Aaron Blunck, age 16, will be competing in Ski SuperPipe at this week's X Games Aspen for the first very time. The Crested Butte, Colo., native -- who trains with coach Elana Chase out of Vail -- has been a relative unknown on the elite contest circuit until now. He got a second place at the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colo., earlier this month, as well as a third place at the 2012 The North Face Park & Pipe Open in Whistler in December. We spoke to him about what it feels like to be an X Games rookie.
How long have you dreamed about going to the X Games?
The first time I thought about competing in the X Games was shortly after my first comp -- I was 8 years old. So it has been my dream now for a long time and I can't believe I am actually going to be competing in such a huge event.
Even with the success you've had this season, were you surprised to be invited to X Games?
I was super surprised. Just because everything has happened so fast up until now and now I have X Games in the next week and it's all just really exciting. I can't wait.
What does it mean to you to be invited to this contest?
It means the beginning of a new adventure. I cannot wait for what skiing and life have in store for me. It is a dream come true, but I am just trying to stay focused on the task at hand and that is doing my absolute best. I'm looking forward to just skiing and having fun with all of the other competitors.
Are you planning on learning any new tricks or sticking to an already dialed repertoire?
I am looking into the potential of adding a couple new tricks in training this week but I am primarily going to be dialing in the ones I have already been successful with this season. During the next week, I am going to just have some fun, kick it with my friends and then go as big as possible once it's time to throw down.
Who are you most looking forward to competing with?
I am most looking forward to competing with Torin Wallace and Alex Ferriera because those are some of my best friends and I think they are amazing skiers. I cannot wait to see what they have in store.