words by Jeff Schmuck
photos by CKO
Another warm and beautiful day in Aspen today as the 12th annual X-Games continues to pick up speed. Today is the first official day of the event and the excitement is evident as the crowds begin to roll into town for the weekend. Later tonight one of the most anticipated competitions of the Games goes down as the skiers take to the Superpipe for finals, but today the boys spent the afternoon warming up on the Slopestyle course in preparation for Sunday.
The course is rather unique this year, with four jumps in a row instead of the standard or split-up three, and only two jibs (boxes, not rails) that kick things off at the start of the course. The jumps are pretty large and in charge, and much to the delight of some athletes and to the chagrin of others, there isn’t a ton of space in between to set up for the next hit. Athletes such as Matt Walker, Charles Gagnier, Sammy Carlson and others seem to be in love with the flow of the course, while others are concerned that the lack of time in between will prevent them from throwing down their biggest tricks.
Sammy Carlson, Jacob Wester, Charles Gagnier and Jon Olsson appeared to be the most on-point throughout the day, with huge switch 9’s from Sammy, kangaroos from Jacob, flawless switch 9’s and 10’s off the bottom hit from Charles and the standard huge and styled-out offerings from Jon.
Sammy was particularly in the zone with his extremely stoked and focused attitude, and was the first one on course this morning and will likely to be the last to leave.
Also skiing extremely well today was Kevin Rolland, who is proceeding to make an even bigger name for himself this week after qualifying third in Superpipe last night and throwing huge bio 9’s and 10’s to the bottom of the jumps all day.
Tanner Rainville and PK Hunder will also be two to watch on Sunday as they were absolutely killing it all day long with their unique and Pringle-crisp style that we’ve all come to expect but never get tired of.
Check back later tonight as we’ll be putting up a video with some of today’s shenanigans including some entertaining athlete interviews and killer footage from the Slopestyle practice.
Also stay tuned to NS later tonight for full coverage on the Superpipe finals, and be sure to kick your dad off the couch and turn on ESPN at 6:30 Pacific/7:30 Mountain/9:30 Eastern to watch the big show as it happens live, because if the qualifiers were any indication of what’s about to go down, trust me…you wont want to miss it.