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Six Storylines Heading Into Euro X2013-03-15
While the FFL season is 2/3 of the way over, the action is still far from over, with European X Games coming up next week. This season has been a weird one, and while we're happy to see less injuries than last season, it's been hard to predict. Here are some of the hot topics moving in to next week.
Dave Wise and Torin Yater-Wallace: Can anyone beat them?
These two have been on the top of their game all season. While Torin has been more consistent (hasn't finished worse than 2nd since NZ), David has won three of the last four events in convincing fashion. While they'll be the two to watch battle it out in three finals runs of glory (assuming they both make finals), the battle for third will be a distant contest. Will The Dumont snag another X podium like in Aspen? Will newcomers Blunck or JPV make a statement? Will Riddle FINALLY get that X hardware? Time will tell. But add both Torin and David to your FFL teams.
Russ Henshaw vs. the World:
It's not actually the world that holds Russ back, but he seems to think the judges are at least stacked against him. While it's been an industry joke for some time that the judges secretly judge Russ lower, the Aussie was vocal about it at the FIS World Champs in Norway. "Turns out the judges are never stoked on my skiing," he wrote on Twitter. "Not sure what else I can do to please them." While we wouldn't quite guess that there is an agent against them, you can't argue that Russ is a phenomenal skier--but he's very tall--so common sense dictates he would get scored lower. Whatever you think, Russ is a fairly safe bet, even at $30K. Shit, he did win the only Dew Tour. But if you think the fix is in, maybe look toward Nick Goepper ($33K) or Tom Wallisch ($31.5K).
Taking the sting away from the Queen Bee:
The freeski world was shocked when Kaya Turski failed to 7-peat at Winter X in January. Not to worry, she still took silver (and after sweating a lengthy course hold all by her lonesome). But it did signal the beginning of a new wave led by Norway's Tiril Christiansen. Kaya has rounded back into form by winning the FIS World Champs, so we'll chalk the silver up to nothing more than a momentary lapse. While Tiril (and lesser known Lisa Zimmerman) are the future, Kaya is the now, and she'll be doing her best to remind everyone of that next week. And if you can't decide, Tiril only costs $26,500, while Kaya costs $35,000 (as does Dara Howell).
This year isn't marred injury like 2012, but we've seen our fair share keep big names out. For starters, 2012 Euro X slope champ Bobby Brown is out with an ankle injury. Will the rest of the field rest easier knowing Bobs isn't around? If I were a golfer, I'd be more at ease knowing Tiger was on the mend. However, with a number of heavy hitters coming off strong events, we still expect an extremely competitive field. Tom Wallisch just won FIS World Champs. Gus Kenworthy just took 2nd at the wild and wacky Red Bull Playstreets. Andreas Hatveit took back-to-back 4ths at the AFO and FIS World Champs. Nick Goepper won a little thing called X Games, and the AFO (and a 3rd in Norway). James Woods has five podiums this year, and Henrik Harlaut has three. Bobby is almost luckier he doesn't have to compete against this field.
Where did Virginie Faivre come from?
Not really. Virg has been flashing that Swiss smile of hers for year, but she did kind of a disappearing act last year (she finished 22nd on the AFP halfpipe list. Hell, Keri Herman and Rose Battersby did better and they aren't pipe skiers). But she has pleasantly been reborn, taking the win in Oslo. While Maddie Bowman put up a DNS and Roz G. fell both runs, we still have to count her as a contender. She puts style into her skiing, something the judges clearly have been rewarding. Best of all, she hasn't maxed out at $35K yet, she's a relative bargain buy at $29.5K.
If you haven't seen the video of Joffrey Pollet-Villard going to the moon in Oslo, click here. While we have him pegged as a dark horse (he did take 5th in Aspen, albeit a light final), expect him to make finals and send it to the moon again. Certainly he's one of the more exciting pipe skier nowadays, and he'll be rewarded for his amplitude.
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