Posts Tagged ‘Kelly Clark’

Alright we’ve reached the end of my day-to-day recaps of X Games Aspen. I’m going to do my eXponential Awards review, and then we can finally move onto Oslo (and hopefully life won’t kick me in the butt again).  Sunday had non-stop snow again.  Visibility wasn’t as bad as Saturday, but the athletes still struggled and my mom refused to come out even during the day.
day4-jen0470
I took this on the shuttle ride to Buttermilk since I’d never seen this much snow, not even when I lived in northern Japan.

Men’s Ski Slopestyle

  • Jossi Wells got a well-earned gold.  Like Spencer, he’s been at X for a while, but this is his first win here.
  • I think Jossi is younger than me, but they kept making him sound like an old man because he’s married with a dog.  His family actually brought the dog out.
  • I loved the little touches Bobby Brown put in his runs.  He did okay, and it seemed like he was ready to just head out.  However, he did stop to say “hi” to people and thank me when I complimented him.
  • Joss Christensen skied with a broken hand.  He usually uses poles so not having them was a little weird, according to him.  The awkwardness showed.
  • Our Olympians had a really rough time overall.  Then Gus Kenworthy put together a sick run on his third and final attempt.
  • For all the hate Gus got for coming out in a such a public way, he has helped freeskiing.  Not just with making it a more accepting place, but he’s brought in new fans.  He knows that responsibility comes with visibility because he took the time to greet fans and take photos.
    day4-dad0374 Gus was stoked on the flag.  Mission accomplished.
  • Also, for the bad rep that “fangirls” often get, they were super nice and encouraged me to get up to the front with them at the end so that Gus could see my rainbow flag.  Gus’ mom saw it first and gave me a thumbs up.  I’m glad he has such a supportive family (especially since I had kind of an awkward conversation with my parents about why I brought the rainbow flag).

(more…)

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I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for Oakley’s Snowboarding: For Me airing on ABC tomorrow.  At the same time, I’m totally okay missing it due to the lack of ladies in the film.  Oakley has female snowboarders on its team, and while I understand that not everybody can be featured, the documentary approach of the movie make it seem like a glimpse of the community.  Except it doesn’t show any of the top female riders, who deserve as much air time. Moreover seeing a female face will inspire young girls to pick up snowboarding (and companies like Oakley will profit from the new cusstomers).

This makes me thankful that snowboarding has individuals like Danyale Patterson, “Queen of the Too Hard Empire”.  As stated in her recently funded Kickstarter, her Too Hard series is “a [women’s] snowboard project completely run by women snowboarders”.  Danyale and the other JibGurlz prove that female riders aren’t timid, and they are willing to take matter into their own hands to make their own movies. Here is the latest, Too Hard: Tres Hard.

Tres Hard from danyale patterson on Vimeo.

For something that delves more into the mind and lives of female snowboarders, there is Burton’s 2013 WOMEN [SNOWBOARDING]. This is what I imagined Snowboarding: For Me would be like if it consisted of all women although the film does not go nearly as deep in the commentary as I would have liked. It could have had the riders talk more about their inspirations, their struggles, and their goals and less about being “one of the guys”. While that may be the reality of snowboarding and equality is what feminism is about, we don’t want girls to think that they need to hang with the guys or have their approval (just look at the Jib Gurlz). Nevertheless, I’m glad Burton attempted to put the spotlight on their female riders (next time, maybe they could get a full length feature?).

I’m sad that both of these films are under half an hour and will not get the exposure that Snowboarding: For Me will get. Their existence, however, is a shining beacon for feminism in action sports. The women are doing stuff—great stuff—in terms of riding hard, getting it recorded, put out there. We’re hearing their voices, and hopefully more of that will happen in the future because snowboarding is for everyone.

Saturday was a very busy day, especially in snowboarding.  There was a lot of drama and sick tricks.  I’ve got a lot of notes so let’s not waste any time.

However, I do want to give an update on Caleb Moore, who crashed on Thursday.  He underwent surgery for a heart contusion and then suffered complications involving his brain.  Current updates say that he’s still in critical condition.  My heart goes to him and his family.  Let’s all hope for better news tomorrow.

Ski thoughts

  • Why is it called Round 1 when Round 2 is the finals?
  • Gus Kenworthy lands first triple rodeo Japan air in Round 1 of Big Air. Talk about throwing down the gauntlet.
  • Triples are key again.
  • Henrik Harlaut’s style is giving him high scores.
  • 1980 is a year, not a trick (unless you’re Alex Schlopy). That’s the equivalent of five and half rotations by the way.
  • Everyone’s reaction to the 1980 attempt: O__O
  • Henrik is skiing with his goggles backwards and eyes closed. Is there a method to the madness?
  • Jossi Wells gave us sick style and a nice break from all that spinning.
  • A corked 540 looks really slow but still cool.
  • Going 100 feet downhill via the jump with GoPro looks like you’re flying.
  • There is such a thing as too much air. Ask Bobby Brown.
  • Gus changes his mind from doing a triple to a double cork mid-air. That’s some quick thinking.
  • The judges really liked Henrik’s nose-butter double cork 12.
  • Apparently the jump designers learned a few things from aerials.
  • Kai Mahler missed a few jumps due to a potential knee injury, but he came back to do a double Japan air and a switch double misty 1620.
  • Henrik nose-butters his triple. WTF.

Snowboard thoughts

  • Mark McMorris did 13 jumps in Big Air and remained in top condition for Men’s Slopestyle the next day.
  • Rookie Max Parrot threw down some triples, which he just learned recently. Forget the White versus McMorris showdown; it’s Parrot versus McMorris.
  • The Financial District elements crack me up. You’ve got the Deposit, the Down Payment, and the Money Booter. I suppose big investment = high pay off.
  • Lighting was starting to affect the snowboarders. Only two out of eight landed their second runs, and the highest score was 65. Also, I didn’t realize they had different lenses for different conditions.
  • Shaun White sketched in beginning of his last run on Cab 270 on rail, and that seemed to throw him off a little. He went down on a double cork.
  • “Perfect” was the word of the day. Jumps were packed so tightly that you needed to be flawless to complete your run.
  • Mark looked unfazed by everything.
  • Max couldn’t better his score, but hey, silver is definitely not bad for a rookie.
  • Peetu Piiroinen did well until a hand drag. He had a beautiful rodeo, but since he didn’t do a triple (the word of the weekend), it wasn’t enough.
  • Instead of cruising through his victory run, Mark does a full run that included a cab 1260 double cork and a backside triple cork 1440. He wound up improving his score to a record-breaking 98. He also looked really good on the rails.
    markmcmorri_zps12aad757 photo markmcmorri_zps12aad757.jpg
    By Brett Wilhelm /ESPN Images (via X Games official site)
  • Jamie Anderson was spotted hugging a tree in the beginning of Women’s Slopestyle. It’s her form of meditation apparently.
  • Enni Rukajärvi had first full run of the day, and she was grabbing with a broken wrist.
  • Rookie Aimee Fuller went for broke on backside 7 but wipes out.
  • You gotta spin both ways to get the points. Cab and frontside look too similar in Sina Candrian’s run
  • Enni was really good but reverbed at Money Booter, and the judges (along with the course) are just as hard on the ladies about little mistakes.
  • I wonder if more girls are going to meditate next year. It seemed to put Jamie in the zone. XG13Aspen3 photo jamie-anderson_zpsee8c0e77.jpeg
    By Matt Morning / ESPN Images (via
    The Ski Channel)
  • Later on in the evening, Elena Hight stomped the first ever backside double alley-oop rodeo in a contest! No one else has that trick except Shaun White, and he hasn’t landed it in contest. That ought to shut up the people who say women’s snowboarding is boring.
  • Kelly Clark answered the challenge with a frontside 1080.
  • Rookie and alternate Ariel Gold had a sick cab 900.
  • “The girls want to rip, and the girls are ripping.” – Gretchen Bleiler (who needs to be a commentator when she’s not competing)
  • Kaitlyn Farrington got points for committing on her grabs.
  • Gretchen was recovering from a shattered eye socket and concussion
  • Torah Bright’s strategy this year is “totally boarding”: doing all three snowboarding events. It’s really helping with her versatility and confidence.
  • Wax tech = god (according to Gretchen)
  • Not perfect conditions b/c pipe slopes
  • Kelly has more technical difficulty and high amplitude, as well as no set ups.
  • Great amplitude from Hannah Teter
  • Kelly’s 1080 was 14 feet high. It was really hard to determine whether hers or Elena’s was better, but in the end, technicality ruled over innovation.  Check out Kelly’s blog post about the finals.
  • People are using “double rodeo” and “double cork” interchangeably. I thought they were different?

Congratulations to Mark McMorris (Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle), Jamie Anderson (Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle), Henrik Harlaut (Ski Big Air), and Kelly Clark (Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe) on their victories!

Prediction Status: 3/6
Quote of the Day: “Wait, those are girls?!” – my mom, midway through Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle finals
Trick of the Day: Henrik Harlaut’s nose-butter double cork 12
henrikharlaut_zps36801747 photo henrikharlaut_zps36801747.jpg
By Josh Duplechian/ESPN Images (via X Games official site)

Question of the Day:
What IS the difference between a double rodeo and a double cork?

The X Games were over too quickly. My mind could barely process the amazing feats that happened in the course of four days. I was sad to not see Snocross on the schedule, but I was stoked that ABC picked up a portion of the broadcast (it’s tough to watch everything on a laptop screen). Anyway, here are my awards for stand-out performances and memorable moments. Everyone did so well that I struggled to narrow down my candidates for the best athlete categories.

Best Female Athlete – Kelly Clark (Snowboard)
Kelly Clark’s comp history is ridiculous, and now she has added a fourth Winter X gold and a thirteenth consecutive win. She also throws down the 1080 like it’s not big deal (when she’s the only woman doing them).

Best Male Athlete – Mark McMorris (Snowboard)
Although Mark McMorris’ double gold and triple cork was overshadowed by Shaun White’s perfect score, he established himself as one of the best slopestyle riders… in his second Winter X Games. Something else worth noting: Shaun was the last person to win two Winter X Games events in the same year (2009).

Newcomer to Watch – Nick Goepper (Ski)
Last year, Torin Yater-Wallace came out of nowhere to challenge the top competitors in Ski SuperPipe. Now it was Slopestyle’s turn to introduce a mega-talented rookie. Seventeen-year-old Nick Goepper unexpectedly took the top spot in qualifiers and held onto it in the finals until Tom Wallisch’s second run.

Most Dramatic Finals – Snowboard Big Air
Also known as the “Triple Party!!!” The question of who will attempt the triple cork first was answered by the first person to ever do one, Torstein Horgmo. Then Mark McMorris and Sebstain Toutant stepped up to the plate, and with each attempt, the riders got closer and closer to landing the elusive trick. Finally, as the clock wound down, Mark landed the first triple cork 1440 in competition, and on his last run, Torstein improved upon it and scored a perfect 50. Progression happened before our eyes.

Best Trick – front flip (Snowmobile)
Heath Frisby made the front flip look so easy that I had to take a second to think about what happened: a man made a 500-pound machine somersault forwards off a ramp. This kind of stuff only ought to happen in comic books, yet Heath proved that it was possible in real life.

Picture Perfect Moment – Dominique Maltais in Snowboarder X
WXG16-Dominique, Photo from official X Games facebook page
Photo from X Games facebook page
This shot reminds me of the phrase from ABC sports, “the thrill of victory”. Dominique’s silhouette is beautiful against the blue sky, and the shot embodies the moment of glory.

Best Moment Outside of Competition – Sarah Burke vigil
Although the vigil was a moment of sadness, it was also a moment of great beauty. It reminded us that that the X Games are not about who has the most gold medals or whether snowboarding or skiing is cooler; it’s about community and living life to the fullest.
WXG16-Burke Memorial, By AAron Ontiveroz of the Denver Post
Louie Vito hugs Sarah’s mother Jan Phelan. Photo by AAron Ontiveroz (The Denver Post)

Most Educational Moment – Keir Dillon explains double cork variations (Snowboard Big Air)
I’ve been told that snowboarding “looks like a bunch of spins”, and that’s not far from the truth. What determines the crème de la crème are the little details that go with the spins. Double corks are a big deal so I appreciate the fact that Keir Dillon mentioned frontsides and Cabs were more difficult than backsides. It’s nice to know what the judges are looking for.

Greatest Comeback – Shaun White (Snowboard)
After seeing Shaun’s SuperPipe runs, I have a hard time believing that he had a sprained ankle. To go from having to pull out of Slopestyle to getting a perfect score in a couple days must be the greatest comeback ever.

Most Inspirational – Sarah Burke (Ski)
The entire 4 days of competition was held in Sarah’s honor, as the Winter X Games would not be what it is today without her contributions. Several gold medalists dedicated their wins to her, and in the Women’s Ski SuperPipe, we saw the legacy she left behind. Though saddened by her untimely death, many competitors remembered her love of life and celebrated it through their sports.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Casey Puckett (Skier X)
This was Casey Puckett’s last professional race, and after ten X Games and five Olympics, it would be be an understatement to say that he has had an impressive 22-year career. After retiring from alpine skiing, he began a skicross career. He’s one of four individuals to have two golds in Men’s Skier X, and he finished fifth this year after only a “handful” of days skiing. While youth may reign at Winter X , we must never underestimate the power of the veterans or forget their achievements. Casey, it’s been a pleasure watching you race all these years.

If you missed any of this year’s big moments, you can catch them all in this highlight reel:

Friday was mostly a snowboarding day, and it got increasingly exciting as day turned into night (which meant my notes became more illegible). I wrote down so much stuff that I had to cut back, but here’s the good stuff.  I’m still reeling from the insanity that went down.

Ski thoughts

  • Like last year, SuperPipe elimination was very intense with the big names wiping out on their first runs (they only get two).
  • David Wise’s corked 12 was so fast and smooth. He only did one double, but his run was technical enough to score high. It’s not always about the double cork.
  • Simon Dumont has been off his game. He was deeply affected by Sarah Burke’s death and even said that he wasn’t sure he would be able to ski at Winter X.
  • Second runs were make-it-or-break-it time for Simon, Torin Yater-Wallace (who had barely qualified), and Kevin Rolland. All three delivered albeit in a safe manner.winter x games day 2, Mahala Gaylord, The Denver Post
    Hometown boy Torin Yater-Wallace going big. Photo by Mahala Gaylord (The Denver Post)
  • Kevin’s mom is definitely his biggest fan. She even took a kid’s horn to make noise for him.

Snowboard thoughts

  • Cheryl Maas and her wife Stine Brun Kjeldaas, also a talented snowboarder, recently welcomed a baby girl into their family. I wonder if she’ll follow in her mothers’ footsteps.
  • Cheryl has a Tumblr that you can follow.
  • The slopestyle course is tough. The jumps are so close together that one slip up and you land wrong. That puts you a few inches off your line, and it’s enough to end your run.
  • Spencer O’Brien provided another example of why it’s important to know how to fall correctly. She came up super short (on the top of the jump pretty much) and tried to take the impact across her entire body.
  • It’s been 10 years since Kelly Clark won Olympic gold and her first Winter X gold.
  • The SuperPipe ladies had some interesting fashion choices: Elena Hight’s hot pink jacket practically glowed on my computer screen, and Maddy Schaffrick painted her face to look like a cheetah’s.
  • I Tweeted to the X Games a correction on Xuetong Cai’s name. They thought Xuetong was her last name because she’s often called “Cai Xuetong” which is the Chinese way of saying her name.
  • Maddy almost put down a Haakon flip (an inverted Cab 720), which might be the first for a female snowboarder in competition.
  • Torah Bright looked a bit rusty. She’s been away from halfpipe competitions for over a year.
  • The key to winning Women’s SuperPipe, according to Keir Dillon, is “explosiveness”. The riders need momentum, amplitude, and tricks that will blow the judges’ minds.
  • No birthday gold for Hannah Teter, but a bronze medal is a pretty good present.
  • Kelly is so awesome that she throws the 1080 in the middle of her run. She has now won the last 13 contests she has entered, and she’s the first to get back-to-back gold in Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe.
  • At Big Air qualifiers, there were whispers of who was going to pull the triple cork.
  • Even with all the hype, the guys could still find time to goof off in practice.  You can check out Torstein Horgmo and Mark McMorris playing a snowboarder’s variation of HORSE on Torstein’s website.
  • It would’ve been interesting to see Halldor Helgason get into the finals and pull a chick wing double backside rodeo. That might be a contender with the triple cork.
  • Keir was a great announcer, explaining to people at home double cork variations. Frontside is more difficult than backside double corks because you come in blind. A switch frontside, a.k.a. Cab, double cork is the hardest because you’re also coming in with the opposite foot forward. I’m thinking I need to do a post about snowboarding terms because it’s full of intricate details.
  • Sebastien Toutant lands his double corks so smoothly that they look easy.
  • With nine minutes left on the finals, it became a triple cork party between the three guys who have pulled one: Torstein, Mark, and Seb Toots.
  • Torstein threw down the gauntlet. Mark answered it by landing with a hand drag. Then on his last jump, Torstein steps it up by sticking it perfectly. It was a beautiful display of one-up manship that was about progression rather than competition (since the score is based on two jumps, Torstein could have done a “safe” trick to get a decent first score and then attempted the triple, but that isn’t his style).
  • To give you an idea of how tough the competition was, Torstein had a perfect score (50), and it wasn’t enough to beat Mark (whose triple got a 49). We had a three-way tie for second between Torstein, Seb Toots, and Eric Willet. It was broken by looking at the riders’ highest score.

Congratulations to Day 2 winners: Jamie Anderson (Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle), Kelly Clark (Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe), and Mark McMorris (Snowboard Big Air)!

Prediction Status: 4/6
Quote of the Day: Keir Dillon – “You don’t know any other cheetah girls do you?”
Sal Masakela – “I don’t.. except the ones on Disney”
Trick of the Day: TRIPLE CORK!!!
Inspiration of the Day: Kelly Clark
Question of the Day: What do you think of the Big Air judging system?

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

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.