Posts Tagged ‘Torstein Horgmo’

The last two days have been a test of my determination to watch the X Games. I wound up missing Day 1 and part of Day 2 because of work and a photoshoot. On top of that, AT&T doesn’t have WatchESPN access so I had to go hunting for a TV with cable, dinner and Mountain Dew in tow. When I found one, I wound up losing my pen. It’s been a fight to see the action, but I’m glad I was able to catch what I did.

Ski thoughts

  • The TrickTrack on the X Games site is really cool, but it takes away part of the fun of my job.
  • Sarah Burke would’ve been proud of what went down in Women’s Ski SuperPipe. Everyone except Jen Hudak (who’s coming back from injury) did a 900.
  • Annalisa Drew, a rookie, tried to go for the 1260. That’s definitely a way to get noticed.
  • The walls are 22 feet. Roz Groenewoud soared 14+ feet over that.
  • The defending gold medalist goes last, which creates potential drama. In this case, we had Maddie Bowman snagging the top spot early on and Roz trying to knock her off.
  • In the Men’s SuperPipe final, Simon Dumont made a comeback. He gave quite an impressive performance considering it’s his first comp after his injury and he’s got pins in his wrist and no poles.
  • Newcomer Aaron Blunck showed a lot of potential. He goes fast and huge, but he’s gotta learn to not be so squirrelly.
  • Kevin Rolland had good run until he clipped his ribs on last trick. That looked like a painful way to go down.
  • I’ve heard a lot about the effectiveness of visualization, and maybe the claims are true. It seemed to have helped David Wise, who was shown spinning his helmet.
  • He did the first back-to-back double cork 1080, spinning in both directions.
  • Joffrey Pollet-Villard got so much amplitude, over 23 feet.
  • Torin Yater-Wallace put up a really awesome fight for gold, especially since he was coming off of an injury and doing tricks he hadn’t tried since summer.
  • David Wise got second highest score in Ski SuperPipe history. The highest belongs to Candide Thovex.davidwise_zps27b09eba photo davidwise_zps27b09eba.jpg (From Aspen/Snowmass Instagram)

Snowboard thoughts

  • Triples (corks and rodeos) are the trick to winning Snowboard Big Air. Because the standings are determined by your two highest scores, it’s good to have different variations in the bag.
  • I did wish the judges gave more style points though.
  • Halldor Helgason took a hard fall and wound up getting a concussion. Hope he gets well soon!
  • Ståle Sandbech got an early lead with the competition trailing behind by more than 20 points for much of the evening.
  • Backside triples are harder than Cab triples so Mark McMorris’ only got a 38. It’s unbelievable to consider that triple corks were the winning trick last year.
  • Also crazy is Ulrik Badertscher getting a low score for a 1620.
  • Guys were crashing all over the place trying their triple cork variation.
  • The Big Air finals really proved that you can’t be too comfy sitting up top, especially when you’re against a hot bed of talent. Ståle didn’t try to better his score (not that I blame him because the guys were getting really beat-up), and that wound up costing him.
  • There could not have been a more dramatic conclusion. Last two riders on their last jumps, both former gold medalists, do tricks that have never been stomped in competition (and in Mark’s case, never done period) after spending most of the contest wiping out. Both Mark McMorris and Torstein Horgmo made it count although they both seemed really surprised too.

Snowmobile thoughts

  • Even though I wasn’t present to see the contest, I did watch the video of Levi LaVallee’s run and he has definitely made a comeback.
  • I also want to send well wishes to the Moore brothers. Caleb Moore has had surgery for his heart contusion. Colton Moore has been treated for a dislocated pelvis.

Congratulations to our gold medalists: Levi LaValle (Snowmobile Freestyle), Louis-Felix Paradis (Snowboard Street and Real Street judges’ vote), Maddie Bowman (Women’s Ski SuperPipe), David Wise (Men’s Ski SuperPipe), and  Torstein Horgmo (Snowboard Big Air)!

Prediction Status: 2/3
Quote of the Day: “She would fall harder than any other girl, and she would get back up and do it again until she got it.” – Maddie Bowman, on Sarah Burke
Trick of the Day: Torstein Horgmo’s switch backside triple cork 1440, with Mark McMorris’ Cab triple underflip 1440 in a a close second
Inspiration of the Day: Simon Dumont – He came out for the fans despite having surgery last December. He couldn’t use poles and still got bronze.
Question of the Day: Do you think skiing is becoming more popular than snowboarding? (The New York Times thinks so.)

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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

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