Jan. 30, 2011 Aspen, Colo, Buttermilk Mountain: Shaun White (gold) Scotty Lago (silver), Louie Vito (bronze), Men%uFFFDs Snowboard SuperPipe Finals at Winter X Games 15. Credit: Tomas Zuccareno/ESPN Images.
Winter X Games 15 came to a close in Aspen, CO, Sunday, January 30, with so many records being set, it’ll go to in alternative sporting history as the Games to Remember. There’s a reason 114,200 people converged at Buttermilk Mountain and Aspen, CO from January 27-30, 2011: to see the top snowboarders, freestyle skiers, snowmobilers in the world pull athletic feats of incredible ability under hefty competition. Known as youth culture’s “Alternative Olympics,” X Games continues to give the anachronistic Olympics a run for their big-media/sponsorship money.
One of the X Games main highlights is the attraction of top action sports athletes, especially in snowboarding. Men’s Snowboarding SuperPipe is one of the most watched sports in the world, and with the finals down to Scotty Lago, Shaun White, and fan-favorite, Louie Vito, the audience on Sunday was on their feet, screaming.
Shaun White, going for his 4th gold medal at the X Games in SuperPipe (and currently on the front of Wheaties cereal as an Olympic gold medalist), was in 2nd after the first run behind Scotty Lago. So, he went big with a backside air, front double cork 1080, cab double cork 1080, a front-side stale-fish 540, a double McTwist 1260, and an alley-oop backside rodeo.
“Scotty had a great score and I knew I would have to pull out all of the stops and show what I have been working on in practice,” said White of his second run. “It was one of the best runs that I have ever done.”
Shaun White goes big. Credit: Gabriel Christus/ESPN Images.
This was actually White’s first Snowboard Pipe competition since the 2010 Winter Olympics.
“Tonight was a great night,” added White. “I can’t describe the feeling. All the other riders were amazing and it forced me to do my absolute best. I am so happy to have another one of these gold medals around my neck.”
Scotty Lago, who stomped the competition earlier for the best Snowboard Method on Friday night, came in for the silver, and even he stated he thought his run at this Winter X Games was better than the one he put down in the Olympics.
Louie Vito came in for the bronze.
Kelly Clark stomps a 1080–first female in competition to do this trick. Credit: Tomas Zuccareno/ESPN Images.
The event with the most viral global buzz came from the opening X Games event, the Snowboarding Big Air, which often attracts the largest crowds under nighttime lights, camera, and huge 85-foot action. Heading into his last run, Norway%uFFFDs Torstein Horgmo knew he needed to land the first-ever triple cork at the Winter X Games to have a chance to win gold at Snowboard Big Air.
And he did. Becoming the 1st in X Games history to do a triple cork. The video went viral within hours, even landing on the front page of online mainstream news. The triple cork was quickly dubbed by judges at X Games as one of the biggest and best new tricks ever completed in competition.
What’s even more gutsy is that Horgmo admitted to ESPN afterwards that he had several broken ribs from crashing earlier and that “It%uFFFDs probably the stupidest thing I%uFFFDve done in my whole life. It didn%uFFFDt feel right doing it. I don%uFFFDt think the jump was right for that trick.”
Rookie silver medalist Sebastien Toutan%uFFFDs score of 79 was just one point behind the gold medal score of 80. Utah%uFFFDs Sage Kotsenburg scored a 77 to capture the bronze, his first ever Winter X Games medal.
The other major event was the women’s Snowboarding SuperPipe and the amazing competitive level of riding. Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark won the gold again at X Games, this time with a 1080 -the first time that a woman has ever stomped that trick in competition.
“It was an incredible night,” Clark said. “I would have been happy to do either tonight, win the gold or do the 1080. So to do both is incredible.”
With the win, Clark captured her eighth Winter X Games medal, more than any other woman in the SuperPipe.
Kaitlyn Farrington is also someone to watch in this discipline. At 21, and her first time at X Games, she scored high enough for the silver, surpassing snowboarding favorite, Elena Hight.
Kelly Clark after her gold medal run. Credit: Tomas Zuccareno/ESPN Images.
In Snowboarding Slopestyle, Sebastien Toutant won the gold, as a rookie in his first X Games at only 180. Dude also claimed an exceptional silver medal in Snowboard Big Air on Sunday.
January 30th, 2011 Aspen, Colo. Buttermilk Mountain: Caleb Moore compete in Snowmobile Best Trick Final at Winter X Games 15
Credit: Matt Morning/ESPN Images.
The story of Winter X Games 15 thus far may be the success of the rookies. Saturday night, rookie Alex Schlopy took the top prize in Skiing Big Air and Sunday morning, fellow rookie Enni Rukajarvi took the gold in Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle.
With the win, Rukajarvi not only won her first medal, but she is the first female snowboarder from Finland to medal at Winter X Games.
“I just wanted to land my run,” said an overwhelmed Rukajarvi. “I am so surprised. It is hard to believe I beat those girls because they are so good.”
Rikajarvi’s winning run included a 50/50 and 180 out, another 50/50, a backside 360, front side 360 a backside 540 and a cab 720 over the Money Booter for a score of 92.66.
An exciting new sport added to Winter X Games which also taps into the growing trend of urban snowboarding, was the Snowboard Street event featuring urban-inspired terrain features for riders to tackle as they make their way down the mountain.
It was another rookie, Nic Sauve, who won the gold in this inaugural event, defeating his two idols, Jeremy Jones and JP Walker. The silver medal went to Louis-Felix Paradis with a score of 68.00. Simon Chamberlain’s score of 64.00 was enough to capture the bronze.
In Snowboarding X Women’s it was 4-peat gold medalist, Lindsay Jacobellis, who won gold again. This marks her 7th overall gold medal for the Winter X Games, and sets the record for the most of any female competitor in the history/herstory of this event.
For more on X Games highlights including more from Snowmobiling Best Trick, Skier X Skier Big Air, and SuperPipe, go to www.espneventmedia.com.