Mark McMorris aims for 3rd straight gold at X Games
Our preview of competition around the world this weekend
Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo., highlights the international scene this weekend, as many Canadian Olympic medal hopefuls continue their road to Sochi. Here's a quick list of events to watch over the next few days:
The ski cross season continues with one more World Cup event before the Olympic break. The qualification period for Sochi is already complete but the chase for the overall World Cup title continues on Saturday in Kreischberg, Austria.
Canada leads the way in both the men’s and women’s races with Dave Duncan and Marielle Thompson sitting atop the standings. Other Canadians expected to be named to the Olympic team on Monday include Kelsey Serwa, Georgia Simmerling, Brady Leman and Chris Del Bosco.
Slopestyle: Kaya Turski leads the charge as Canada’s Olympic slopestyle team heads to Aspen, Colo., for X Games on Sunday. Joining Turski will be 19-year-old Dara Howell of Huntsville, Ont., who currently leads the overall standings. Alex-Beaulieu Marchand, the lone Canadian on the men’s Olympic team will also be competing.
Halfpipe: Canada’s strong halfpipe team will look to perfect their Olympic runs on Friday night at X Games in Aspen, Colo. Mike Riddle and Justin Dorey lead the way in the men’s event while Rosalind Groenewoud will represent in the women’s event.
Slopestyle: Canada’s Olympic slopestyle team has a lot on the line as they head to Aspen for X Games on Saturday. Mark McMorris is aiming for his third straight gold medal while Sebastien Toutant and Maxence Parrot look to upset the champion. Spencer O’Brien will compete in the women’s event.
Snowboard cross: Canada’s recently named Olympic snowboard team will also be in Aspen for X Games. Snowboard cross was taken out of the event for one year but makes its return for the 2014 season. Chris Robanske, Maelle Ricker, Kevin Hill, Dominique Maltais, Rob Fagan and Jake Holden will be competing as they continue to prepare for Sochi. Their action begins on Friday.
Alpine skiing: The Cortina d'Ampezzo schedule in Italy includes women's super-G races on Thursday and Sunday and downhill races Friday and Saturday. The schedule has been reworked after postponed events last week in both Italy and Germany. Larisa Yurkiw of Owen Sound, Ont., will compete for Canada, The top men's skiers are at legendary Kitzbuehel, for a slalom on Friday, downhill on Saturday and combined slalom and super-G on the final day.
Warm weather and fog could hamper the plans to get in a full slate, and in fact has already forced a shuffling of events. Jan Hudec of Calgary is headed to Kitzbuehel despite recent back woes. Erik Guay of Mont Tremblant, Que., and Manny Osborne-Paradis of North Vancouver are Canada's biggest podium threats.
Bobsleigh: The bobsled World Cup season continues in Konigssee, Germany, on Saturday with a men’s two-man event. Drivers Lyndon Rush and Chris Spring will look to pick up momentum as they lead their teams to Sochi.
On Sunday, the women will be in action with Kailie Humphries and Heath Moyse looking to land on the podium again. The men will also compete on Sunday in the four-man event.
Luge: The luge World Cup tour continues with the ninth event of the season on Saturday in Sigunda, Latvia. Canadians Alex Gough Sam Edney, Justin Snith and Tristan Walker are scheduled to compete.
Ski jumping:The ski jumping scene moves to Sapporo, Japan, for a men’s event. Canada’s Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes is set to compete. Also this weekend, Atsuko Tanaka and Taylor Henrich will continue their season in Slovenia at the women’s event.
Nordic combined: The nordic combined World Cup season continues in Oberstdorf, Germany, on Saturday with a team and relay events. On Sunday, competition continues with a 10k race.