EXTREMESPORTS

Aussie snowboarder becomes best in the world

Aussie snowboarder becomes best in the world
Aussie snowboarder Scotty James has become the best snowboarder in the world winning the X Games in Aspen.

Having grounded The Flying Tomato and disconnected The iPod, Australian snowboarder Scotty James has another thing on the do list: complete domination.

Three weekends ago James, 22, took out the X Games Superpipe title in Aspen Colorado, for the time being at least making him the best snowboarder in the world.

It probably turned few heads outside the sometimes cloistered world of the mountains but in winter sports it jostles with an Olympic gold medal in the prestige stakes.

In a stacked field the Victorian took down two of the greatest halfpipe riders in the history of snowboarding - American Shaun White ('The Flying Tomato') and Swiss Iouri Podladtchikov ('The iPod'), between them winners of the past three Winter Olympics titles.

James secured the win on his first run, logging a score of 90 points with tricks like a backside 1260 double cork (three and a half spins with two off-axis twists).

He says the win was two years in the making, a period of time in which he has looked hard at himself, his training regime and those who he works with to get the best out of himself.

'All I have done is looked at how I am going to get to where I want to,' he said, a day after arriving in Bokwang Phoenix Park, South Korea for the World Cup and Winter Olympics test event.

'What I want to do is be the most dominant snowboarder in the world and learn new tricks. Now I feel I have the right people behind me to make that happen.'

Those right people include James Jackson, his high performance coach at team Red Bull.

But even two years seems like just a blip on the timeline for James who was first eyed off as a potential star when he was only six; competed at his first Winter Olympics at 15; and claimed a world title - in an admittedly weakened field - by the age of 20.

Yet the X Games win looms as the real game changer.

The annual summer and winter competition - something of a Gen Y version of the Olympics, helped propel White to superstardom, to the point where the flame-haired Californian has an estimated net worth of $US55 million and an annual income of around $13 million.

For James, who admitted he's had to temper his ego after it shot up briefly in the aftermath of the X Games win, the rewards are lie with more results.

'I've still been quite fired up since (the X Games win). More than anything it has put a fire under my seat to keeping working really hard and strive to get more (results),' he said.

'Personally it doesn't really change anything for me, I'll just take the same approach.

'Maybe from the sponsorship side of things there could be some new ones... but I don't think about that too much.'

In a sport where compact and a low centre of gravity are the norm, Scott also has to contend with his oversize 190cm frame.

'It's kind of a disadvantage... but I almost see it as an advantage because I have a little more height and muscle to go through the 'pipe but I definitely have to work hard in the offseason to stay agile and quick.'

After competing in what is shaping as another class field at Phoenix Park on the weekend, James will head to the US Open and then the world championships in Spain, where he is the defending champion.

He's still working on details for the southern hemisphere season and lead-in to the 2018 Winter Olympics.

In the meantime he hopes to use his rising profile to push for the missing piece of the puzzle in Australian snow sports - the building of an Olympic standard halfpipe.

'In Australia and the southern hemisphere we don't have access to halfpipes like they do in the north,' he said, hinting about getting something built at Falls Creek in Victoria.

'I'm working really hard to make it happen.

'It is one of my big goals. While it's good for me I want to open the door for the younger kids in Australia too.'

SCOTTY JAMES'S GREATEST HITS

2017: X Games, Aspen - gold

2016: World Cup, Laax Switzerland - silver

2016: X Games, Aspen - bronze

2015: World Championship, Kreischberg Austria - gold

2014: Dew Tour, Breckenridge Colorado - bronze

2013: World Cup, Stoneham Canada - bronze.

AAP

Photo via Instagram / @scottyjames13