Those who watched the Winter X Games this week will understand where we are coming from when we say this has been one of the most captivating events Aspen has ever seen!
With so many big names pulling off insanely challenging runs and many younger faces pushing the limits in every sport, 2013 witnessed the best riding that we’ve seen on the slopes.
It was clear from the beginning that the Big Air final was going to be extremely competitive, with Triple corks being pulled off in the first runs. With a jump of 75ft and 100ft to the sweet spot (run off), this kicker claimed many riders, causing some serious wipeouts including Halldor Helgason’s attempt at a triple backflip in the qualifiers which resulted in an over-rotation and an unconscious Helgason.
However, unfortunately he did not make it into the six man final with Sebastien Toutant, Stale Sandbech, Ulrik Badertscher, Seppe Smits, Torstein Horgmo and Mark McMorris.
With such an intense final, only the best tricks would see the high points in the 40 range and with all six riders going for Triple corks, the heat was on to land each run perfectly. Torstein Horgmo was the first participant to successfully land a Triple cork in his first run scoring him a well-deserved 44 points, closely followed by Stale Sanbech’s own insane Triple cork, scoring him 49 points, putting him in first place with a total of 91 points altogether.
However, in the last chance to up their points, both Horgmo and McMorris knew they had to push themselves if they were going to achieve a podium finish, with Horgmo landing a perfect switch backside triple cork, scoring him 50 points, taking the lead from Stale. With his last and only chance to score big, McMorris knocked out his own Triple cork resulting in a further 48 points added to his total, placing 2nd in the leader board, pushing Sandbech down into 3rd.
The Men’s Slopestyle also showed the same kind of competitiveness, with McMorris taking 1st place with a whopping 98.00 points, a full eight points above 2nd place Maxence Parrot with 90.00 and Seppe Smits in 3rd with 85.00.
This year’s Superpipe saw a surprisingly close fought event, with the “great” Shaun White fighting it out with Iorui Podladtchikov, Ayumu Hirano, Markus Malin and Scotty Lago.
During the qualifiers, Shaun White looked complacent with his initial run, then disappointed the crowd by merely riding through the pipe on his second, knowing he had already qualified. Podladtchikov however, was consistently impressive throughout the qualifiers and stood in pole to take the title.
With White placing an embarrassing 7th place in the Slopestyle, all was set for a dramatic final between White and the affectionately named iPod. But on the day of the final the Swiss rider had to pull out due to illness. There were no shortage of contenders though as the final lived up to its billing.
Despite fantastic runs from the 14 year old Hirano who came 2nd, Malin 3rd and Scotty Lago who had an unfortunate slip during his drop-in on his final run coming in 4th, qualification it was once again White who took 1st place.
How the podium would have looked if illness hadn’t struck the Swiss rider down, we can only guess and the anticipated battle between Shaun White and iPod will have to wait.