X Games Aspen 2019: Full Report

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A full day by day play  of the action from Aspen, Colorado for the world’s sports stunt, music and festival experience!

Day One:

as_ferriera02_2048-780x405 (1).jpgFerreira Becomes First Aspen Native to Win in Aspen in Nine Years; Cassie Sharpe Wins “Bucket List” X Games Gold; Laurie Blouin Wins Rookie X Games Appearance

X Games Aspen 2019 kicked off Thursday night in front of a crowd of 9,000 at Buttermilk mountain in Aspen Snowmass, Colorado. The 23rd edition of the X Games winter event, ESPN and Aspen Ski Company announced Wednesday that Aspen will remain home to X Games for five more years. Over the next four days, X Games Aspen will showcase the world’s best Ski, Snowboard, Snowmobile and Snow Bike athletes and world-class musicians.

Celebrating the fifth year of Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding at X Games Aspen, the team of Henry Meece and Chris Klug cemented their dominance with their fifth gold medal. In this slalom race, teams are composed of one X Games athlete and one Special Olympics athlete, with pros racing head-to-head before Special Olympic riders do the same. Juan Guentrutripai and Scotty Lago took second place and Christopher Perdue and Mike Schultz took third to earn their first Special Olympic Unified Snowboarding medals.

In the Jeep Men’s Ski Slopestyle Elimination, Alex Beaulieu-Marchand tied for the first position with a 93.66 on his first run. In The Real Cost Men’s Snowboard Big Air, Swedish rider Sven Thorgren took the top qualifying position ahead of X Games Norway 2018 gold medalist Takeru Otsuka with a combined best score of 76.00.

After winning everything – including Olympic gold – in 2018, Cassie Sharpe had one gold left to win: X Games Aspen. In the first competition of the night, the Canadian fulfilled her goal of winning her first X Games Aspen gold in Women’s Ski SuperPipe. Trailing Estonian phenom Kelly Sildaru heading into her final run, Sharpe overtook Sildaru with run that scored a 94.00. Her run included back-to-back 900s and a leftside 1080 on the last hit. Competing in three disciplines at X Games, Sildaru won her first-ever SuperPipe medal with a score of 92.33 for silver. Rookie Rachael Karker rounded out the podium to win bronze with an 86.33.

Much to the delight of his fifty friends and family and hometown crowd, Aspen native Alex Ferreira won his first X Games gold in Great Clips Men’s Ski SuperPipe. Ferreira took an early lead, and then bettered his score on his third run with a run that included a rightside double cork 1260, into a leftside double cork 1080 and his signature double flatspin on the final hit. This win was the first time in nine years that an Aspen native took home gold at X Games Aspen. Last year’s gold medalist David Wise couldn’t best Ferreira with his final run, settling for silver. Nico Porteous took home bronze.

In the final competition of the night, X Games rookie Laurie Blouin proved that her Olympic silver was no fluke. The 22-year-old Canadian bested Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and veteran Jamie Anderson for a gold in Pacifico Women’s Snowboard Big Air. Blouin landed a frontside 900 and a cab double underflip for a combined score of 77.00.

Day Two:

Sildaru Wins Three Medals at X Games Aspen; Bodin Takes Second Gold in Snowmobile Freestyle; Otsuka Defends The Real Cost Snowboard Big Air Gold

as_bodin02_2048-780x405.jpgAction continued on the slopes of Buttermilk Mountain for day two of X Games Aspen 2019, where 16-year-old Kelly Sildaru added two additional medal wins in Ski Slopestyle and Big Air to become just the third athlete to win three medals in the same event. A packed house experienced a full day of competition, along with interactive games and giveaways in X Fest before Grammy Award winning Lil Wayne closed out the evening at the GEICO music stage.

Estonian phenom Kelly Sildaru kicked off the day by adding a gold medal in Jeep Women’s Ski Slopestyle to the Ski SuperPipe silver medal she won Thursday night.  With a score of 99.00 in her final run that included a right side cork 900, a leftside 1080 and switch right 1080, Sildaru beat out her opponents by nearly 10 points. Sarah Hoefflin took silver and Maggie Voisin took bronze. The last five contests of X Games Women’s Ski Slopestyle have been won by teenagers.

The Real Cost Men’s Ski Big Air added five more competitors to the final slated for Saturday evening with an elimination today. Canadian Evan McEachran led the pack with a score of 87.00 and a run featuring a leftside 1800 and a right side triple cork.

Jeep Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle also added seven competitors to tomorrow’s final, where four-time X Games medalist Sebastien Toutant took the top spot with a score of 92.66. His run included a cab 1200 and backside triple.

Daniel Bodin took home his second gold in Snowmobile Freestyle, beating out the defending gold medalist Brett Turcotte on his second run, which included a huge tsunami flip, a Cordova flip and a Shaolin backflip. Turcotte, who will also compete in Wendy’s Snow BikeCross and Snow Bike Best Trick later this weekend, took home silver while six-time X Games medalist Justin Hoyer took bronze.

Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud took home her second gold in Women’s Ski Big Air, throwing a switch leftside double cork. Sildaru returned to the Big Air course to take home her third medal of the event, a bronze with a score of 79.00. Only two other athletes have medaled in three disciplines at the same X Games winter event (Joe Parsons in 2013 and Jennie Waara in 1997). Johanne Killi found herself on the podium yet again, taking silver.

After a surprise gold medal in his rookie appearance at X Games Norway 2018, 17-year-old Takeru Otsuka proved he’s the new king of Big Air with a repeat gold in The Real Cost Men’s Snowboard Big Air. Dropping a frontside triple cork 1800 tail grab on his second run, Otsuka added a cab triple 1620 indy grab on his final run to take the gold. The youngest rider in the field, Otsuka bested Big Air podium mainstay Mark McMorris and Sven Thorgren.


Day Three:

Sadowski-Synnott and McMorris Each Take Second Medal of Weekend in Jeep Women’s & Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle; Matechuk Defends Gold in Wendy’s Snow BikeCross; Kim Wins Third Consecutive Gold Medal in SoFi Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe

as_wsnbpipe01_2048-780x405.jpgDay three of X Games Aspen 2019 brought an international field of athletes to the slopes of Buttermilk Mountain for  five chances at X Games Gold and one for a set of Golden Knuckles from the first-ever Wendy’s Knuckle Huck. The packed schedule also included the inaugural Adaptive and Para Snow BikeCross races, along with two performances at the GEICO music stage from production duo Louis the Child and Grammy Award-winners, The Chainsmokers. By the time the gates were closed more than 43,000 people witnessed another exciting day at the world’s premier action sports competition.

After surprising the crowd with a silver medal in Big Air on Thursday, X Games rookie Zoi Sadowski-Synnott wasn’t satisfied with her debut. The 17-year-old opened the day’s competitions by adding Jeep Snowboard Slopestyle gold to her 2019 medal count, beating silver medalist Hailey Langland by nearly 20 points. Becoming the first-ever snowboard athlete from New Zealand to win gold at X Games, Sadowski-Synnott’s run included a switch backside 900 and a double backflip. Enni Rukajarvi rounded out the podium with bronze.

In the debut of Adaptive Snow BikeCross, X Games veteran Mike Schultz effortlessly took home his ninth gold medal. Competing in his fourth unique sport at X Games, Schultz finished nearly 23 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Tyler Brandenburger finished in second and Kevin Royston finished in third. Also in its inaugural year, Para Snow BikeCross saw another X Games veteran, Doug Henry, medal in his third X Games discipline. Second place finisher Will Posey took home X Games silver. Leighton Lillie finished in third place. In Wendy’s Snow BikeCross, reigning Aspen 2018 gold medalist, Cody Matechuk again bested the field for back-to-back gold. The Canadian finished more than four seconds ahead of silver medalist Jesse Kirchmeyer. Brock Hoyer took bronze.

After settling for Snowboard Slopestyle bronze in 2018, Mark McMorris stomped a nearly perfect run to return to the top of the podium. Earning his second medal of the weekend after Big Air silver, McMorris’ gold brought his medal count to 17, tying him for the second-most medals among winter X Games athletes. After a clean rail section, McMorris landed a switch backside 1260, frontside triple cork 1440 and a massive backside triple cork 1620 to knock Rene Rinnekangas out of first place. Rinnekangas earned his first X Games medal with a silver. An alternate just before competition, Mons Roisland’s first run score held up for the bronze medal.

In the first-ever Wendy’s Snowboard Knuckle Huck, Norwegian Fridtjof Saether Tischendorf lived up to his reputation for wildly creative tricks and took home the coveted Golden Knuckles. Snowboard Knuckle Huck consisted of a 20-minute jam session where riders perform their maneuvers leaving the knuckle of the feature and finish in the landing area, truly celebrating the rider’s style.

In the only Ski competition of the day, the surprise X Games Norway 2018 Ski Big Air gold medalist proved that he is a true Big Air podium threat by defending his gold against a stacked field. With a combined score of 89.00, Ruud bested Canadian Alex Beaulieu-Marchand and Brit James Woods. Marchand took the highest run score of the night with a 47.00, but it was not enough to beat Ruud. He landed a rightside double cork 1620 with two different grabs and switch leftside triple cork.

Before kicking off the fan-favorite SoFi Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe, the legendary snowboarder Kelly Clark took her final run in the X Games SuperPipe as she announced her retirement from professional snowboarding. Clark was the first woman to land a 1080 at Winter X Games in 2011 and boasts a total of 78 victories and 137 trips onto the podium over the course of her career.

Following in the footsteps of her childhood hero, Kelly Clark, teenage phenom Chloe Kim earned her third consecutive gold medal in the SoFi Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe competition. Continuing her impressive streak at X Games, Kim earned her seventh medal in seven appearances. Though Spanish rider Queralt Castellet took an early lead with an 80.00 on her first run, Chloe bested her with an 84.00 in her second run that held up. Castellet becomes the first Spanish athlete to medal at an X Games winter event. Chinese rider Cai Xuetong earned her third medal with a bronze.


Day Four:

James Takes Back Gold in Monster Energy Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe; Beaulieu-Marchand Adds Second Silver Medal of Weekend in Jeep Men’s Ski Slopestyle; Adelberg Defends Gold in Snow Bike Best Trick

as_mead01_2048-780x405The final day of competition at X Games Aspen 2019 saw 43,000 spectators witness the grand finale of events,  including Jeep Men’s Ski Slopestyle, Harley-Davidson Snow Hill Climb, fan-favorite Monster Energy Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe and Snow Bike Best Trick. Weather could not have been better with sunny skies and mild temperatures affording the international field of athletes optimal conditions to progress their respective sports.

Jeep Ski Slopestyle opened the day with American Alex Hall earning his first X Games medal with gold. Already in the lead, Hall bettered his score on the last run with a technical rail section into a leftside 1260, switch rightside double cork 1260 for a 95.66. Canadian Alex Beaulieu-Marchand added his second silver medal of the event and Norwegian Ferdinand Dahl rounded out the podium with bronze — his first X Games medal.

In the second year of Harley-Davidson Snow Hill Climb, the racers sped up the face of the Big Air jump as the sun set over Buttermilk Mountain. Though hillclimb athletes don’t often race on snow, Logan Mead showed his versatility, walking away with his first X Games gold. Last year’s winner, Travis Whitlock took the silver medal and Jake Anstett took third.

After having to settle for a silver medal in 2018, even though he landed an astonishing 98.00 scoring run, Scotty James earned his second gold medal and fourth overall X Games medal. James earned a 94.00 on his second run that included a switch backside double cork 1080, backside double cork 1260, cab 1080 and a frontside double cork 1260. That second run score held, leaving him to take a victory lap down the deck of the pipe, high fiving fans along the way. In his first X Games appearance, 17 year old Yuto Totsuka took home the silver medal with a 90.00. X Games veteran Danny Davis earned a podium spot for the first time since 2015, winning bronze with an 83.66.

Australian Rob Adelberg defended his gold medal in Snow Bike Best Trick with a trick similar to the one he landed last year — The High Roller. After winning the first-ever Snow Bike Best Trick gold last year, Adelberg went on to win five medals between X Games Aspen, Minneapolis and Sydney — making him the only athlete in history to collect five X Games medals in the same calendar year. Snowmobile freestyle silver medalist Brett Turcotte added his second silver medal of the event, and Ethen Roberts took bronze.

Adam Barker was announced as the winner of the X Games ZOOM Photography Contest, with his photo of skier Julian Carr in his signature swan-dive front flip. Voted by fans via XGames.com, the Salt Lake City-based photographer won $10,000 and an X Games gold medal for the surreal image.

And with that, the 24th edition of ESPN’s annual winter action sports competition, X Games Aspen 2019, is officially wrapped. Over the four day event, 117,000 people passed through the gates to watch the best action sports athletes from around the globe compete in a total of 21 events on six custom built courses at the base of Aspen’s Buttermilk Mountain, where they were treated to not only the most progressive competition in all of action sports, but daily live music and the interactive X Fest.

Images: ESPN Communications

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