Seaton, Del Bosco earn invites to X Games
WATCH IT LIVE
Live coverage of Taylor Seaton and the X Games Men’s Halfpipe Finals will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday on ESPN3. Live coverage of Chris Del Bosco and the Men’s Ski Cross event will be part of a package of coverage running from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday on ABC. A recap of both events will air on ABC on Sunday as part of an X Games anthology from 1 to 5 p.m.
AVON — Local halfpipe competitor Taylor Seaton is preparing for X Games the best way he knows how — by skiing the nearby mountains every day.
And in a year when an X Games invite was especially hard to earn, he’s skiing especially hard.
“I made sure I got out to Mount Hood and down to New Zealand so I could keep skiing over the summer, and I think that’s what got me off to a good start this season,” he said. “Then I just kept skiing hard once the season started here. It helps that we’ve had great conditions.”
On Friday, Seaton was practicing in Vail’s 22-foot halfpipe. On Thursday, he was dropping cliffs under the Northwoods chair starting at about 8:45 a.m.
“Halfpipe skiing is still skiing — it shouldn’t be all about just getting air and doing flips,” he said. “I practice the flips, but I also practice by just trying to be as strong of an all-around skier as I can be.”
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At the Dew Tour this year, Seaton finished sixth against the same field he will encounter at X Games on Thursday night. With no X Games semi finals this year, Seaton’s Thursday night ski halfpipe final will be under the lights with the television cameras rolling. He thinks he will be able to excel in that atmosphere.
“I do prefer the night competitions in Aspen’s pipe,” he said. “So overall I’m really looking forward to this year’s competition, especially after having a good result at Dew Tour.”
ONE BUSY BRUNO
Seaton credits his Dew Tour results to his ski technician, Dano Bruno. A bootfitter at Gorsuch in Vail, Bruno has also been a ski technician for skiers such as Tanner Hall and built the boots that Chris Del Bosco, Eagle County’s other homegrown X Games athlete, has been using this season.
And what a season it has been. Del Bosco won the first two ski cross World Cup races of the year, and with ski cross returning to X Games this season, Del Bosco will be someone to watch for on the podium.
“The speed is there,” Del Bosco told the Vail Daily of his start this season. “I’m excited for the next of it.”
Bruno is excited for both of the local X Games skiers.
“These are athletes who don’t have a whole team of boot and binding and ski technicians and physio experts and everything else. They’re both just journeymen who make it happen every year, year in year out,” Bruno said on Friday. “Chris is in there doing the tech work himself sometimes because that’s what it takes to win. Taylor and I spent the whole of yesterday working on his skis. We tested (the skis) today and we’ll be in the garage tonight until 12:30 a.m. again tonight.”
WORKING WITH ELANA
At the European X Games this year in Oslo, Norway, Edwards resident Broby Leeds, also a halfpipe skier, will realize a lifelong dream.
“I’ve always wanted to compete at the X Games,” he said.
Sure, it won’t be near his hometown crowd in Colorado, but that gives Leeds something else to shoot for.
“It’s still my goal to make it to Aspen,” he said.
An athlete of Elana Chase’s incredibly successful freeskiing program at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, Leeds has been steadily improving throughout the past few seasons. This summer, he was the top finishing American at a World Cup in New Zealand. He followed that up by making the finals at the Dew Tour in December.
Chase said Leeds has a good future in the sport. And she should know. Two of her former athletes, Alex Ferreira and Annalisa Drew, will also compete at X Games this year. In 2014, Chase coached Drew to the Olympics.
“Working with Elana and Ski Club Vail is the reason I am in the X Games,” she said.