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Every X Games deserves a dark horse comeback story.
Last winter, decorated slopestyle skier and Olympic medalist Nick Goepper announced he was retiring from competition, citing "burnout."
Now, after a truncated retirement, Goepper is back, but this time, he's competing in the halfpipe.
Goepper's no stranger to the X Games—he's earned several gold medals in slopestyle over the years.
However, halfpipe is an entirely different—arguably more technical—beast. As the competitiveness of freestyle has increased, certain disciplines, like halfpipe, have become highly specialized. If you look at the rosters of slopestyle and halfpipe events, you'll notice that it's exceedingly rare for a skier to compete in both disciplines.
Therefore, for a skier to return to competition as a halfpipe skier after years spent on the slopestyle course isn't as straightforward as it might seem. For many, the skills learned in slopestyle don't directly translate to the pipe.
But Goepper has already established that he's a contender at this weekend's X Games superpipe event, which goes down Sunday evening.
Earlier this winter, at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix in Copper Mountain, Colorado halfpipe competition, Goepper stunned the ski world with a fourth place, narrowly missing the podium amongst a stacked field.
On Sunday, under the Aspen lights, he'll have an additional opportunity to cement the validity of his comeback story. And he might even wear jeans while doing so.
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