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Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Updated: January 9, 3:20 PM ET
Real predictions

By Matt Vanatta
XGames.com

Real Snow
Who's going to win Real Snow 2013? With the top talent in this year's bracket, it's anyone's guess.

It's that time of year again, as eight professional snowboarders will get the opportunity to lay it all on the line in a head-to-head video duel. Welcome to Real Snow 2013.

After a dismal snowfall in 2012, this year is looking to be nothing short of spectacular. Returning champion Dan Brisse will be back in the house with his no guts, no glory riding style, looking for his third gold medal. Newcomers Frank April and Ethan Deiss are creating quite the buzz with their recent jaw-dropping video parts. And the always smooth fan favorite Louif Paradis will be back, making every trick look effortless.

With Pat Moore, Bode Merrill, Jeremy Jones and Eero Ettala rounding out the field, there is no telling who will be holding down the podium this year.

The competition is looking so fierce that ESPN decided to check in with some of snowboarding's most elite video pros to find out who they think has a chance to steal the show. Let the desk jockeys step aside and reveal the Real Snow 2013 predictions.

Peter Line: "That's a heavy list. They are all amazing and all have a chance, but if I would have to pick one, I'm not sure. A lot of times I'm not in complete agreement with how judging goes. It's hard to choose. Bode has his one-foot tricks, Frank is so burly, Louif is super tech, and Jed Anderson -- wait he's not in it. Let's say Frank April."

Jed Anderson: "Man, it's so hard to say. I think it will be Louif or Bode. Louif is just the best and most proper dude out, and he has the best trick selection. Bode is a psycho. I'm sure he'll one-foot back flip onto a kink rail that's on fire or something. Louif has the best style out of the pack in my opinion. Bode is just so hungry and reckless, plus Bode can do all of the rail moves and the daredevil s---. It's going to be a hard one to judge."

Seth Hout: "The guy that jumps off the tallest building will win! This contest should be about style and production value, and then it should come down to the edit and how both are incorporated with an end product that can stand on its own on any platform. I think this contest should give the viewer something more than just tricks and gnarly factor. It should be more about the rider and the filmmaker working together with a goal in mind. With that being said, I am excited to see Jeremy and Gabe's video. I am a huge fan of Gabe's photography, and I have ridden with Jeremy for over a decade now, and every year I am blown away with the amazing stuff he puts down.

"Also, I can't wait to see Bode and Pat Fenelon's video. Bode is a beast, and Pat is such a good lensman and editor; he can balance art and rawness. I am sure they will make a good team. Louif and Hayden have proved to have a winning formula, and I like it. I am super pumped to see what Eero brings. He always eyes up the raddest spots, and with Finland having snow, I am sure his video is going to be unique. Pat Moore and Jake Price's video should be entertaining too. To answer the question, I hope Jeremy wins."

Jake Olson Elm: "I think Ethan Deiss is going win. He has super unique style and makes snowboarding look like so much fun. I like that he can spin on and off of things so easily. If I did that, I would be dizzy; he makes it look so effortless. I think the fact that he's not stressing over it will show in his riding, making it look more mellow and fun."

Brandon Cocard: "Bode Merrill is going to win. He's got power and style, and he is doing stuff some people never thought would be possible. He makes it look way too easy. Plus he's the tallest and the gnarliest."

Jake Kuzyk: "I would be excited to see Lou do well again. I enjoy the footage he puts out every year for this contest. You can tell how much effort he puts into each trick individually. He shows attention to detail; he's not just hucking. His trick selection always stands out from the other videos."

Nick Visconti: "There is always the threat of a three-peat by Dan Brisse. X Games is a made-for-TV spectacle event, and his snowboarding is nothing less than spectacular. I don't doubt his work ethic and ambition; however, I also do not doubt the style, ambition or legacy of Louif, Bode and Jeremy. I am a big fan of all of the riders. Without being too abstract, I would say that all the invitees have been selected under the same talent criteria that would allow any to prevail. Every rider on the list has an individual style on- and off-mountain that will translate to viewers and spectators. Urban snowboarding has become an expansive subculture of the sport, and each rider represents snowboarding uniquely and well. Whether creativity, style or stunts take gold, the riding is all progressive and impressive."

To watch this year's videos and vote for your favorite go to: xgames.com/realsnow