Posts Tagged ‘Shaun White’

This X Games has been a test of priorities in my life. Showering and date night? Skip when there’s something cool. Motorcycle riding lessons and a photoshoot? I’ll catch the re-runs. No X Games on-line? I’ll find a TV (and I did). However, I still missed all of Ski Slopestyle, as well as the snowmobile racing events, so my last set of notes are a bit sparse. I tried to make up for it by being very thorough on the two events I did see. I would like to send my well wishes to Rose Battersby and Ashley Battersby, both of whom were injured in Slopestyle.

There hasn’t been any more news about Caleb Moore. His family has set up a fund to help with medical bills: click here if you’d like to donate.

Snowboard thoughts

  • Now that Shaun White has cut his hair, can he really be called “Animal” now?
  • All snowboard announcers need a lesson is pronouncing Japanese names. It’s Ayumu Hee-rah-no, not Hir-ann-no.
  • Poor Iouri Podladtchikov. He gets a stomach flu the day of finals.
  • That means, another showdown that never really was. However, we do get a glimpse of the new Shaun White versus Ayumu Hirano rivalry.
  • To put things into perspective, Shaun appeared in his first X Games when he was 13, and he got his first medal 15. He’s now the oldest competitor. Ayumu is the youngest at 14, which is the age of the students I taught in Japan. My how times have changed.
  • Scotty Lago definitely has the best style. He was the only one shown grabbing the board with both hands (100% committed).
  • Shaun broke the height record with a 24-foot method. He averaged around 17.5 feet. That’s about five feet higher than everyone else. He was also five points ahead. Coincidence? I think not. Shaun_White_zps7de8667b photo Shaun_White_zps7de8667b.jpg
    From Doug Pensinger/Getty Images (via Sports Illustrated)
  • A repeat of his perfect run from from last year got him a 98 even though it was bigger and cleaner. Snowboarding judges are going to have to turn into gymnastics judges and arbitrarily deduct points.
  • Louie Vito was having a rough night. His third run looked okay, but it wasn’t perfect.
  • Ayumu became the youngest medalist in X Games history. He definitely deserved it with his sick tricks and amplitude. I can’t wait to see more from this kid.
  • As the last rider to go before Shaun White, Scotty looked like he could set up a dramatic finale, but then he came in fast, put too much pressure on his toes, and didn’t even get to drop in.
  • Shaun was going to let Scotty take another run, but judges say no. Although that’s probably the fair things to do, it’s a MAJOR bummer.
  • I understand why Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe is the final event with all the star power, but it’s almost a given nowadays that Shaun White is going to win so it makes for an anticlimactic end to the X Games.

Snowmobile thoughts

  • Willie Elam needed to work on his flexibility, but he’s new to freestyle so the extension and confidence will come in time.
  • WTF was Jackson Strong doing there? He apparently had only been on a sled for four hours. I guess he really wanted to stake his claim on the Jack.
  • In an ironic twist, Jackson was okay from his fall (which looked really scary), but the runaway snowmobile claimed another victim.
  • The key to the underflip is to get sled perpendicular. Despite the his innovation and smooth landing, Heath Frisby scored lower than Daniel Bodin’s Indian air flip.
  • To be fair, Daniel did have crazy extension and went on the larger jump (which I guess counted for a lot). XGAspen13 - Day 4a photo bodin_zps17415ced.jpg
    From Joshua Duplechian / ESPN Images (via X Games official website)
  • Joe Parsons’ “gator hater”, which looked like an Indian air plus landing backwards on the bike, was insane! I would’ve given put him in first for the commitment, but maybe the judges docked points for how he barely hung on.
  • Heath and Joe were wearing Texas flags in support of Caleb Moore.
  • There was a reversal of luck from Day 1’s Freestyle contest to Day 4’s Best Trick. Levi LaVallee won Freestyle, and the last person who could’ve unseated him had snowmobile issues from a first run crash. On top of that, Daniel hurt his wrist. Later in the weekend, Levi got hurt and had to pull out of Snocross and Best Trick while Daniel ends up getting gold.

Special recognize goes out to the first ever six-peaters in Winter X history: Tucker Hibbert (Snocross) and Shaun White (Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe). Also congratulations to Nick Goepper (Men’s Ski Slopestyle), Mike Schultz (Snocross Adaptive), Tiril Sjåstad Christiansen (Women’s Ski Slopestyle),  Daniel Bodin (Snowmobile Best Trick), and Frank April (Real Snow Fan Favorite) on their wins!

Prediction Status: 5/10 – another improvement from last year even though there are less events
Quote of the Day: “Even though @scottylago fell before the first hit. It was still more stylish than 98% of pipe riding” – Todd Richards’ Tweet (It was technically the day after, but it was too good to not share. If you want snarky X Games commentary, follow btoddrichards.)
Trick of the Day: Joe Parsons’ gator hater
Inspiration of the Day: Ayumu Hirano – This kid has so much potential, and he’s now showing the world.
Question of the Day: What were you doing in the eighth grade?

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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:

I’ve been ill the past couple of days so the last of my notes is coming to you rather late. As a result of the tardiness and prior commitments keeping me from watching half of the weekend action, I decided to combine my notes. A lot of exciting stuff happened so this is kind of a long one (the videos are worth it though).

Ski thoughts

  • The SuperPipe ladies definitely made Sarah Burke proud. Brita Sigourney nailed the first 1080, a trick first done by Sarah, in pipe competition on her last run. Sarah’s friend/teammate Roz Groenwoud captured the win with a record-breaking 93.66.
    WXG16-day3
    Roz soars to an emotional victory.  Photo by Kristin Braga Wright, special to The Denver Post
  • The men’s final was extra tense with a lot of the favorites off their game. The “unforgiving” pipe saw many hard slams: one slip-up and you were done.
  • Noah Bowman is a guy to watch for in the future. He was a second alternate who made it into the finals and was the only person doing a double flatspin alley-oop 900.
  • Torin Yater-Wallace does an alley-oop 360 to set up for a double cork.
  • David Wise was on fire during the entire X Games. He had the most technically difficult start with a switch double cork 1080.
  • Those who tuned in on ABC were met with the scary aftermath of Justin Dorey’s slam onto solid ice. He was able to walk off but wound up dislocating his shoulder.
  • Mike Riddle had an unfortunate accident: he grabbed too hard on his ski and pulled it right off as he was spinning.
  • Three was supposed to be Kevin Rolland’s lucky number, as he was looking for his three-peat. He also wore #333 and had three double corks in the bag. However, he wound up being about three inches off his line in his third run, which led to a crash and no medal.
  • The Sport Science feature on the properties of snow gave audiences an idea of how making Ski Superpipe in the daytime and Snowboard Slopestyle at night would affect athletes’ performances. 
  • There was apparently some controversy with Women’s Skier X. Langely McNeal got disqualified from the finals after the French team complained about the band and hair tie she wore around her right leg. The International Ski Federation has strict rules about aerodynamic clothing in skicross, but X Games isn’t governed by the FIS. What I find ironic is that the French were known for wearing tight ski suit-like outfits while the other skicross competitors wore baggier clothes.

Snowboard thoughts

  • Your vote did count for Real Snow Fan Favorite. Louis Paradis beat Halldór Helgason by just 32 votes (it was exactly 50-50 when I voted).
  • Dominique Maltais had been the one to watch during Women’s Boarder X qualifiers, and she came out on top.
  • Nate Holland said that there’s only a one-year lease on the gold.
  • Men’s Boarder X had a dramatic finish with leaders Stian Sivertzen and Pierre Vaultier crashing into each other on the second to last turn. This allowed the Americans (Nate, Nick Baumgartner, and Jayson Hale) to sweep the podium.
    WXG16-day4, from X Games facebook page Nate and Nick approach the finish line.  Photo from X Games facebook page
  • Shaun White dropped out of Slopestyle due to a sprained ankle, but nothing could stop him in SuperPipe.
  • One of the advantages Shaun has is his skateboarding background. Snowboarders have two edges to land on whereas skateboarders have to land exactly on their wheels. As a result, Shaun is able to stick his runs very smoothly. I still like to think that his pants were key.
    WXG16-Shaun White, By Aaron Ontiveroz of The Denver Post
    Shaun catches huge air on what’s probably a double cork.  Photo by Aaron Ontiveroz of the
    Denver Post
  • “Darn” – Luke Mitrani on his first run fall
  • The SuperPipe finalists had to take an all-or-nothing approach to their most difficult and unique tricks to even hope to win: Iouri Podladtchikov’s switch double McTwist 1260 – didn’t happen and settled for silver. Greg Bretz’s double Michaelchuk – crashed. Matt Ladley’s double McTwist 1260 – crashed. Ryo Aono’s backside 1080 – stomped and bumped him up to third.
  • Not to be outdone, Shaun had a trick of his own to go for: the frontside doublecork 1260. He landed it on this third run, which scored him a 100 and was also supposed to be his victory lap.

Snowmobile thoughts

  • I don’t think I’ve been so nervous watching the X Games since the 2006 Summer X Games where Travis Pastrana did the double back flip. It was rather apropos with Justin Hoyer attempting the double and Heath Frisby trying the front flip. I don’t know who’s crazier.
  • According to Levi Lavalle, who attempted the double back flip in 2009, you only have three seconds to spot the landing.
  • Justin under-rotated, and everyone’s worst nightmare came true. Luckily he was conscious and moving.
  • I really have to commend Heath’s nerves of steel because he was right after Justin, and he committed all the way. He made the front flip look easy, but when you think about what the sled is doing, it blows your mind.
  • The trick to landing a front flip is to go faster (40 mph vs. 35 mph) and make sure you don’t land on the tail of the snowmobile.
  • Joe Parsons was so stoked for his good buddy nailing the front flip that he almost forgot that he was up next.
  • When you can’t compete with a crazy trick, you can do one of two things: play to the crowd like the Moore brothers or kick it old school with a whip like Corey Davis.

I’ve got a huge list of winners to whom I’d like to extend my congrats:
From Saturday – Roz Groenwoud (Women’s Ski SuperPipe), David Wise (Men’s Ski SuperPipe), Dan Brise (Real Snow), Nate Holland (Men’s Boarder X), Dominique Maltais (Women’s Boarder X), Mark McMorris (Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle), and Bobby Brown (Ski Big Air)
From Sunday – Chris del Bosco (Men’s Skier X), Marte Gjefsen (Women’s Skier X), Samson Danniels (Mono Skier X), Heath Frisby (Snowmobile Best Trick), and Shaun White (Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe)

Prediction Status: 7/16 – Much better than last year, and six of my incorrect predictions still made the podium
Quote of the Day: “[Sarah] rode with me on that run.” – Nate Holland
Trick of the Day: front flip on a snowmobile
Inspiration of the Day: Shaun White – Love him or hate him, he pushed a lot of snowboarders to give it their all and took the sport to a new level

Question of the Day: Had Justin landed the double back flip, who do you think would have won?

Nearly a full day of watching the X Games has resulted in three pages of notes, and I thought I was being conservative with my note-taking.   It was cool that ABC is broadcasting the X Games again, but of course, a different event was being aired on on-line.  Really disliking this simulcast deal.

BMX thoughts

  • Guys came out swinging in BMX Freestyle Park with huge tricks and crazy transitions. Ex. Gary Young’s feeble to 270 attempt (he came so close to making it).
  • Using the full time of the run is important. Dennis Enarson was ahead because he had the speed and energy to keep going.
  • Kevin Robinson noted that the jam format is kind of tricky because when you have guys pulling out, like with vert the other night, there’s less time for you to recover and plan.
  • Everybody wondered why Daniel Dhers would skip a run when Dennis was ahead, but the conservation of energy worked in his favor.
  • This was the first time I think I’ve seen them go to a tie breaker in which the judges had to look at 3rd run scores.


Moto-X thoughts

  • Ramp jump is an interesting addition to the race track, seems like a freestyle touch. I wonder what the racers think.
  • Crashes put an end to the Ashley Fiolek-Jessica Patterson showdown.
  • Dear announcers, Sayaka Kaneshiro’s name is pronounced “Kah-nay-she-ro”, not “Kyan-na-shee-ro”.
  • The ladies were pulling some nice whips at the end.
  • The whoops were a big challenge for in both Women’s Moto-X and Speed and Style.
  • Speed and Style was like a trip down memory lanes. The competitors were the big guns from back in the day (when I really kept up with FMX). To put things into perspective, Todd Potter is the youngest rider at 26.
  • Todd also wins the Iron Man award for competing in 5 different X Games events (that’s more than the “Pastranathon”).
  • Carey Hart gets the Best Sportsmanship award. When Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg went down, he quit racing to check up on him. Granted, he was already qualified at that point, but he was helping out the medics.
  • Twitch broke his left tibia and right heel on that nasty fall.
  • I feel like I jinxed by Ashley and Twitch.
  • A lot of calculation has to go into Speed and Style: on one hand, you have to slow down to hit the jumps to flip, but on the other hand, you’re in a race.
  • The finals was Nate Adams vs. Mike Mason: 4-stroke vs. 2-stroke, underflip vs. 360 flip, style vs. speed. In the end, style won out since Nate was upside down more. However, Mace had a beautiful rock solid, which in my eyes, is an equally scary trick.
  • This year’s Speed and Style was less ridiculous but just as fun to watch. Nate is one happy FMX this weekend.

Rally thoughts

  • Travis Pastrana plans on racing on Sunday?! WTF, he can barely walk and get in the car! They’ve even had to tape his foot down.
  • Rally Car Racing is auto racing for people with A.D.D. It’s only two laps and you’ve got different terrain and tight corners so the viewers never get bored.
  • Brian Deegan’s car has jaws, LOL.  So typical Mulisha style.
  • “[Racing through downtown L.A.] legally is pretty incredible.” It sounds like Tanner Foust has taken Fast and the Furious off the movie set.
  • Lessons in not giving up: David Higgins winning his heat with a flat tire and Dave Mirra pushing all the way through until the end.
  • When you take the Joker lap is important because it will give you an extra edge.
  • The Tanner Foust-Liam Doran rivalry reminds me of the Travis Pastrana-Brian Deegan good vs. evil FMX battle.
  • Liam posted the fastest times in the quarterfinals and semis.
  • In stead of a good vs. evil battle, we had experience (Marcus Gronholm) vs. youth (Liam). One is very calculating and precise; the other is fast and wild.  Maybe I should take a cue from Liam and drive more aggressively (I’m an annoyingly slow driver).

Skateboarding thoughts

  • I was going to put Njyah Houston down as my prediction for the winner of Skateboard Street, but I was basing a lot of that from hype from previous years. I was also going to make Shaun White my prediction, but then I changed it.
  • Bob Burnquist is extremely beat up from past injuries and Big Air, yet he still put together an awesome run during qualifiers. He said sleeping in helped.
  • I loved the clip of Tony Hawk and Andy MacDonald doing doubles for fun. They’re the only six-peaters in X Games history (I think everybody just gave up on doubles because they kept winning).
  • The judges seem to like giving a score of 82.66.
  • “Someone had to get old” – Tony Hawk on why he doesn’t have 5 X Games gold medals like Pierre-Luc Gagnon
  • Shaun White set the bar in the finals by being the first to have a clean run.
  • Shaun’s airs are higher than most skaters. A snowboarding influence?
  • Tony is calling out guys for their sloppiness.
  • PLG got a 91.66 even with a fall at the end.
  • The veterans of vert skated more consistently… probably because they could keep their cool under pressure.
  • Today, we saw a lot of elated gold medalists. (The reactions were bigger than what I usually see.)

Congratulations to Day 3’s victors: Daniel Dhers (BMX Freestyle Park), Liam Doran (Rally Car Racing), Nyjah Houston (Skateboard Street Men’s), Vicki Golden (Moto-X Racing Women’s), Shaun White (Skateboard Vert), and Nate Adams (Moto-X Speed and Style).  A big get well soon to Twitch, and good luck to Travis.

Prediction Status: 3/12
Quote of the Day: “It’s kind of cool feeling the bones move in my food.” – Travis Pastrana
Trick of the Day: Shaun White’s heelflip body varial frontside 540… actually his entire final run was amazing.

Inspiration of the Day: Women’s Moto-X Competitors – They’re strong, tough, and daring. Ashley Fiolek overcame deafness to become a 2-time X Games champ while Jessica Patterson has dealt with her share of nasty injuries in winning multiple national titles. Then there’s this year’s gold medalist, Vicki Golden, who became the first woman to qualify for a pro AMA Arenacross main event.
Question of the Day: Skateboard Street or Rally Car Racing – which did you watch (or would you watch)?

Sorry for the delay. After the freak ice storm that hit Texas, I needed a break from all things winter. However, the awesome memories that Winter X XV brought couldn’t keep me away for too long. All of Sunday, I was watching the X Games web broadcast so prepare for a great deal of observations and commentary.

Ski thoughts

  • The fastest skier wears yellow. It’s like having a target on your back.
  • Was the audio of Ashleigh McIvor’s crash necessary? It was scary enough watching her take a tumble.
  • That X Course was brutal, especially the “Money Booter” at the end.
  • Would you trade blood and potential broken bones to get a spot on the podium? Kelsey Serwa and Ophelie David did, and that’s why Skier X girls are as hardcore as the guys.
  • Privateers often have a huge disadvantage (no sponsorship = no money to get new equipment). Just ask freestyle snowmobiler Daniel Bodin, who went factory this year and won gold. However, John Teller (Skier X) proved that you can beat the odds and the favorite to win the event.
  • Mono Skier X is a lesson in perseverance. If you fall, pick your self right back up and continue.  Sean Rosen did that and wound up first in the semifinal.
  • According to the Sport Science feature, Mono Skier X athletes have it much harder than their Skier X peers due to a lower center of gravity, less blood circulating through their body, and concentration of pressure put on their upper bodies.

Snowboard thoughts

  • Were names given to the Slopestyle obstacles just so we can hear bad puns such as, “It’s always the hardest to come up with the Down Payment” (Keir Dillon)?
  • Playing it safe does not pay off. That might explain why Jamie Anderson, who has won every Slopestyle contest she entered prior to Winter, only got bronze.
  • Whether you’re racing or throwing down tricks, riding snowmobile or sliding on skis or a snowboard, depth perception is important.  Thus, the blue line is everyone’s best friend.
  • Torstein Horgmo had the most creative use of the joystick.  Hard to believe he’s fighting broken ribs and a concussion (from Big Air).
  • According to Keir, Mikkel Bang holds his grabs for 900 degrees of his 1080.  That scores major points from the judges.
  • Being a judge means that you have to be real picky about stuff like grabs and direction of a spin.  Thank god for replays.
  • The medalists in Men’s Slopestyle are all teenagers and only in their first and second years of X Games competition.   Watch out for the young guns!
  • Are 1260 double corks are the new thing to throw?
  • Shaun White’s competitors came back with a vengeance.  With Peetu Piiroinen’s amplitude, Kazuhiro Kokubo’s tweaked out McTwists, Louie Vito’s successive double corks, and Scotty Lago‘s smooth riding, it wasn’t going to be as easy for him to get the SuperPipe gold.
  • All the snowboarders love Kazu’s style, but the judges favor technicality and difficulty.
  • Shaun was still so good that a bad run for him was a good run for others.  Nevertheless, Scotty came close to interrupting his four-peat, and I actually thought Shaun’s second run score was rather high.
  • Scotty was looking good for a guy who lost 12 pounds in 2 weeks (via the liquid diet).  He should win the MVP award for entering 4 contests and medaling in 2.

Snowmobile thoughts

  • Snocross was referred to as a “team sport”.  If your mechanics don’t do a good job, then your performance is going to suffer.
  • Tucker Hibbert showed that you shouldn’t complain about your gate pick.  He still managed to get the holeshot.  Of course, he also became the second Winter X athlete to five-peat.
  • Adaptive Snocross is another inspiring event.  These guys will not let paralysis or loss of legs get in the way of their need for speed.
  • Even though he finished 6th this year, 2010 Adaptive Snocross bronze medalist Doug Henry is undoubtedly the comeback king.  He restarted his motocross career after breaking his back, then went onto SuperMoto (where he won Summer X gold).  After an accident left him partially paralyzed, he moved onto Adaptive Snocross.
  • The level of insanity in Best Trick has reached the point where video games tricks are coming to life: tsunami flip, lazy boy flip, Carolla/body varial, double grab flip…
  • Then there was this thing, dubbed the “brother backflip”.
  • Usually judges like innovation, but this year, they seemed to favor Superman/seat grab variations.  They also seemed hell-bent on providing that this was a serious competition and not a wacky exhibition, but is the Carolla a circus trick?

My final congratulatory wishes go to Enni Rukajärvi (Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle), John Teller (Men’s Skier X), Kelsey Serwa (Women’s Skier X), Mike Schultz (Adaptive Snocross), Tucker Hibbert (Snocross), Sebastien Toutant (Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle), Josh Dueck (Mono Skier X), Daniel Bodin (Snowmobile Best Trick), and Shaun White (Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe). Thank you to all the athletes for all your efforts during these amazing four days!

Jen’s Prediction Status: 4/14 – So my predictions were inaccurate but I’m okay with that.  The people who threw them off were the underdogs and rookies that deserved to make themselves known to the world.
Quote of the Day: “Hard work in life, no matter what you do, pays off.” – John Teller
Trick of the Day: Daniel Bodin’s double grab backflip

Inspiration of the Day: all the Mono Skier X and Adaptive Snowcross athletes
Doug Henry
(Photo by Stephen W. Clark for American Snowmobiler)

Question of the Day: Do you think Caleb Moore’s Carolla should have scored higher than Daniel’s double grab flip?

That’s it for my notes. I’m thinking of a clever way to recap everything because that’s what I do every year. Plus, I want to highlight the courage, perseverance, and camaraderie that draws me to the X Games. You’ve probably been as saturated with X Games stuff as I have been with ice and snow so I’ll give everyone a week off before we relive the memories of Winter X Games XV.

Listening to: “Hu Shi Luan Xiang” – K One feat. Ivy Hsu

Sorry for the delay.  It’s kind of hard to post when X Games action has been going on all day and you have to work when it’s not (sometimes when it’s going on).

This isn’t a recap; you can get all the highlights and results at EXPN.com . I just decided to put down some fun facts and insights I gleaned from watching the web broadcast. Also, you’ll get to see how well I’m doing with my predictions. In here are my Day 0 (name thus because the announcers called yesterday “Day 1” even though web broadcast began the day before) as well.

Ski thoughts

  • Way to give me a heart attack, guys.  My picks for SuperPipe and Slopestyle, Simon Dumont and Bobby Brown, looked like they weren’t going to qualify in the beginning, and Kevin Rolland found himself in the unlikely position of 5th. Luckily they all made it to the finals (with Kevin killing the competition).
  • Kaya Turski (Slopestyle) also had me worried.  Her victory wasn’t so easy this time around… though I thought her Kaya’s run would’ve been more than 0.33 points higher than second place.  It was much smoother, and she mixed up technical grinds with huge spins.
  • The X Course must be super gnarly because seven skiers and snowboarders, including Ashleigh McIvor (Skier X) who injured her knee, have pulled out. Get well soon, Ashleigh!
  • Jen Hudak (SuperPipe) showed that you have to be perfect. She pretty much did the 1080 and was riding away when it all went wrong at the last minute. Too bad you don’t get points for big cajones.
  • Pipe ladies were jamming out to Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” and Katy Perry’s “Firework”. Old school and new school!

Snowboard thoughts

  • How the heck can Shaun White move, much less snowboard, in pants that tight?
  • Even though he looks bigger, Kazuhiro Kokubo is 5’3″ while Louie Vito is 5’5″.
  • Some math from someone in the booth (Kevin Pearce or Keir Dillon), Louie Vito launches at a 60-degree angle versus Shaun White’s 85-degree angle. Thus, his amplitude is not as high.
  • Scotty Lago, you crazy S.O.B.!  Two weeks ago, Scotty broke his jaw, and everybody figured he was out of the Games.  He comes back to compete in 4 events and qualifies in second in SuperPipe.  I think I’m going to have to change my top three picks (especially with Iouri Podladtchikov sidelined).

Snowmobile thoughts

  • It’s been a warm winter in Texas.  How the heck did the Moore brothers improve their skills?  Possible answers: vacation in the mountains, on ATVs, made the most of the few snow days we had (maybe Krum got more than the one day in Dallas).
  • Flying squirrel (freestyle snowmobiling) = holy man (FMX)
  • I will never call in sick again after seeing Justin Hoyer, who was coming down with a bad cold AND coming off two crashes, put together a silver medal-winning run.
  • Four is an unlucky number in Asian cultures.  It was pretty unlucky for Daniel Bodin because he kept missing the podium, but this year, four times is the charm.

Congratulations to Kaya Turski (Women’s Ski Slopestyle), Daniel Bodin (Freestyle Snowmobiling), and Sarah Burke (Women’s Ski SuperPipe) for their victories!

Jen’s Prediction Status: 1/3 – This is not counting Freestyle Snowmobiling. Ashleigh McIvor has pulled out so that prediction isn’t correct.
Quote of the Day: “She likes to get wax jobs.  I call that foreplay.” – Torstein Horgmo, on his new board “Nicole”
Trick of the Day: Whatever that crazy thing Joe Parsons pulled in Snowmobile Freestyle Snowmobile, where he turns around mid-backflip to land backwards on his sled.
Inspiration of the Day: The return of Kevin Pearce, who was in critical condition last year, was a very touching moment.  We’re glad to have him back and in good health and spirits. I might have shed a tear.

Question of the Day (for y’all to answer): What do you think of Shaun White’s ripper pants and leather jacket?

I think I will combine Day 2 with Day 3 since certain events will keep me away from my computer and the TV. So keep an eye out for that huge post on Sunday.

Listening to: “Jojyoushi” by L’Arc~en~Ciel

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.

Anybody catch Shaun White on Conan last night? If you missed it, the clip is on the Team Coco site. Conan had some good questions, like whether surfing would be the next sport for Shaun to take up and how did it feel to be in a video game way back before the Wii and PS3. The interview managed to turn into Larry King Live halfway through, as the camera shifted to Conan’s other guest. It wasn’t the most informative of interviews (besides the Winter X Games), but there was a lot of funny light banter.

I feel as though I’ve kind of grown up with him because we’re the same age and I’ve followed Shaun’s career since the beginning (his Winter X debut was the first year I started watching). His hair is a good measure of how long it has been. While he’s pretty recognizable these days with his long red hair, I remember when he was pint-sized and short-haired. I also remembered him saying in a Winter X profile back in the day that he liked building Gundam models (I liked the Gundam series). I wonder if he still has those models.

For those of you who have never seen Shaun White in his early days, check out this video:

Listening to: “Space Cowboy” by Abney Park