The second day of practice sessions for Winter X Games 15 wrapped up on Tuesday night, with hundreds of athletes from all over the world now in Aspen ready to throw down at one of the world’s most notorious winter action sports events. The superpipe is dialled, the other courses are getting the final touches and Buttermilk Mountain is prepped for a deluge of spectators and undoubtedly record-setting action.
There’s never any shortage of drama at the X Games, summer or winter, and this event is no exception. Of course, it’s more about chilling and hanging out with friends behind the scenes than it is about cutthroat competition, but that doesn’t mean the competitive vibe is non-existent.
Case in point: Simon Dumont. One of the most driven competitors in freeskiing, Dumont has racked up a total of seven WXG medals, and medalled in SuperPipe six years straight (two of them gold) – until last year, that is. Dumont left WXG 2010 with no hardware, and the last time that happened was in 2003.
- Born in Bethel, Maine, USA
- 5'7 150 lbs
- Played soccer and golf in HIgh School
There’s no doubt Simon’s on a mission to return to the podium, judging by the work he’s been putting in already this season.
“My season’s been going pretty well – it’s actually been exhausting,” he said after SuperPipe practice on Tuesday. “I’ve done five contests before the X Games and usually the X Games is my first big one. I podiumed at all three of the pipe contests I rode in, so I’m feeling pretty good.”
Simon’s got his work cut out for him, as he’ll be battling defending gold medallist Kevin Rolland from France. He’s no stranger to rising to the occasion when he’s facing an opponent, though, as shown by his all-out battles with Red Bull teammate Tanner Hall in past WXG events.
It’s not all business, though – Simon wants to win, but he knows how to have fun as well.
'I’ll obviously be bummed if I don’t do that well' – Simon Dumont
“Oh, it’s always fun – it’s fun to win,” he says. “I’ll obviously be bummed if I don’t do that well, but the whole process is pretty fun. The crowd is always awesome – I usually have a great following here, and that’s an achievement in itself."
Speaking of fun, snowboard SuperPipe competitor Greg Bretz is enjoying a little more freedom in his schedule this season, after spending last season hard at work repping the U.S. on the Olympic Snowboard Team.
- Lives in Mammoth Lakes, California, USA
- 6'0 165 lbs
- Member of the 2010 U.S. Snowboarding Team
“I’ve been able to go home and ride pow and pretty much do what I want, after last year being so hectic,” he says. He managed to hit the podium in third place at the opener of the Winter Dew Tour in December in Breckenridge, Colorado, and he’s eyeing a podium stand here in Aspen as well, after finishing just outside of the medal standings in fourth last year.
“I really do want to get on that podium for sure; last year was a tease,” he says. “I’m confident in my riding, and I’ve got a couple new tricks that hopefully I can put together and get in on that top three.”
Bretz hit it hard over the summer and added the double McTwist 1260 and a double backside rodeo to his bag of tricks, and hopes to drop them back-to-back in at least one run in Aspen. WXG knows the athletes plan to throw down the best they have to offer, so they always step up with the best pipe possible to make it all happen. “The pipe’s good – really good,” adds Bretz.
'I really do want to get on that podium; last year was a tease' – Greg Bretz
Despite riding at a top level, Bretz is still known for being a laid-back guy, so he takes the heat of competition all in stride. “Winter X Games, as contests go, is such a mellow contest for the riders,” he says. “All the practices are so laid back. Everyone here is the best of the best, but we’re just here to have fun. It seems like it’s all business, but it’s good to have fun, too.”
Like most events in the action sports world, Winter X Games strikes that perfect balance between exciting competition, accelerated progression and a damn good time. A perfect recipe to keep the world watching – not to mention launch new stars. “After you win an X Games, it takes things to a whole new level,” adds Dumont, and he should know.
Want more on the Winter X Games?:
- Snowmobile star Daniel Bodin digs for X Games gold
- More Winter X Games on RedBull.com
- Winter X Games US TV and Internet broadcast schedule from Red Bull USA