Day three (January 27) of X Games Aspen 2018 brought an international field of athletes to the slopes of Buttermilk Mountain for a chance at X Games gold.
For many, including those participating in Jeep Women’s Ski Slopestyle, Women’s Snowboard Big Air, Jeep Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle, The Real Cost Men’s Ski Big Air, and SoFi Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe finals, this was the last major completion before they head to the XXIII Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea to represent their respective countries in two weeks. The packed schedule also saw the high octane Snow BikeCross Final, as well as an evening session on the GEICO music stage with Method Man & Redman.
By the time musical legends LCD Soundsystem closed out the night more than 42,000 people passed through the gates to witness one of the most exciting days in 22 years of Winter X Games.
The action began with Jeep Women’s Ski Slopestyle Finals and 19-year-old Maggie Voisin from Whitefish, Montana becoming the first American woman to win gold in the event, which debuted in 2009.
Wasting no time, Voisin’s first of three runs earned her the winning score of 92.33. With a succession of smooth and stylish 900 degree spins including a right side 9, a switch 9 and an inverted rodeo 9, she topped Isabel Atkin’s 88.00 with relative ease.
“Oh my gosh! I can hardly breathe to be honest!” Voisin said about her first X Games Gold in the Jeep Women’s Ski Slopestyle.
Taking bronze was Sweden’s Jennie Lee Burmansson with a score of 85.00.
Next up, Austria’s Anna Gasser took her first X Games gold in Women’s Snowboard Big Air after a silver last year. Taking everyone by surprise, the 26-year-old came out swinging with a cab 1080 double cork on her second run to take an early lead, before backing it up with a frontside double cork 900. With a combined score of 86.00 Gasser won the competition with relative ease.
“It means so much to win today, especially after pulling out of Slopestyle yesterday,” Gasser said after securing the gold medal position. “It’s so inspiring to see everyone trying tricks they have never done before — I’m just thankful to be a part of this.”
Notably, 16-year-old Japanese rider Reira Iwabuchi took home silver in her first X Games appearance while Jamie Anderson earned a bronze — her first podium outside of Slopestyle.
“I’m just so hyped to be out here charging with all the babes. It was a really progressive day of snowboarding for everyone,” Anderson said after hearing she won the bronze medal.
For Anderson, this marked her 15th medal, making her the most decorated female athlete in the history of X Games.
Snowboarding action continued as the clouds parted for the highly anticipated Jeep Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle Finals, as eight riders from around the world lined up on the creative course.
Once again it was Marcus Kleveland who rode away with gold. Repeating his performance from last year, the Norwegian rider showed off his talent with a 270-on, inverted 450-off the rainbow rail up top before finishing of his run with a cab 1620 triple cork and a backside 1440 triple cork on the final two jumps.
“Another gold — it’s unbelievable!” Kleveland said on his back-to-back Gold Medals in Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle. “Just to be here has been my dream since I first saw X Games on TV when I was a kid.”
21-year-old Darcy Sharpe put down a silver medal effort earning his first X Games medal, while four-time Slopestyle gold medalist Mark McMorris took bronze.
“It was a little vicious — but luckily I’m a smooth cat,” Sharpe said after placing in the silver medal spot.
Elsewhere, after earning a bronze medal at the inaugural event last year, Canadian rider Cody Matechuk returned to the Snow BikeCross Finals to edge out fellow countryman and last year’s winner Brock Hoyer by less than eight seconds for his first gold on the closed-course track. X Games rookie Cody Kamm brought home bronze.
Providing a break in the action, iconic hip-hop artists Method Man & Redman played an hour long set on the GEICO music stage hyping the crowd up before the focus shifted to the Big Air venue for The Real Cost Men’s Ski Big Air Finals.
Though the temperature dropped to 20 degrees as the night progressed, it didn’t hamper Henrik Harlaut who surprised no one with another victory in an event he has dominated in recent years.
A five time gold medalist on the big air jump, Harlaut came out strong with a switch triple cork 1440 for a first run score of 43.00 before backing it up with a switch right side triple cork 1440 for another 43.00 points.
“I think maybe the nicest trick I’ve ever done on a jump was my first hit! I’m so, so, so stoked!” Harlaut said after his gold medal performance in the competition.
Despite earning highest single trick score of a 45.00, thanks to a switch 1440 triple cork with two separate tail grabs, Norwegian skier Oystein Braaten would have to settle for silver as Harlaut’s combined 86.00 proved too much to beat. Last year’s winner James Woods took home bronze.
Finishing off the busy third day of competition was the highly anticipated SoFi Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe and as we’ve come to expect, all eyes were on Chloe Kim.
With it all on the line and trailing Arielle Gold going into her final attempt, Kim put together a run that included back-to-back 1080’s — a first in the history of Women’s SuperPipe at X Games. Awarded a score of 93.33, she beat Gold, who was holding on to a 92.33, by a single point. Gold herself landed a 1080 but would have to settle for silver.
“I was landing them every time in practice but wasn’t sure if I would during the competition. The pressure changes everything!” Kim said about landing her back to back 1080’s during her run.
Rounding out the podium was California’s Maddie Mastro who took home her first X Games medal, a bronze.