Avon skier Taylor Seaton competes Thursday at X Games
AVON — Eagle County fans have a local athlete to cheer on in the very first televised contest of X Games 2019 on Thursday night.
Catch Taylor Seaton, of Avon, dropping into the halfpipe starting at 8 p.m. local time on ESPN.
Seaton said after receiving so much recognition from fans in our area at last year’s X Games, he has been looking forward to this year from the moment he landed his final run in 2018.
“I’m always thankful to be able to compete in any contest I get invited to, but X Games is such a widely recognized event it really is the top goal of the season for me or anyone else in our sport,” Seaton said. “Being a part of X Games really is the dream. I’m just super humbled every time.”
Seaton said recent changes in the format of the event have him even more thankful for an invite.
“They only invite 10 athletes, and they go straight to the televised final now, so it’s showtime the second you drop in,” he said.
REPORTING FOR DUTY
Last year Seaton had his best X Games result in fifth place. But it wasn’t the result that still has him excited about the performance a year later.
“I did a run that I’m personally proud of, landed it, then went back for the second run and did something completely different than the first run,” he said. “And then I landed that one, too. It felt amazing.”
Seaton said he felt it was a matter of duty, in a way, to make his runs look completely different.
“X Games is the biggest show in freeskiing, so I wanted to really honor it by putting on a showcase of all my different tricks,” he said. “If it’s a show we’re watching, why make the second run a rerun?
“The usual pattern in the sport is to do a tame run, then up it slightly by adding another 360 to one of the tricks in the runs,” Seaton said. “As a fan I was just starting to get over that formula by the time X Games came around last season, so I thought I’d try to set an example by doing something completely different in run 2. I don’t know, maybe it will catch on, but even if I’m the only skier who does that I feel like I’m at least doing the best I can do to show my appreciation for just being there.”
Just being there, for Seaton, never seems to be a sure proposition. He was an alternate at both the Dew Tour and the X Games this year, and was given an invite to both of those events only after having to wait for other athletes to drop out.
“Rankings come into play, but only so much at the top-level events,” Seaton said. “Sometimes I think I’m the perpetual alternate because I’m able to handle it and keep grinding and not stress too much about it. I’ve made noise in the past about the rankings not matching up with the invite list, but when it ends up working out and you get in the contest that you feel you deserve to be in, you tend to care less about how you got there. At the end of the day we’re competing in a judged contest so we’re used to subjectivity coming into play.”
In addition to his attitude, another factor that equips Seaton to be able to keep competing through the uncertainty of being big event skier is simple geography. Being from Avon, Seaton has spent much of his life in the Mecca of ski halfpipe contests: The professional circuit starts every year at Copper Mountain, then moves to Breckenridge, then heads to Aspen for the biggest event. Occasionally there’s a Park City, Utah-area contest on the calendar, and Mammoth Mountain usually hosts an event, as well. The season has finished in France the last few years for the one event that can be difficult to get to.
“Between the help from being on the U.S. Freeskiing team, to the help I get from the Colorado community, I’ve been able to keep doing it, and loving every minute of it,” Seaton said. “And I don’t plan on stopping any time soon, that’s for sure.”
The storm that blew through the Central Rockies began to clear Tuesday afternoon, just in time for a smaller storm to show up Wednesday and Thursday.