Commentary

DROP INS| BOARDER CROSSING| FRESH FACES| FAST TRACK| COLD RECEPTION| BLAIR BY THE NUMBERS| FMX RIDERS REACT

Updated: July 10, 2012, 3:25 PM ET
By ALYSSA ROENIGK, CARRIE SHEINBERG, VINCE CASTELLANOS, ANDY & BRIAN KAMENETZKY

DROP INS

Fitness fanatic Gretchen Bleiler (above left), the new face of DunkinO Donuts, is appearing in a TV spot for the chainOs iced coffee. At the two-day ad shoot in Keystone, Colo., in early December, Bleiler had to bail after day one for training. In her place, pro snowboarder and stuntwoman Rachel Nelson (above right) acted as a body double for the Olympic silver medalist. (Nelson also doubled for Bleiler in an NBC Olympics spot.) For the record, thatOs Nelson pushing the snowblower but Bleiler blowing out of the halfpipe ... Six do-gooder X Games athletes designed snowboards to raise money for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. The boards were donated by O-MaticNa new board company run by Tara Dakides, Todd Richards and Andreas WiigNand tricked out by Bleiler, Tricia Byrnes (right), Mat Hoffman and the Crist brothers (Reggie and Zach). TheyOll be on display at Polar Revolution in downtown Aspen and sold at a silent auction Jan. 25-27 ... Speaking of the Crists, the Winter X Games will be minus one ski racing sib for the first time since 2001. Reggie recently had arthroscopic surgery on his left hip and wonOt be in racing shape by X ... Snowboarder Barrett Christy, who owns both summer and winter X Games gold medals, has a new gig. She was hired by NikeOs action sports brand, Nike 6.0, to

help it make a smooth entrance into the snowboard market

BOARDER CROSSING

2002 Olympic halfpipe gold medalist Ross Powers has been a Winter

X Games staple since 1997. This year heOs looking for a fresh startNin his original discipline. OI went to Torino and watched boardercross. It got me excited about racing again. I like racing because you donOt have to worry about judges; you have to be the fastest guy down to win. IOve done a lot in the halfpipe, but I never fulfilled what I wanted to accomplish in racing. Look at Shaun Palmer: HeOs done it all, in halfpipe and boardercross and mountain biking and skiing. ThereOs always a new challenge out there. This is mine.O

FRESH FACES FOUR RIDERS ON THE RISE

SAMMY CARLSON 18 Ski slopestyle and superpipe

BASE Tigard, Ore.

BREAKOUT Won the 2006 Peak Performance King of Style big air event in Stockholm.

NICKNAME The Stunt Double. He wears the same gear as Simon Dumont, head to toe.

GET THIS Nike 6.0 has promised Carlson his own shoe if he wins in Aspen.

CALLAN CHYTHLOOK-SIFSOF 17 Snowboarder X

BASE Girdwood, Alaska

BREAKOUT A member of the 2006-07 U.S. national team, Callan was the 2006 Junior National PGS champion.

FAST TRACK A self-professed smarty-pants, Callan finished high school a year early, wants to be an astronaut and plans to attend Dartmouth next year.

JACK MITRANI 18 Snowboard superpipe

BASE Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

THE SURREAL LIFE Born in NYC and raised in Vermont, Mitrani now lives with snowboarder Scotty Lago, skateboarder Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins and little bro Luke.

SIZE MATTERS The 5'1" J-Town is known for boosting mega airs out of the pipe.

SPENCER OOBRIEN 18 Snowboard slopestyle

BASE Courtenay, B.C.

BREAKOUT OSkoO followed up her first big podiumNthird in the rail jam at the 2005 U.S. OpenNwith a slopestyle silver in 2006.

STRONG MINDED To prep for her first trip to Winter X, OOBrien hired a personal trainer.

COLD RECEPTION

THE SPORT Sled shredders have 75 seconds to toss tricks off the trackOs six jumps (three snow, three wooden or steel ramps). Runs are scored by a panel of judges.

THE X COURSE Jump gaps range from 60 to 120 feet. The sled ramps are 6'6'' wide and 10 feet tall.

THE RIDES To modify a racing sled, freestyle riders may cut holes into the seats (for better grip on tricks like Superman seat grabs), switch out their handlebars and add expensive ultralightweight titanium parts. Racing sleds use a modified two-stroke 600cc engine, while freestyle sleds run the gamut from stock 440cc engines to modified 800cc mills.

THE TRICKS Only the FMX double backflip and body varial elude the sled set. Flip side: A few SNX tricks are absent from the moto scene, including a Frisby air, where the rider spins a 180 and lands facing the takeoff (above).

THE FRONT-RUNNER Justin Hoyer, 24, is the only rider to flip both a sled and a bike in competition. OPeople say the sports are apples to apples, but theyOre not,O he says. OTricks on sleds are new, and there arenOt a lot of guys who are good.O

BLAIR BY THE NUMBERS

If stats are the stick by which we measure success, then SNX stud Blair Morgan is the best athlete in WX history. Not that anyone notices. OI donOt hang in the VIP tent, donOt watch other events, donOt mingle and donOt rock-star it,O he says. Morgan holds WX records for consecutive years with a medal (8), medals in a discipline (8) and golds in a discipline (5). Only Barrett Christy has more medals, 10 in 21 starts; Air Blair is 8-for-9. At 31 heOs also the oldest snocross racer in AspenNagain. OIOm like Rocky: IOm old, but I come out swinging.O

FMX RIDERS REACT

OThereOs a rally car race that weekend IOve wanted to go to for the past two years. Now I can.O -OCOWBOYO KENNY BARTRAM

OWinter X better suits the sleds. IOll be rooting for Justin Hoyer to win; heOs a cool dude.O -DUSTIN MILLER

OI gotta learn to ride a snowmobile so I can defend my gold. IOm gonna learn a double backflip!O DJEREMY OTWITCHO STENBERG

OWinter X was our leastfavorite event. ItOs gnarly: ItOs cold, dirt bikes donOt run well at that altitude and youOre jumping on ice.O -RONNIE FAISST