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Pathway to X Games Aspen

Dec 7, 2015

Words by Jeff Schmuck

Now that the list of invited Dew Tour athletes has been revealed and the event is set to begin on Wednesday, the Association of Freeskiing Professionals, in conjunction with ESPN, is pleased to pull back the curtain on the athlete selection process for X Games, which is set to take place on January 28th - 31st in Aspen, Colorado.

First off, as some of you may have heard, there have been some changes to the number of athletes that will be invited to next month’s X Games. They are as follows…

Total Number of X Games Invited Ski Athletes

Men’s Ski Superpipe - 12 invited athletes + 2 alternates
Men’s Ski Slopestyle - 12 invited athletes + 2 alternates
Women’s Ski Superpipe - 8 invited athletes + 2 alternates
Women’s Ski Slopestyle - 8 invited athletes + 2 alternates
Men’s Ski Big Air - 8 invited athletes + 2 alternates

Due to the decreased number of athletes in the Men’s Ski SuperPipe and Men’s Ski Slopestyle fields, much like the Women’s fields in years’ past, there will be no Elimination rounds at this year’s X Games, with all SuperPipe and Slopestyle competitors going straight into a three-run final, while Big Air will consist of a one-round jam format final as opposed to two heats of five prior to a five-man final like in years’ past.

Here now is a look at the four rounds of athlete selections for X Games Aspen, including dates, details and what factors into which athletes will be invited…

Round 1 – September 22nd

Round 1 took place on September 22nd, with three athletes in each discipline being awarded spots. As in years’ past, these spots were given to those who were on the podium in their respective fields at last year’s X Games Aspen. They are as follows…

Men’s Ski Superpipe - Simon d’Artois / Kevin Rolland / Alex Ferreira
Men’s Ski Slopestyle - Nick Goepper / Joss Christensen / Alex Bellemare
Women’s Ski Superpipe - Maddie Bowman / Ayana Onozuka / Brita Sigourney
Women’s Ski Slopestyle - Emma Dahlstrom / Keri Herman / Dara Howell
Men’s Ski Big Air - Vincent Gagnier / Bobby Brown / Elias Ambuhl

Round 2 – November 16th

Round 2 took place on November 16th, when three additional athletes were invited in Men’s Ski SuperPipe, Men’s Ski Slopestyle and Men’s Ski Big Air, while two additional athletes were invited in Women’s Ski Superpipe and Women’s Ski Slopestyle. These invites were determined by the X Games Ski Athlete Selection Committee, and were based on a combination of the AFP World Tour Rankings, last year’s results at high-level events, and the discretion of the committee. They are as follows (in alphabetical order)…

Men’s Ski Superpipe - Gus Kenworthy / David Wise / Torin Yater-Wallace
Men’s Ski Slopestyle - Bobby Brown / McRae Williams / James Woods
Women’s Ski Superpipe - Janina Kuzma / Devin Logan
Women’s Ski Slopestyle - Tiril Christiansen / Devin Logan
Men’s Ski Big Air - Henrik Harlaut / Kai Mahler / Luca Schuler

Round 3 – December 18th

Round 3 will take place on December 18th, following the conclusion of this week’s Dew Tour. The results from Dew Tour (particularly in Men’s Ski Superpipe and Men’s Ski Slopestyle, as a result of the decreased number of invited athletes for X Games in those fields) will be heavily considered by the X Games Aspen Ski Athlete Selection Committee, along with the AFP World Tour Rankings at the time, last year’s results at high-level events, and the discretion of the committee. Note that because Big Air is not an included discipline at the Dew Tour, the committee will base their Round 3 invites off of a combination of the AFP World Tour Rankings at the time, last year’s results at high-level events, and their discretion. Here are the number of athletes that will be invited in Round 3…

Men’s Ski Superpipe - 5 invited athletes + 2 alternates
Men’s Ski Slopestyle - 2 invited athletes + 2 alternates
Women’s Ski Superpipe - 5 invited athletes + 2 alternates
Women’s Ski Slopestyle - 2 invited athletes + 2 alternates
Men’s Ski Big Air - 2 invited athletes + 2 alternates

Round 4 – January 11th

The fourth round will take place on January 11th, where one final athlete will be invited in Men’s Ski SuperPipe, Men’s Ski Slopestyle, Women’s Ski Superpipe and Women’s Ski Slopestyle (note that Men’s Ski Big Air selections will be finalized during Round 3). These final invites will be based on a combination of the AFP World Tour Rankings at the time, current season results, and the X Games Aspen Ski Athlete Selection Committee’s discretion. In the event that an already invited athlete becomes injured prior to Round 4, one of the previously selected alternates from Round 3 may be given an invite, with an additional alternate selected in his or her place.

On behalf of everyone at the Association of Freeskiing Professionals and ESPN and X Games, good luck to all athletes who are vying for the chance to compete at X Games Aspen.

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