As the new host and face of the 2013 Winter X Games in Aspen, Ramona Bruland gives us the scoop on this year's top athletes, newly added events, and a trick for the history books.
Congrats on being the new ESPN host for the 2013 Winter X Games, as well as multiple X Games events worldwide. What events are you most excited about for this year’s Winter X?
RAMONA BRULAND: Well, at X Games Aspen I always look forward to the superpipe events—both the men and women. Also, snowmobile best trick is always so spectacular to see up close and in person. Oh, and in the big air, skiers are going to try the elusive triple cork 1440 for the first time in X Games history.
Who are the top three athletes are on your X radar?
RB: Watch out for Mark McMorris, as he is going to give Shaun White another good run for his money in slopestyle. Last year in snowboard slopestyle and big air, McMorris won double gold, something Shaun White is trying to achieve this year.
In the ladies, Kelly Clark is going for her third consecutive gold in snowboard halfpipe, but in early January of 2013 at Copper Mountain, Torah Bright, out of nowhere, nudged Kelly off the top of the podium. Throw in local snowboarder and four-time gold medalist Gretchen Bleiler and you’ve got yourself a great women’s competition!
Another Aspen local and gifted youngster is Torin Yater-Wallace. [Torin] recently recovered from shoulder surgery but is fighting fit and hungry for another gold in the ski superpipe event.
What new events are on slate this year?
RB: Snowmobile snocross and speed and style events are back on the roster in 2013 after a year hiatus. Super spectacular events that are loud and fast, and showcase incredible athleticism. Watch for Tucker Hibbert, 28-years-old, who already holds ten medals in snocross and is still the youngest person to win gold at an X Games winter event at just 15 years of age back in 2000. Hibbert goes for his sixth consecutive gold on Sunday afternoon to make history as the first to six-peat at a winter event.
What about tricks?
RB: Everyone’s talking about the triple corks. We’ve been seeing plenty of doubles over the last few years in big air, slopestyle, and even halfpipe, but after snowboarders Mark McMorris and Torstein Horgmo landed triple corks in snowboard big air at Aspen in 2012, everyone is wondering who on the ski big air roster for 2013 is going to be the first to attempt and land a triple cork 1440. Now it’s important to note that a triple cork is three inverted rotations in one jump. Throw in an off-axis spin and you have a 1440. This is an insanely difficult trick and to see it in person is something you will never forget.