After watching last night’s X Games Superpipe finals I could’nt help but wonder; Have halfpipe athletes pushed the limits of what’s possible too far?
Sure, we have seen an array of new halfpipe tricks over the last year, with almost the entire field landing different double flips and corks, skiing switch in the middle of their runs, and going over 20 feet out of the pipe not only on their first hit. But the question remains, has technicality become so important that 3 runs each are not longer enough to land a scoring run?
Out of the 24 runs that were presented last night (8 skiers, 3 runs each), I counted to maybe 6 landed runs. Now, I know personally that nerves come into play at the most important event of the year, but in the finals of the biggest competition in our sport you would expect to see some consistency. Are athletes going to take luck and chance into consideration when they are planning their winning run? I can only speak for myself, but when planning a slopestyle run I make sure I have landed it at least once in practice and that I am comfortable with all the tricks in it, even if I know it won’t make it to the top of the podium. I always know there’s a few better tricks I can do, but I will save those for my last run when I have landed at least one run that I am happy with. In the pipe last night, several athletes fell on all three runs, making it possible for a skier to take 4th place without doubles and without any rotations over 720 (Duncan Adams). While not taking away anything from Duncan’s amazingly stylish run, he did have luck on his side when all of the athletes below him either fell on all three runs, or made big mistakes in the few runs they landed. Maybe we should take a step back and not let progression get ahead of us, because when it turns into a lottery if you’re going to land or not, that’s when things get dangerous.
I’m not going to get into an argument on who deserved what color medal, but all three podium runs were amazing, perfectly executed and brilliant examples of what pipe skiing should be like – a balanced mix of technical and stylish tricks paired with impressive amplitude. I also want to give a huge shout-out to my buddy Torin Yater-Wallace, who became the youngest X Games medalist in history with his near perfect silver medal run. Good work, young padawan!
[IMG]freeride.se/jacobwester/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/IMG_5724-496x330.jpg[/IMG]Justin ‘bone’ Dorey after going down on what could potentially be the most outrageous halfpipe run in history, for the third and final time.
[IMG]freeride.se/jacobwester/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/IMG_5766-496x330.jpg[/IMG]Kevin Rolland being congratulated by countryman Thomas Krief after taking home his second gold medal in a row.
[IMG]freeride.se/jacobwester/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/IMG_5740-496x330.jpg[/IMG]Torin Yater-Wallace, age 15, first X Games, and first X Games silver medal. This is the future of pipe skiing.
In other news, I am just getting out of bed here at the Limelight Lodge in Aspen, going to take a walk through town, get a coffee, then head over to the venue to watch my comrades battle it out on the slopestyle course at 2.30pm this afternoon. Wish I was in it but I get another chance later this evening as I am doing the big air competition. As you all know by now the talk of the town is Torstein Horgmo’s triple flip from last night (I am never going to call a triple back a “cork”), and everyone is talking about who’s going to do it on skis. It won’t be me, since I’d rather punch myself in the balls over and over all day than do a triple on a concrete hard, relatively small jump in January. I’ll make sure to give you all a good show nonetheless!