Winter X Games 14 continued today with pipe practice in the morning and the first slopestyle practice in the afternoon. A Bluebird morning gave way to a milky afternoon, as competitors took to the start gate this afternoon. The course is mean, fast and unforgiving, as the riders felt it out and got their feet under them.
The course starts off with a 4-rail option [flat bar, flat box, down bar or down box] to a 3-rail option [gap to down box, double-kink rail or pole-jam style rail]. Next up is a hitching bar style stall/stepover. Think of a place where you tie horses in the old west, with a steep jump up to it. Next option is either a sizable canon box or pretty gnarly gap to rainbow rail, which it seemed that only Sammy Carlson was hitting. Then follow three pretty floaty jumps, in quick succession, like three bullets fired out of a six-shooter.
The flat light slowed progression and made competitors wary of the features at first, but soon everyone was flipping and spinning to their heart’s content. Wallisch and HÃ¥tveit were flipping off the canon box, Henshaw and HÃ¥tveit were hand dragging the stall rail, Carlson was double flipping the second jump. Much of the mayhem continued into the afternoon. Sleds whined as they hauled riders back to the start, only to return to the corral to find more riders waiting for the combustible engine powered rides.
While today was milky, the riders (and event organizers) are hoping for some sunny weather as the week continues. Stay tuned for all of the X Games coverage, here at Freeskier.com. Up tomorrow, Women’s Superpipe elimination in the evening.