Seen as the tune-up before the Olympics in less than two weeks, the X Games offered the opportunity for snowboarders and freeskiers alike to tweak runs, hone in on big tricks and just let go a bit before heading over to South Korea.
With the Olympics on the horizon (they start Feb. 9), here are six of the biggest things that went down in Aspen this past weekend.
1. Shaun White pulls out
Shaun White has battled a few different injuries this qualifying season. So having already qualified for Team USA and owning more than 20 X Games medals, White decided to not risk injury before the Olympics and sat out the X Games. While it was a bit disappointing for fans hoping to see him, we can’t blame White wanting to preserve his 31-year-old body for what could be his last Olympics ever.
2. Marcus Kleveland wows (again)
Norwegian snowboarder Marcus Kleveland made a lot of noise at the 2017 Winter X Games, winning his debut in Slopestyle and grabbing a silver in Big Air. And he was once again on a mission this winter, taking out Slopestyle once again — and narrowly missing out on another gold in Big Air to Max Parrot (despite stomping a quad 1800).
3. Chloe Kim tacks on another SuperPipe medal
With lots of attention on American-born Korean snowboarder Chloe Kim for the upcoming Olympics, it would have been no surprise if she had faulted a little bit in Aspen. But that was not the case, as she nailed back-to-back 1080s in her final SuperPipe run to grab her fourth X Games SuperPipe gold and her fifth year-in-a-row of reaching the X Games SuperPipe podium. Watch out Pyeongchang, Kim is coming for stardom.
4. David Wise throws four double corks in all directions
On Thursday night, American freeskier David Wise threw a gold-medal-winning run that included four double corks spun in all four directions, becoming the first skier to ever do so in any SuperPipe competition. The reigning 2014 Winter Olympics halfpipe gold medalist, look out for Wise to go all four directions again in Pyeongchang next month.
5. Jamie Anderson preps for the Olympics
With 14 medals to her name, Jamie Anderson is the most decorated Slopestyle rider in X Games history. Coming into X Games Aspen however, she hadn’t won an X Games gold since 2013. All that changed Friday at Buttermilk when she reclaimed her crown. She now gets to defend her gold in Slopestyle from the 2014 Winter Olympics with some serious momentum, which should scare the rest of the field.
6. Henrik Harlaut doubles up in freeskiing
Sweden’s Henrik Harlaut has dominated Freeski Big Air at the X Games for years, having snagged his fifth gold medal in Big Air this past weekend. But that wasn’t all Harlaut did, as he doubled up this weekend by nabbing his first gold in Slopestyle, too.
7. Max Parrot drops the Big Air hammer (again)
2017 Big Air gold-medalist Max Parrot swooped in and took the gold right out of Marcus Kleveland’s hands for the second year in-a-row. Dropping a flawless frontside triple 1440 and a cab triple 1800 that arguably no one else in snowboarding has, the Canadian will look to carry this momentum to Pyeongchang.
8. Ayumu Hirano throws one of biggest SuperPipe runs ever
What happened on Sunday evening in the SuperPipe is being widely considered as the best Men’s SuperPipe event at X Games ever. Ayumu Hirano, Scotty James and Ben Ferguson all went blow-for-blow in their multiple runs. While each dropped scores of 95 and up, the heaviest SuperPipe run went to Hirano.
His list of tricks in his final run was mind-blowing: 19-foot-7-inch straight air to start, into a frontside double cork 1440 to cab double cork 1440 (the first time back-to-back 1440s have ever been thrown in a contest) into a frontside double 1280 to a backside double 1280 to finish. The insane run gave him a score of 99.00 and the X Games gold.
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