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Rahlves, U.S. skicross team gearing up for Winter X

ASPEN, Colo.— With the winter sport festivities of the Winter X Games rolling into town this weekend, the X Games' newest sport to reach Olympic status, skicross, will be center stage once again.
ASPEN, Colo.— With the winter sport festivities of the Winter X Games rolling into town this weekend, the X Games' newest sport to reach Olympic status, skicross, will be center stage once again.
    Among the favorites Sunday will be defending X Games gold medalist Casey Puckett, Olympian Jake Fiala, alpine legend Daron Rahlves, and determined up-and-comers Errol Kerr and Cody Smith.
    "The X Games is a pretty big deal. It's a whole different level for sure. It's super fun out here. It's like a circus. There's a lot of excitement and a lot of hype," Rahlves said. "The course is the longest one I've ever done before. It makes you work."
    Rahlves, in Aspen to train for the X Games skicross competition, has been spending his time on the lengthy course wearing a helmet cam so he can give visitors to his website www.daronrahlves.com a glimpse of what he sees when he competes.
    "The X Games is like the Olympics of extreme sports. It's what our season is always centered around," said U.S. head skiercross coach Tyler Shepherd, a former X Games SX competitor. "You always shoot to do the best you can. It's a really well run event, well organized and just a lot of fun."
    Rahlves sees the event as an opportunity to show international competitors what U.S. athletes can do. "Hopefully we'll give the rest of the competitors out here a hard time. I mean, it's our home turf."
    Newcomer Kerr is just excited to do the things he loves best. "I like the jumps and the terrain. I am good at jumping and skiing in a variety of terrain," Kerr said. "I also race motocross and BMX, so the racing format is the same – everyone out of the gate at the same time."
    "The X Games is seen by so many people and it makes athletes want to do well because it bumps up their profile. It's always a really fun event," Shepherd said.
    The X Games competitions begin Friday, with skicross finals on Sunday.

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