Mike Riddle is feeling good, on the hunt for his first X Games medal

January 23rd, 2013 by

Mike Riddle has been a household name for a number of years. The Canadian halfpipe maestro has bagged countless podiums over the past few years, and is known as one of the smoothest pipe skiers in the game. Despite experiencing many successes thus far in his career, one piece of hardware has evaded Riddle: an X Games medal.

So far this season, Riddle has topped the podium at The North Face Park and Pipe Open Series at Copper, finished third at the Winter Dew Tour at Breckenridge and earned another first place finish at the US Grand Prix at Copper earlier this month. Can Riddle carry his momentum through the week and secure his first X Games medal? We checked in with him to see how he’s feeling.

Q&A with Mike Riddle

You’ve been crushing it so far this season. How are you feeling going into X Games? I’m pretty excited for X this year, I’m feeling stronger and more confident than ever. I’m dreading the stress that comes along with it. X seems to be the most stressful, as it’s widely regarded as the biggest event in terms of media, exposure, pressure from sponsors, etc. There’s always more stuff going on: autograph signings, that kind of stuff. It’s just a hectic week. Trying to not think about that stuff, and I’m not stressed right now, so… I’m here, and feeling good.

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Riddle at the top of the X Games superpipe during Tuesday’s training session.

You mentioned in an interview post Grand Prix that you might have some new tricks for us to watch out for. Can you let us in on any secrets? I’ve got the double flat 7 now, and I’m going to try to put that in my run here. There are a few things in the works, but that’s the main thing I’m trying to put in my run for X.

What does the X Games medal mean to you? The X Games has been the pinnacle of our sport for a long time, so the X medal is the ultimate achievement. That may change next year [because of Sochi], but it’s always going to be a very special piece of hardware. I’ve had some 4th place finishes, so I hope to put an end to that drought this year.

Any predictions on who may be stepping up on the podium? I heard Thomas Krief learned double 14 the other day, so he’s one of the “Flying Frenchmen” to watch out for. Another top pick might be Torin [Yater-Wallace], if he’s healthy, which it sounds like he is. David Wise… and Matt Margetts is skiing the best I’ve ever seen him ski.

Watch Mike Riddle’s Pipedreams, Episode 7.

Anything in particular you’re looking forward to about X Games, aside from competing? I’m looking forward to the big show. Huge crowds, finals under the lights at night—we didn’t have that last year—checking out all the other events… It’s always fun to watch slope, they do such a good job of putting it on. And big air, too. The vibe of the whole town, it’s pretty awesome to be here this week.

What are you doing to be in tip-top shape going into the week? Gym? Any crazy diets? Nothing different than how I’ve been prepping for any of the other comps. I’m going to the gym, yes, I’m eating food… [laughs] Mostly just skiing every day is the best thing I can be doing.

What’s one big advantage of having coaches around this week? Trennon [Paynter] and assistant coach Marc McDonnell are both here this week, and with us all season. It’s nice to have two sets of eyes on you. If you’re doing something wrong, they’ll pick it out for you. We do video review on-hill if we want to see what we’re doing wrong. Having the coaches is a huge help for us as we’re looking to do new tricks, or even perfect ones we’ve had on lock for a while.

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Trennon Paynter, Justin Dorey, Mike Riddle and Marc McDonnell at Dew Tour. Photo by Shay Williams.

Related:

- Photo Gallery: See shots from first superpipe practice session at X Games Aspen
Gus Kenworthy explains the difficulty of juggling three disciplines at X Games
- Check out the Winter X Games 17 competition schedule by day
- See the 2013 X Games Aspen television broadcast schedule
- See photos of the 2013 X Games Aspen slopestyle course

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About the author:
Henrik Lampert loves hot dogs, backflips, the Boston Bruins and Norway. Twenty-seven years old and a Massachusetts native, he's the Editor of Freeskier Magazine and Freeskier.com—a proud staffer since 2010.