Breckenridge " Going big should count for more |

Breckenridge " Going big should count for more

Sometimes, when you’ve got two guys sitting in a ski shop with a beer in their hands at 8 o’clock in the evening and nobody else around, productive conversation ensues.

That’s what happened Friday night. Jeff and I started talking about the Winter X Games halfpipe competition between Tanner Hall and Simon Dumont, which Hall won by a whisker the night before, largely because he was able to spin both ways and Dumont wasn’t.

The problem we both had with the way the results transpired was that we thought Dumont should have won. He went more than 20 feet out of the pipe, after all, substantially higher than Hall or anyone else in the competition, and his technical tricks included a 1260-degree spin, the best you’ll see anyone do these days.

Our main point of contention was a broad one, not solely confined to Thursday’s event. In a nutshell: What ever happened to the days when the guy who went the biggest got justly rewarded for it?

I used to hear it all the time from the pros when I covered halfpipe riding: Spin to win, baby. They’d say it with a hint of disdain, as if they knew that’s all it takes but didn’t think it should be. Jeff and I agreed. Sling-shotting your body 20 feet, 8 inches out of the halfpipe ” and landing precisely where you’re aiming on the wall of ice ” should be worth more than it is nowadays.

This is not a big-air competition, I recognize, but neither should the sole objective be to imitate a washing machine. …

Holy Novak Djokovic. For those who didn’t think there was room for another sensational twentysomething talent (at 20, Djokovic barely makes the cut) in men’s tennis these days … oh yes, there is.

Djokovic stormed to his first Grand Slam victory at the Australian Open last weekend, taking down Roger Federer in straight sets along the way.

It was the first time in 12 majors (three years) that a player other than Rafael Nadal or Federer took home the championship trophy. …

Tiger Woods is 32 years old. Still young, in other words. Like adolescent-young in the game of golf. Yet by winning his fourth straight Buick Invitational on Sunday, he’s already tied Arnold Palmer with 62 career wins.

After the tournament, someone asked Woods if this is the best he’s ever played. “Yes,” he said. …

How about Bode Miller’s resurgence? After nearly retiring last spring, Miller has won four World Cup races in the last month to take the lead in the overall standings from Austrian Benny Raich.

What’s most impressive about the scorching streak is, even at age 30, Miller is showing the versatility many believed to be dead and buried. He’s dominating downhills (he put 3.13 seconds on Raich in Sunday’s super-combined DH leg) and skiing with top-five times in slaloms. …

And don’t forget about Marco Sullivan. Miller’s lookalike on the U.S. Ski Team won his first Cup race Saturday at Chamonix, a nice story considering the never-ending injuries that have plagued his career. …

Sticking to skiing for a moment more, did anyone see Frisco resident Jake Fiala’s Winter X skiercross quarterfinal heat Sunday? One of the gnarliest 30 seconds I’ve witnessed.

First, Fiala went out in a high-speed wreck that made your jaw drop; then two other guys bumped each other and launched about 40 feet too far off the biggest jump on course, snapping their heads back unbelievably hard when they landed on the icy flat bottom, and leaving them twitching on the snow in a way that made your stomach churn.

Olympic audiences are gonna LOVE that sport. …

In parting, we’re just days away from the Super Bowl, and the only thing we know for sure is it’s a sexy plot. In the end, I think we’ll see a terrific game between two inspired teams, similar to the regular season finale. But for the fourth straight postseason week, I’m going against my Giants with an impartial nod toward perfection: Patriots, 32-27.

And once more, I hope the Giants prove me wrong.

” Breckenridge resident Devon O’Neil’s $0.02 column runs on Tuesdays. He can be reached at

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