “too much pressure” on him during his last run, but his smooth spins suggested that he kept his cool. Loved his reaction, so humble and sincere.
  • The pressure (on top of an injury from Killington last week) may have gotten to Bobby Brown, as he failed to medal is the event he has been dominating (Slopestyle).
  • Big Air seems to be the place for rookies to try out new moves and shine. Way to go Alex Schlopy!
  • I used to be able to count the number of rotations and multiply by 360 to call out moves.  Now that we’re going into 1260s, 1440s, and even 1620s, I can’t do math in my head that fast.

Snowboard thoughts

  • Missed the memo on Helene Olafsen being injured
  • What, Shaun White didn’t qualify? Well, this is Slopestyle, and the sport progresses so fast that it was too hard for Shaun to catch up.
  • Being a fan of old-school tricks and major style, I loved the Best Method comp. My vote went to Ross Powers. He gave us a 2002 Olympic flashback with his almost horizontal method and huge amplitude.
  • Advice all the new X Games spectators: when the announcers start yelling, it means either someone crashed hard or pulled a HUGE move. This was what I told my boyfriend, who said the Big Air tricks “all just looks like a bunch of spins” to him.
  • I have a bone to pick with Sport Science. It makes the triple cork sound like a 1620.  What is really going on is that a snowboarder is spinning 1080 degrees. On top of that he has to flip upside down three times. While his total number of degrees might add up to 1620, the rotations are on different axes. The presentation is still worth checking out.
  • The desire to see your child is strong motivation… at least for Nick Baumgartner. At lucky X Games #7, he finally gets a medal, and it happens to be gold. Very cute moment with his son at the end.
  • The debate continues over who is the better racer, 2-time Olympic champ Seth Wescott or 5-time X Games champ Nate Holland? Maybe it just depends on the course.
  • Kelly Clark seems to have taken a cue from Shaun White, using her victory run to throw down a history-making maneuver. Congrats on being the first woman to land a 1080 in competition!

Snowmobile thoughts

  • The question for Speed and Style was whether the racers would have the advantage or the freestylers. At first, it looked like racers would have an edge since they were used to hearing more than one sled out there and to have better endurance. However, Cory Davis, who left Joe Parsons in a pile of snow during semifinals, found out that not having inverted tricks was costly. He needed about an 8-second lead (that’s a long time in snocross racing).

Lots of congrats to hand out. Day 2’s winners were Kevin Rolland (Men’s Ski SuperPipe), Snowboard Best Method (Snowboard Best Method), Joe Parsons (Snowmobile Speed and Style), and Torstein Horgmo (Snowboard Big Air). Day 3’s winners were Nick Baumgartner (Men’s Snowboarder X), Lindsey Jacobellis (Women’s Snowboarder X), Sammy Carlson (Men’s Ski Slopestyle), Nic Sauve (Snowboard Street), Kelly Clark (Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe), and Alex Schlopy (Ski Big Air).

Jen’s Prediction Status: 3/8
Quote of the Day: “If you take a hard hit, you’re going to lose your wallet.” – announcer after Dan Csokonay’s crash in Snowboader X eliminations caused his wallet and money to fly out
Trick of the Day: Torstein Horgmo’s triple cork, which he did with an injury and a bad crash on his first attempt

Inspiration of the Day: The two injured gold medalists, Torstein Horgmo and Scotty Lago, deserve props for their courage/insanity. Check out Scotty’s Best Method Kodak moment.
Best Method 2011
(Photo from Winter X Games facebook page)

Question of the Day: What do you think is more impressive, 5 consecutive X Games gold medals or 2 Olympic gold medals?

Listening to: “Underneath It All” by Nine Inch Nails

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.