The 2012 Winter X-Games was a historic event, as highlights included the first ever snowmobile frontflip, a record breaking 96 point run in the ski slopestyle, and a weekend of paying respect to the late Sarah Burke. But despite all this, the X-Games still belonged to snowboarder Shaun White.
Despite fighting though an ankle injury that threatened to keep him out of competition, White dominated the SuperPipe, executing the first ever, perfect 100.00 in the event after landing the most technical run the world has seen. The record-setting run started off with a huge straight air into a combination of two doubles, a front side double cork 1080 and a cab double cork 1080. He then “stomped” a stalefish 540 into a double mctwist 1260 and a frontside double cork 1260. White is one of only few competitors that can execute a double mctwist 1260 and the only competitor that has ever landed a frontside double cork 1260 in competition.
White entered the competition as the winner of the past four Winter X-Games SuperPipe titles. White had already secured his fifth straight gold medal before his perfect 100.00 run, beating out Swiss rider Iouri Podladtchikov and Japan’s Ryo Aono with his first run score of 94.00. If that performance was White suffering through an ankle injury, the world better be watching when his ankle heals.
In Snowmobile Best Trick, Heath Frisby landed the first ever front flip en route to earning his second gold medal in the event. Frisby’s frontflip was just the second frontflip ever in motosports history, and came immediately after fellow SMB Best Trick competitor Justin Hoyer had to be taken off of the course by a stretcher. Just a few runs before Frisby, Hoyer threw a double-back but under-rotated and suffered severe injuries after falling to the ground. Hoyer was taken to a local hospital and is expected to fully recover.
When asked how he was able to refocus after seeing the horrific crash right before his run, Frisby said, “No one can explain the feeling athletes get. When we go out there it is the worst feeling in your stomach, in your head, everything, and I just knew that I had to stay focused. I knew that I trained for this and I knew what to do.”
One of the most highly anticipated events, the Men’s ski slopestyle finals was memorable as well, witnessing a record-breaking performance by Tom Wallisch. His run featured an ollie to 450 out on the wall-ride feature, that no competitor was able to match, a switch right 900 mute, a double cork 1260, and switch right double cork 1080 japan, to switch left double cork 1080 japan. Wallisch earned a 96.00, breaking Candide Thovex’s record run of 95.00 set in 2007. Nick Goepper, a 17-year old Rookie, took silver with a right double cork 1260 mute to japan. Taking bronze was Andreas Hatviet with his double cork 1080 octo-grab. Wallisch remains undefeated this season with his dominant performance in both the Dew Tour and the X Games.
In snowboarding, 18-year-old Mark McMorris, a second year competitor, upgraded from his second place performance in 2011 to take home the gold. On his run, McMorris landed the first ever triple cork 1440 in competition, scoring a 49 and taking first. But then Torstien Horgmo, who threw the first ever triple flip last year at the X-Games, landed a perfect triple cork and earned a 50. In the end, McMorris was awarded the gold because the final score is weighted based on the top two tricks. McMorris’ frontside double cork 1080 gave him the lead and the victory over Horgmo.
Bobby Brown took first in ski Big Air by landing a switch double cork 1440 with a tweaked out mute grab and a switch double misty 1260. Audiences were expecting to see a triple cork but as Bobby Brown said, “It’s not about someone coming out with the gnarliest tricks ever. It’s about laying it down when it needs to be [laid down].”
The women’s ski SuperPipe was dedicated to Sarah Burke, who died from injuries suffered during a training run in Utah. Roz Groenewoud took first in the final and wore a red “Sarah” sticker in tribute to Burke.
“We all need to follow in Sarah’s footsteps,” said Groenewoud, “She was pushing the sport even when she didn’t need to, she was trying new tricks, landing new tricks, and I think now it’s our turn to keep pushing for her.” Groenewoud took first with a score of 93.66 after landing a run featuring a 900, back-to-back 540s, a 720, and a switch 540.
In the men’s ski SuperPipe, Sarah Burke’s death hung heavy over Simon Dumont, who did not perform, saying, “My head is not in the game.” But the story of the night was David Wise, who showcased halfpipe’s new skiing trick, the switch double. He launched over 20 feet out of the pipe on his double cork 1260 and had an average height of 17 feet out of the pipe, earning a score of 93 to put him in first. Noah Bowman, who entered the competition as an alternate, and Aspen local Torin Yater-Wallace took second and third respectively.
Kaya Turski won the women’s ski slopestye final by throwing the event’s first ever switch 1080 for women in competition. Devin Logan came in second with a cork 720 and two 540s. Anna Segal finished third after spinning both directions.
In the debut of Snowboard Street competition, Winter X Games rookie Forest Bailey took first, throwing down a 450 onto a down rail and a gap 50-50 to wildcat backflip out of a down-flat rail feature. Other highlights of the terrain park event involved Nick Visconti putting down a 270 onto a C-rail, and switch hard-way backside 270 onto a down rail.
In the snowmobile freestyle final, each competitor has one minute and fifteen seconds to lay down the best combination of tricks possible off of giant, 70 foot gaps. Colten Moore took first, with Joe Parsons taking silver and Moore’s brother Caleb taking bronze. Colten’s clean run included a cordova backflip and a superflip Indian air.
In Women’s Snowboard Superpipe, Kelly Clark won by scoring a 93.66 and landing a 1080. Elena High took second and Hannah Teter took third. The gold medal was the thirteenth consecutive first place finish for Clark.
In the women’s Skier X, Marte Gjefsen took first after suffering a torn thumb ligament and broken wrist during a crash the day before. She still decided to compete and beat out Norwegian teammate Hedda Bernsten and Australia’s Jenny Owens.
In men’s Snowboarder X, Nate Holland took his sixth Winter X gold beating out Nick Baumgartner and Jayson Hale. In women’s Snowboarder X, Dominique Maltais won gold, beating out Bulgarian rider Alexandra Jekova and Canadian rider Maelle Ricker.
Winter X games at Aspen Colorado was a record-breaking event. To check out the highlights or video clips go to http://search.espn.go.com/winter-x-games/videos/6