The Winter X Games are among the most pulse-pounding, high-adrenaline events in sports, and there will be no shortage of excitement on Friday when the 2013 SuperPipe Finals take place for both the men's and women's side.
Complete coverage can be seen on ESPN starting at 8:30 p.m. ET, beginning with the women's final. The men's event is expected to wrap up around 12:30 a.m. on early Saturday morning, and the America's Navy Snowboard Big Air Final will fall in between these SuperPipe thrillers.
Here is a preview of what to expect and the favorites to watch for in an aerial display in Aspen that is sure to be highly entertaining.
Defending gold medalist David Wise set the tone again in the SuperPipe elimination event, registering an outstanding 92.00 score in Run 2. His showing was highlighted by a leftside double cork 1260 mute (h/t ESPN).
On his official Twitter page, Wise expressed his excitement about his first-place finish, which will allow him to see all his competitors go ahead of him before the final:
But Wise isn't the only contender even as the reigning champion. The prodigious Torin Yater-Wallace is just 17 years of age, yet he still has plenty of experience. He has already notched a silver medal in this event in 2011 and captured the bronze last year.
Yater-Wallace is an Aspen local, and he put up an electric opening run of 90.00 in the elimination round. He is poised to prove himself ahead of Wise in the main event on Friday.
Watch for Joffrey Pollet-Villard as a potential darkhorse to win and as a strong candidate for the bronze medal at the very least as the second-ranked halfpipe skier in the world (h/t AFPWorldTour.com).
The fresh-faced Frenchman generated a whopping 19'9" and 19'5" of air in back-to-back tricks in the SuperPipe elimination, and has the potential to win thanks to outstanding hang-time to pull off the types of tricks worthy of the podium.
There was plenty of weight and emotion surrounding last year's finals, when Canadian skier Roz Groenewoud captured the gold medal after prolific compatriot Sarah Burke passed away in a training accident just ahead of the 2012 X Games.
It took an extraordinary, inspired run of 93.66 by Goenwoud to surpass precocious American Maddie Bowman, who settled for silver despite three stellar runs all in the 90s, as reported by ESPN's Colin Bane.
Groenewoud recently signed an endorsement deal with Target (h/t Vancouver Sun). With her style and athleticism, she has the chance to do for women's halfpipe skiing from a brand-building standpoint something reminiscent of what Shaun White has done in men's halfpipe snowboarding.
But Bowman will have something to say about that, as she is five years Goenwoud's junior and has plenty of positive experience to draw on from a year ago in her X Games debut.
Look for those two skiers to battle for the top prize, while last year's bronze medalist and 2011 runner-up Brita Sigourney should also figure prominently into the action once again.
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