The Outsider: Snow and Kelly Sidaru, the X factors
January 30, 2016
It seems like just yesterday the Dew Tour was in town. By now, X Games is halfway finished over in Aspen.
What do the two have in common? Plenty: world-class pros, world-class features, world-class parties, typically world-class music. And then there's a weird connection to major snowstorms. It seems like every time (or maybe every other time) an elite freeski and snowboard competition comes to Colorado it also brings a blizzard. It can wreak havoc on scheduling — the women's slope competitions at Dew Tour were delayed for better weather — but you'll hardly hear the pros complaining. Sure, it can ruin a perfect competition run, but between their training runs in the pipe they're taking a break in the deep stuff.
Now, there's a big-old storm in the forecast. It might even be here by the time you read this. Who knows how it will affect the men's snowboard slopestyle and superpipe finals at X Games (let alone the nighttime ski big air), but it's safe to say snow is always the X factor in Colorado.
It's a cheesy play on words, I know, but it's also the truth. We're constantly doing anything and everything we can to predict exactly how much white stuff will fall and where. It's how Joel Gratz with Open Snow earned every nickname under the snowy sky (personal favorite: powder prophet) and how we check apps and forecasts and the front porch, all in hopes of being rewarded with a powder day. And what do we find? Whatever Mother Nature decides to give us.
For the most part, pros make peace with it because any snow is better than no snow. At the moment, I'm just relieved this winter is pretty damn normal. We've had a handful of major storms — three or four days of driving snow during Dew Tour set us up nicely for Christmas powder — along with a handful of clear, warm stretches. Anything beats last winter, when late January and most of February were at least 20 degrees warmer than usual, or the season before that, when it was brutally cold with no snow to warm our bones.
See, when it comes to X factors like the weather or pro competitions, we love the unexpected. At Dew Tour, 13-year-old Estonian Kelly Sildaru became the youngest gold medalist ever when she won the women's ski slopestyle. And then she did it again: Yesterday, she earned 93.00 to become the youngest X Games gold medalist.
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Here's hoping she gets a few powder turns on Sunday, right before heading back home with all that gold around her neck. You've got to love the X factors.
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