Photo by Tomas Zuccareno/Shazamm/ESPN Images–Shain White winning his Gold Medal for Men’s Superpipe at Winter X Games 13
It’s been an incredibly busy month with trade shows on one hand, and in the mountains, Sundance in Park City, Utah, and the 13th Winter X Games in Aspen and Buttermilk, Colorado. Oh, yes, and there was Bread & Butter in Barcelona and SIA going on right now in Vegas. In an attempt to provide a quick snapshot of the highlights from the X Games from January 22-25, here’s the lowdown. The reason you should care? Top heroes are named at the X Games, which are the equivalent to the action sports Olympics, which means sponsorship opportunities across many industries, plus fresh trends in style, sports, events, and a major dose of new inspiration for youth culture fans.
Arguably the most popular news from the X Games were the wins from the legendary skater/snowboarder Shaun White. First, he won the Snowboard Slopestyle Men’s title which gave him his 8th career gold medal. Slopestyle includes going down the mountain fast while completing a series of moves off of various types of jumps and terrain obstacles. Shaun, who claims to be more of a snowboarder than skater (but wins gold in skating too), had tough competition.
“It was unreal,” an excited White said following the race. “I missed out on a gold medal the past two years, so to win it was awesome.” White won thanks to a run including a daring backside 720 cross over the treacherous canyon. Scotty Lago, who led the competition after the first round, finished second and Oslo, Norway’s Mikkel Bang closed out the medalists, grabbing a bronze.
Photo by Nate Abbott/Shazamm/ESPN Images–Shaun White in Men’s Superpipe at Buttermilk Mountain, CO
For Shaun White’s Superpipe Men’s gold, it was very suspenseful as it took him until his final 3rd run to pull it off, but made him the first back-to-back gold medalist in Superpipe in X Games history. On his final run, White did exactly what he needed to do.
“I was feeling cursed,” a jubilant White said. “I didn’t think I needed three runs to get it done. I knew I had the run in me; I just had to put it down. I can’t believe I won it again, back-to-back gold medals are amazing.” The winning run off the 500-foot long, 22-foot deep U-shaped pipe (60 feet from lip-to-lip), included his signature back side rodeo, a back side 900, a front side 1080 into a back side 1080, a front side 900 and a McTwist giving White a score of 91.66 to nudge past Kevin Pearce’s 90.66.
“It was tough having to sit at the bottom of the mountain and watch Shaun take the final run,” the silver medalist Pearce said. “I know he always throws it down in the end. It is not a position I want to be in ever again.” Finland’s Antti Autti, who won the event in 2005, scored an 87.33 which was good enough for the bronze.
Photo by Brian Balsaitis/Shazamm/ESPN Images–Joe Parsons no hand back flip – Speed & Style
As odd as this may seem in terms of including this sport in what was mostly considered an action sports event snowmobiling is big business drawing massive crowds and TV air time as per ESPN. It should also be noted that Joe Parson who won the Snowmobile Speed & Style just turned 21 years-old the day before his big win and then won the Snowmobile Freestyle event for a 2nd gold medal.
“Definitely mission accomplished said Parsons. “My team worked super hard this year and this is what you want as your reward.” His winning run included a no handed back flip a super flip a superman to a double heel kick an indy air back flip on the 100-foot ramp and a Frisby air.
Photo by Brian Balsaitis/Shazamm/ESPN Images–Levi Lavallee Snowmobile Speed & Style
Snowmobile Freestyle a freestyle version of its derivative snowmobile features 10 riders on 500 pound snowmobiles to take individual runs and test their skills on jumps ranging from 65′ to more than 100′ long. Judging is based on overall impression trick execution volume of tricks use of course landings and style.
Photo by Flip McCririck/Shazamm/ESPN Images–Aspen CO Winter X Games 13 Men’s Big Air Finals – Simon Dumont Gold Medal
Skiing Big Air
This was a relatively new sport at the Winter X Games 13 and highly anticipated because as most of us know in action sports the snowboarding Big Air gets crazy amounts of attention (and sorry I didn’t mention it in this story but I will later). 76% of the capacity crowd at Buttermilk Mountain voted Dumont the winner of Skiing Big Air off a 65-foot step-up gap based on a winning jump with a flip at the start and ended with two more plus a Superman impression in the end.
“This is such a great night for Big Air Skiing Dumont said. “I was so excited to go up against Jon with 100% fan voting. I thought the double-front flip would get it done and thanks to the fans it did.”
Photo by Zach Orintz/Shazamm/ESPN Images–Women’s Snowboard Superpipe Gold Medal Winner Torah Bright of Cooma Australia (yes I realize the story following is not about Torah but more on this event down lower)
Women’s Slopestyle Final
Jenny Jones could hardly believe what she had just accomplished in the Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle. The pride of Great Britain trailed Spencer O’Brien going into the final run and knew she had to do something big to steal the top spot. And Jones did just that sticking a front-side 720 off the money booter final ramp to steal the victory and the gold medal from O’Brien 90.00 to 87.66.
“On my last run I knew what I had wasn’t enough so I had to lay down the 720 Jones said.
“Jenny rode super well O’Brien said of the gold medalist. “I think we had a really good back and forth there with our final runs. She totally deserved it.” Seattle’s Megan Ginter scored an 82.00 for the bronze medal.
Women’s Snowboarder X
Snowboarder X is a burly event%u2014the kind of event that guys like Shaun Palmer do well in. It involves going as fast as you can down the mountain over a 3500-foot course filled with tabletop jumps banked turns rollers and gaps. For the women’s event it would be Lindsey Jacobellis who won her second consecutive gold medal in Women’s Snowboarder X. Jacobellis surged ahead early and pulled away from the competition with a final time of 110.619. Helene Olafsen grabbed the silver with a time of 113.266 and Sandra Frei’s 113.505 awarded her the bronze.
Women’s Superpipe Final
Throughout Winter X Games 13 the Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe has belonged to Torah Bright. In the elimination round she set a Winter X Games scoring record of 97.66 and although she was not able to equal that mark her score of 91.33 was enough to secure her the gold medal over silver medalist Kelly Clark.
The gold-medal clinching run came in Bright’s second pass with moves that included a switch-back 720 that brought the Buttermilk Mountain crowd to their feet. “Snowboarding is so unique we all inspire one another Clark said of the competitors. “The level gets stepped up at each event.”
Clark’s top score of 88.33 came in her first run with Hannah Teter grabbing the bronze with a top score of 83.00 – which she received in her final run.
Photo by Flip McCririck/Shazamm/ESPN Images–Women’s Skiing Slopestyle Finals – Anna Segal Gold Medal
Women’s Slopestyle Skiing
This was a first for women’s slopestyle skiing and about time since the men had their division a few years previous. The winner of the inaugural event was Anna Segal who led off the Women’s Slopestyle Skiing with a score of 85.00. Little did she know at the time but that would be the best score of the day as she battled the course and the elements taking the gold.
Heavy snow fell throughout the competition limiting visibility that made skiing conditions more difficult than normal. But Segal’s run that included a Lincoln-loop-back-flip and a 540 was enough to give her the victory over Grete Eliassen’s score of 79.00.
“My strategy was to pop as hard as I could and keep as much speed as possible an excited Segal said following the race. “This means everything to me. I am stoked that X Games included us as part of it.”
That’s the wrap from Aspen CO and the Winter X Games 13 and now to another lovely snowboard town Park City Utah for the wrap-up report on the Sundance Film Festival and movies docs and animated films you should know about from a youth culture perspective.