The battle for X Games gold starts today. And for athletes in the hunt, it’s another year in which the boundaries are being pushed even further. With more and more spins.
Slopestyle competitor Mark McMorris says judges are being pushed to be more picky about how they hand out high scores.
“It’s ever so progressing and really fun to be a part of, definitely the judges are honing in on special grabs and not just the next rotation,” he says.
Progression was the theme of the day as the games have reached a tipping point between safety and continuing to push the human body further. Caleb Moore died after sustaining injuries during a snowmobile event in 2013.
Caleb’s brother Colten, still competes in snowmobile events. He said his brother still influences his drive to compete.
“You know, if my brother was here and I thought about quitting, he’d probably smack me," Moore said. "Now I like to come back here, and every time I ride, I’m riding for my brother and it’s awesome.”
But it isn’t just about the way men are progressing winter sports. The women are working just as hard, if not harder to push skiing and riding to new levels. Maddie Bowman will be skiing in the Women’s Super Pipe event.
“A lot of the girls are going bigger, more technical tricks. More grabs. It’s super cool," Bowman said. "I’m really excited. We’re ready to go out there and show everyone what we’ve been doing because last year we got a little bit of hate for it. We’re excited and the girls killing it, so you should come out, Friday night.”
Last year, an opinion article on Freeskier.com suggested that the Women’s Skiing Super event should be discontinued because it wasn't as good as the men's event.
Carrying the torch for women’s snowboarding is 15-year-old Chloe Kim. Kim won her first X Games medal when she was only 13, a time when she says she was more focused on looking for candy. Now she’s back and more focused.
“I feel like I’ve calmed down a lot more," Kim said. "I’m more aware of what’s going on. I think that’s going to be really helpful now that I’ve calmed down and I’m not hyper on sugar. I think it’s gonna be great.”
The first medals will be handed out at 2 p.m. in the special olympics unified snowboarding final.