The past days at the Winter X Games in Aspen, CO were nothing but packed with exceptional riding. One of the most anticipated event, the newly added 6Star World Snowboard Tour event didn’t subvert expectations and featured one highlight after another – Shaun White’s 6thconsecutive X Games Halfpipe Gold, Mark McMorris’ outstanding 98.00 points in the Slopestyle Finals and Elena Hight being the first woman to land the first ever Backside Alley-Oop Double Rodeo 900.
Let’s relive what went down this weekend.
Men’s Slopestyle Finals
On Saturday the day started off with the Men’s Slopestyle Finals. With triple corks already raining in earlier practices, everyone knew to expect a spectacular contest on this year’s challenging Slopestyle course. 19 year old Mark McMorris impressed both judges and basically the whole snowboard community with every single run. His victory run, featuring a Cab 900 Double Cork to a Frontside 1080 Double Cork to a Double Backflip and a flawless Triple Cork 1440 on the last jump, brought him 98.00 points, the highest Slopestyle score ever in X Games’ history – truly beyond words. Plus he earned himself 1000 World Snowboard Tour points and moved up to 6th place in the World Snowboard Tour Slopestyle and 5th in the Overall Ranking.
Second place went to fellow Canadian, 18 year old Maxence Parrot, whose run scored an impressive 90 points. His first jump was a Cab Double Cork 900 and then a Frontside 1080 Double Cork on the second jump to a Double Backflip on the third. His last jump was a huge Backside Triple Cork 1440. Parrot’s second place finish also bumped him up into second place in the World Snowboard Tour’s Slopestyle rankings.
Seppe Smits from Belgium landed a very clean run including a Triple Cork. Smits had some issues with his Triple Cork on the last feature that forced him to revert, but still got him on the podium in third.
Women’s Slopestyle Finals
For the Women, it was USA’s Jamie Anderson, who took home the gold for the second year in a row and her fourth gold medal at X Games. A few of the Women were having issues landing clean runs on this year’s course, but Anderson was able to lay down a run that was both clean and full of amplitude. Her run included a Backside 180 to a Cab 720 to a massive Switch Backside 540. Anderson’s win helped her move into fifth place in the Women’s Overall World Snowboard Tour rankings.
The 22 year old Czech rider, Sarka Pancochova, earned herself 90.00 points that put her into second place. Pancochova landed a very clean Backside 720 on the last jump of the course that helped her boost her score. This is the first X Games medal for the Czech athlete.
In third was Spencer O’Brien out of British Columbia, Canada. O’Brien was having issues in both practice and during competition, but was able to land a run with a memorable Cab 5. Spencer has not been on the podium at this event for four years. “It just feels really good to be back on top,” said O’Brien.
Women’s SuperPipe Finals
The last contest of the action-packed Saturday was the Women’s SuperPipe Finals at the Buttermilk Halfpipe. Unfavorable weather moved into the area causing speed issues, but still did not deter the 47,000 spectators or the athletes. 29-year-old Kelly Clark from USA was able to squeeze ahead of USA’s Elena Hight by only 00.33 points to take the gold in her third run.
Hight broke records tonight by landing the first ever Backside Alley-Oop Double Rodeo 900 which put her in first place for a majority of the event until she was displaced by Clark. Clark’s run consisted of a massive Frontside 1080 to a Cab 720 to a Frontside 900. Her run was highlighted by her boosting about 14 feet out of the Halfpipe.
“It’s amazing being here and claiming gold for the third time in a row”, said Clark. “I only won by a small margin, but tonight was not about my win, it was what Elena has done for Women’s Snowboarding, I’m so proud of her”, she added.
Colorado’s own Arielle Gold walked away with a bronze for her Frontside 900, Backside 540 to Frontside 540 and a Frontside 720 to a Cab 900. This was the 16 year olds first X Games; she was put in the competition after Gretchen Bleiler pulled herself out due to medical reasons. With this spot on the podium, Arielle will maintain her top spot on the World Snowboard Tour rankings for Women’s Halfpipe.
Men’s SuperPipe Finals
On Sunday the last Final went down, the long-awaited Men’s SuperPipe Finals. The spotlight was of course on 5 times Halfpipe gold medalist Shaun White. Unfortunately the much anticipated battle between White and Iouri Podladtchikov could not take place at this year’s X Games, because Podladtchikov pulled out due to illness. But I-Pod’s absence wasn’t detrimental to the Finals quality. The remaining riders weren’t ready to leave the gold medal to Shaun White without a fight. In the end White took home the gold with his signature Backside Air on his first hit boosting 24’1’’out of the pipe, breaking his own record by a foot. His next hits were Back-to-Back Double Cork 1080s into a Cork 5 followed by a Double McTwist 1260 and finished off with a Frontside Double Cork 1260. This run scored him a near perfect 98 points.
14 year old X Games rookie Ayumu Hirano won silver with a 92.33. The Japanese native impressed the judges with huge amplitude and his smooth Frontside and Cab 1080’s. Hirano completed Front- and Backside 900’s, then finished his run with a Double Cork 1080. Hirano is the youngest person to ever win a winter X Games medal.
Rounding off the podium was Finland’s Markus Malin, who was not far behind with a score of 91.33. Malin landed a Double McTwist 1260, the same trick that was first seen from White before the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.