Jackson “Jacko” Strong is a two-time X Games Gold Medalist.
In the last two Los Angeles competitions, he’s won the Moto X Best Trick Category, contorting his body in sync with his motorcycle off a ramp, into thin air, and onto hard dirt.
But then again, he’s been one with a motorbike since he was 13 growing up on his family’s farm in Australia.
When he competes in X Games Aspen next week (ESPN, Jan. 24-27), Strong, 21, will be touching snow for just the third time in his life. He has about a month’s training on a snowmobile, the vehicle he intends to make do his bidding for an aerial stunt in the GoPro Snowmobile Best Trick Competition (ESPN, Sunday, Jan. 27, 9 p.m. ET).
Strong certainly realizes the risks: The video above illustrates him attempting a snowmobile trick in a Minnesota training session.
“On a snowmobile, I think the best way to sum this up is to say that it’s like sitting on a very powerful couch with an engine,” said Strong, who visited ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. headquarters Thursday in the midst of preparing for the X Games (ESPN, Jan. 24-27).
The few times Strong finds himself actually sitting on a couch — he plans on competing in five of six Global X competitions this year (the other four on his motorcycle) — he’s usually watching action sports.
Skateboarder/snowboarder Shaun White’s domination of X Games competitions in summer and winter helped inspire Jackson’s move to snowmobiling, he said.
“I get on really well with the producers and all the people that work at ESPN and X Games that I’ve met throughout my X Games career,” said Strong, who has competed in the 2011 and 2012 X Games in Los Angeles, where he trains between regular motorcycle racing tours.
“I just wanted to try to spend more time and have fun with those guys at Aspen and I wanted to test myself out in a new sport. So I went out on my own and pushed myself to do that.”
A native of New South Wales, Australia, Strong welcomes a chance to bond with new X Games host — and fellow Aussie — Ramona Bruland.
“I spoke with her on Twitter last week,” he said. “It’s cool to have another Aussie over here at Aspen. I’ve seen her on TV and she seems to be doing really well.”