The 2016 Winter X Games get underway today (Jan. 28) in Aspen, Colorado and run through to Jan. 31. Three Comox Valley athletes are scheduled to compete.
Fresh off a slopestyle podium sweep in Switzerland, Canada’s national team has their eyes set on X Games gold. A strong Canadian contingent was invited to this year’s X Games.
Darcy Sharpe of Comox, who finished fourth in Switzerland, is one of four Canadians competing in men’s snowboard slopestyle and big air while Spencer O’Brien of Courtenay (sixth in Switzerland) is the only Canadian woman competing in snowboard slopestyle.
The Canadian Freestyle Ski Association notes the X Games will not feature any qualifiers. Each event will have one final and a best-of-three run format. A total of 12 men will compete in each of the ski superpipe and slopestyle competitions. The women’s field will feature only eight in each event.
You can follow snowboarders Sharpe and O’Brien and freestyle skier Cassie Sharpe, and all the Canadian athletes, at http://xgames.espn.go.com/xgames/
Local Trio in Action
O’Brien is entered in the women’s snowboard slopestyle final on Friday, Jan. 29 at 10 a.m. MT. The 27-year-old is described as one of the most progressive female slopestyle riders on the scene. Always a favourite for the podium, O’Brien has earned four XG medals (1 silver, 3 bronze) in her 10 appearances.
She became the first female to land a 900 in X Games competition when she stomped a backside 900 off the Money Booter at XG Aspen 2015. She says that her 10th year competing at X Games Aspen is a big milestone for her and that she’d love to finally score X Games gold, but that her biggest goal is to ride her best and be happy with that, no matter the outcome.
Both the Sharpes are making their X Games debut.
Darcy, 19, is described as a serious threat in Aspen – he was named Toyota Athlete of the Year at the Breckenridge Dew Tour in 2015 after locking down his second-consecutive streetstyle win and a third in slopestyle.
He is scheduled to compete in the men’s snowboard slopestyle final on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 12 p.m. MT and the big air final on Friday, Jan. 29 at 8:15 p.m. MT.
Cassie, 23, is entered in the women’s ski superpipe final on Friday Jan. 29 at 6:30 p.m. MT. The overall 2015 FIS World Cup halfpipe champion scored a second place at the Dec. 2015 Dew Tour in Breckenridge, Colorado despite tearing ligaments in her left thumb during training.