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Sunday, January 30, 2011
Best Trick is up in the air

By B.J. Smith
ESPN Action Sports

This year, riders were not required to disclose their plans before Snowmobile Best Trick, so anything is possible.

If you clicked into his Snowmobile Best Trick preview to find the inside story on tonight's competition, you might be disappointed. The eight invited riders in Snowmobile Best Trick are being the quietest they've ever been.

However, if you don't mind some healthy speculation, you're in the right place.

There is one major reason for the lack of knowledge on Snowmobile trick progression at Winter X 15. This year, riders were not required to disclose their plans to Sport Organizer Joe Duncan.

And Daniel Bodin, the 2011 Freestyle gold medalist, is taking advantage of the element of surprise. Bodin, who has spent the past three weeks practicing at the Levi LaVallee Compound in Park Rapids, Minn., was brought onto the LaVallee team for Winter X. When he showed up on LaVallee's door step and said "Let's go," he had never practiced freestyle into foam. Now, with polished tricks and a gold medal, he realizes the importance of the pit.

But he'll have serious contention from two relative newcomer Snowmobile Best Trick athletes: Colten and Caleb Moore. The Moore brothers make their living doing freestyle on ATVs. They came into the 2010 competition with less than one month of experience on snowmobiles and they were required to release videos that showcased their proficiency. "That kind of gave it away," said Colten Moore, who brought the Colt .45 last year, a modified double seat grab where he grabs onto the rear bumper instead of the seat. "I'm positive this year that one, if not multiple tricks never been done on dirt bikes before will be done on the sled." The brothers both competed in the Freestyle competition where they displayed more polished stock and flip tricks. Caleb earned another bronze medal.

And then there is the underflip.

Justin Hoyer failed in his attempt at the Underflip in 2010 and finished 7th. The trick, an off-axis, tweaked backflip that looks similar to a 360, won't be seen today, according to Hoyer. "I want to live to ride another day," he said.

So, what are you going to do? "Ah! Wouldn't you like to know! I really can't say anything. It'll be really exciting. I may or may not crash," says Hoyer.

Heath Frisby had already performed his Gold Medal winning trick in 2010 during a demo in Dec. 2009. He doesn't get too worked up about what people know. "I think that helped everyone because everyone saw that and said, 'Wow, we need to step our game up' and I thought it was a rather exciting X Games because of that," Frisby said of leaking his stunt. "I think it's not a big deal what you're doing. I enjoy my sport and I do it for the love of my sport. I could really care less what people know I'm doing."

Yet, he wouldn't disclose anything when pressed for info. "I don't want to jump the gun," he said.

So what's left, you ask? The riders are aware that they have to keep progressing for their sport to survive. None of them are too concerned about it because they all say they've got something new -- at least that's the plan. To speculate, here's a short list of what we've never seen.

-- There are still several body varial possibilities like the Carolla, which Caleb Moore unsuccessfully tried last year and Kyle Loza's Electric Doom.

-- Several flip variations remain to be seen; the stripper flip, a double grab flip, underflip and a corpse flip.

-- Anyone who thinks a 360 isn't possible probably never thought a snowmobile could be backflipped, or even double flipped, in the first place.

It probably won't happen this year though. There's always the possibility, as Colten Moore claims, that we'll see something never-been-tried before on snow or dirt. "Me and my brother are going to be coming with mayhem and everybody better keep their eyes open."