It appears as though either A) nobody on the 'Chair watches the X Games or B) no one liked my first attempt at covering the 13th Winter X Games (http://armchairgm.wikia.com/Article:Winter_X_Games_13:_Day_1_Recap) currently taking place in Aspen, Colorado. So, let me try again...
Day number two in Aspen--Friday the 23rd--topped day one's action by a mile. The coverage, which began at 9:30 PM ET (half an hour later than the night before), kicked off with the Women competing in the Ski Superpipe finals. Of the eight finalists, Canadian Sarah Burke edged off the other seven with her final run of 93.33. The Gold medal was Burke's third career WXG Gold medal. Jen Hudak scored a 92.66 in her third run, which was enough for the Silver medal and her best finish in her short WXG history.
The women's Snowboard Superpipe final followed Burke's fantastic performance. Austrailian Torah Bright came away with the Gold in the event--her first ever WXG Gold medal--with the score 91.33. The competition in this event was stacked--Americans Kelly Clark, Hannah Teter and the favorite Gretchen Bleiler were fine examples--but Bright held them off to capture Gold. Clark came away with the Silver (88.33 in first run) and Hannah Teter's third run score of 83.00 was enough for the Bronze. Bleiler, who may have been the most experienced of the field of eight 'boarders, struggled in this event, wiping out in each run, and was dead-last with her best score being a disastrous 40.00.
In the final main event of the night--Snowmobile 'Next Trick' competition--Snowmobile phenom Levi LaVallee finished the night of excitement with an attempt at landing just the second-ever double backflip in XG and flat-out competition history. MotoCross driver Travis Pastrana is the lone XG athlete to land one (he was on a dirt bike, of course), back in the '06 SXG. LaVallee came close, real close. The only problem was he overshot the landing and ended up hitting his face on the handlebars and flying off the 450+ pound machine. Luckily, he immediately stood upright and ran to the top of the ramp with his arms held high. He surely got the crowd, and was, deservingly, given a very loud applause. He didn't land it, and Dane Ferguson ended up taking the competition win, but the night was LaVallee's. I know, for sure, that at least Sal Masekala was impressed.
Other events that took place on Friday include; Men's and Women's Snowboard Slopestyle elimination, and the Snowmobile SnoCross round 1. Seven-time XG Gold medalist Shaun White narrowly escaped with a Slopestyle Finals apperance (only eight of the 16 competitors advance to the finals and White was the eighth), edging Kevin Pearce by just 1 point. Insanely lucky, Shaun. Notable snowboarders who did not make the cut included SBD Big Air finalists Travis Rice (winner) and Torstein Horgmo, and of course Kevin Pearce. As for the women's side of things, only six of the 11 competitors afvanced and it wasn't really all that close. Jenny Jones was the top qualifier (84.33) and the sixth best, Kimmy Fasani sent the 7th-best C.C. Curry home--63.66 to Curry's 44.00.
The Snocross field was chiseled down to 12 (six in each bracket), out of the original 24. LaVallee and Andrew Johnstad were the two riders to barely survive and live another day. The SnoCross final will be held at 8 PM ET tonight. Who will it be? Who knows, that's the fun part about all this.
Ah, yes. The first TV appearance for phenom Shaun White is today, Saturday January 24th. Three whole hours (3 PM ET-6 PM ET) have already played out, and Shaun White captured Gold #8. After just his second run in the Men's Snowboard Slopestyle final, White pretty much had his Gold wrapped up. White pull a few tricks out of his hat--which covered up the red mop on his head--and totaled a 96.00, on just one run! The run alone, which stands out mainly because of the monster 'wrong-way backside 720 he pulled, was devastating to his competitors. White is the Michael Phelps of Snowboarding (or is Michael Phelps the White of swimming?). Oh well, either way he is a force to be reckoned with; he has been for years now, to be exact. White took home his eighth Gold medal and his eighth overall medal in the Men's Slopestyle...in the past eight years. Which means only one thing. In the past eight years he has never NOT won some kind of medal in the event (six Gold, two Bronze).
Ok, so minus White, this competition would still have been pretty insane. Scotty Lago thought he would snag the Gold after his crazy performance (92.00 and 94.66 being his two best scores). What surprised me is that Andreas Wiig did not medal (5th; 89.00). Behind White, Wiig was my top pick to medal this event, but Lago and Mikkel Bang (Bronze with a 91.33) had other plans.
The rest of the early Saturday events in a nut shell; Anna Segal's score of 85.00 gave her the Gold in the Women's Ski Slopestyle final, Jenny Jones took home Gold in the Women's Snowboard Slopestyle final and, to wrap up the Women's coverage, the favorite--Lindsey Jacobellis--took home another Gold in the Women's Snowboarder X finals. Nate Holland completed the 4-peat in the Men's Snowboarder X after edging Graham Watanabe and Stian Sivertzen in the mad dash to the bottom of the snowy hill.
Stay tuned: Starting at 9 PM ET (on ESPN) there will be several more exciting WXG thirteen coverage. As the action unravels, I will, of course, add my two cents onto this waste-of-space article. Have a wonderful night.
Update (10:48 PM):
The SnoCross final took place. Yes, that's right, 15 riders, 20 laps and a track that is only about 2-3 snowmobiles wide. All three of those factors plus the snow and cold weather adds up to one heck of a race. One more thing I might add: there's only one Gold medal that can be won.
Update (11:00 PM):
Shaun White was the top qualifier in the Men's Snowboard Superpipe Elimination. The top six of the group of riders advanced to the final which will take place under the lights tomorrow night, wrapping up the WXG's in the process.
Update (11:18 PM):
Simon Dumont edges off competitor Jon Olsson for the Gold medal in the Ski Big-Air finals. Dumont's first Gold of the 13th Winter X Games.
Stay tuned: Starting at 2 PM ET (on ABC) tomorrow there will be several more exciting WXG thirteen events/coverage. As the action unravels, I will, of course, add my two cents onto this waste-of-space article (or put it into a totally different article...who knows!). Have a wonderful evening, all!