The final day of X Games Aspen 2017 ended with a bang as crowds of 27,500 gathered under the beautiful Colorado sunshine at the base of Buttermilk Mountain. A trio of events including the Jeep Women’s Ski Slopestyle, the Jeep Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle Finals and the captivating Snowmobile Best Trick competition preceded a musical performance by G-Eazy which sent off the 21st winter edition of the X Games in style.
Taking center stage was the Jeep Men’s Slopestyle Final, an event that often proves a catalyst for the progression of freestyle snowboarding. Today it was one of the sport’s youngest and most talked about riders, Marcus Kleveland, who took home the gold. At just 17-years-old, Kleveland‘s style through the rail section set the tone for the rest of his run. Appearing almost effortless, the Norwegian rider came off a cab 270 gap to boardslide prior to tossing a switch backside double cork 1080 on the first jump of the course. Following up with a cab triple cork 1620 and then a massive backside 1440 on the final jump, he secured a score of 91.66.
“I would never expect to win gold at Slopestyle. I don’t know what to feel, it’s just means the world to me,” Kleveland said after hearing the news that he won Jeep Men’s Slopestyle Final.
Canadian Tyler Nicholson was close behind with a 89.00 followed by a score of 87.99 by Mark McMorris. This comes just days after Kleveland made X Games history on the Big Air jump landing the Woods first backside quadruple cork 1800.
Over at the Jeep Women’s Ski Slopestyle it was an international podium today as a field of the most progressive freestyle skiers on the planet showed their skills.
Taking the top spot, it was no surprise to see 14-year-old phenom Kelly Sildaru ski her way though the course with uncommon ease. After spinning and sliding her way through the upper rail section, highlighted by a double rail switch up to 450 out, the young Estonian skier headed for the jumps landing a right side 720 and a left side 900 before stunning the crowd with a switch left 1080. Sildaru’s 92.33 was enough to top a stunning effort by France’s Tess Ledeux.
Sildaru was short for words after she learned she won her second gold medal in Slopestyle. “I can’t believe it. I’m so happy to be here right now!”
Taking third was Johanne Killi from Switzerland. For Sildaru, this was her second consecutive win in the event making her the youngest X Games competitor to win two gold medals.
The final event of the competition was perhaps the most tense as the Snowmobile Best Trick gathered a massive crowd, and for a third time it was Daniel Bodin who took the gold.
Landing an over-extended Indian air seat grab backflip on his final run for a score of 85.33 the Swedish rider shot to the lead knocking Brett Turcotte’s score of 83.33 into second place. Monster Energy Snowmobile Freestyle Gold Medalist Joe Parsons took third with a 77.66.
However, it was Colten Moore and Heath Frisby who drew the most attention, attempting double backflips on their first runs. Shooting nearly 50 feet in the air, both riders were able to complete the two rotations but neither were able to control their sleds upon the powerful landing.
“This gold is for Colten and Frisby. It’s around my neck but it belongs to you guys,” Bodin said after his gold medal run.
With new events, new tricks and the same old smiles, X Games Aspen proved again why it is the premier winter sports event in the world. Athletes from 14 counties earned medals this year tying an X Games winter event record of most countries on the podium with the USA leading the pack with a total of 20 medals. This year once again saw progression at the forefront of competition, sold out musical performances and a wide range of interactive experiences for the thousands of spectators solidifying X Games as not only a competition but a celebration.
Make sure to check back in March for coverage from X Games Norway!