Dierdorff and Schaffrick ready to compete in X Games | SteamboatToday.com

Dierdorff and Schaffrick ready to compete in X Games

Luke Graham

— Considering her hectic schedule and being right on the edge of making the U.S. Olympic Snowboarding Team, Steamboat Springs rider Maddy Schaffrick is just relishing the atmosphere at the Winter X Games in Aspen.

The winter action sports mega event begins today and continues through Sunday.

Schaffrick, 15, just finished sixth in the Snowboard Grand Prix Tour, leaving her only spots off the Olympic team. But with winter being as busy as it has been, she said Wednesday, the X Games provide a nice reprieve.

"After the Grand Prix, this is such a relief," said Schaffrick, who will compete in her second X Games. "Everybody is really intense at the Grand Prix, and it feels like they're super relaxed about this one. I'm just looking to have a good time."

Joining Schaffrick in Aspen is Snowboarder X competitor Mick Dierdorff. Snowboarder Matt Ladley was scheduled to compete but broke his collarbone at the last Grand Prix event.

It will be Dierdorff's first X Games. Fresh off a winter on the World Cup circuit, he said he's excited to see how he can do at the Winter X Games.

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"I'm definitely a little nervous," Dierdorff said. "I'm a little more hyped up for this event than a World Cup, even though the World Cups have more meaning. This is the pinnacle of extreme sports."

Schaffrick is scheduled to compete in the prelims at 4:30 p.m. today. If she makes the finals, she'll compete at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Dierdorff begins qualification at 10 a.m. Friday with Snowboarder X finals slated for 2 p.m. Saturday.

Judging by her results in the Grand Prix, Schaffrick should be considered a threat to get on the podium. The women's Superpipe competition will include Gretchen Bleiler, Kelly Clark and Hannah Teter.

Still, Schaffrick has the ability to beat all three.

"Maddy has got the tricks to get up in there," said Jon Casson, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club snowboard director. "She is consistently placing high. She can make a run at the podium."