Jossi Wells and Kelly Sildaru Earn Historic X Games Golds

Rolland, Bowman, and Bösch also top podiums in Aspen

Kiwi Jossi Wells and Estonian Kelly Sildaru became their homelands’ first winter X Games gold medalists at the 2016 slopestyle events held last week at Buttermilk Ski Area in Aspen, Colorado.

Though Sildaru was an Aspen X Games first-timer, her victory on Friday isn’t surprising, especially after her Dew Tour win in December. Her smooth, technical runs are earning her major recognition. With her win, the 13-year-old swiped the record for youngest winter X Games gold medalist from snowboarder Chloe Kim—who in turn found herself a new title on Sunday, when she became the first athlete under 16 to win two gold medals.

Wells, a versatile veteran with 11 previous X Games appearances, already holds medals in each of the three freeski events. He’s also got a handful of Dew Tour podiums. But this is Wells’ first gold. With a foot of heavy new snow on the ground, it was tough to find the speed for bigger airs, and most slopestyle skiers focused on putting together creative rail lines. The deep field of competition on Sunday included Gus Kenworthy, who took home silver in Slopestyle as well as Superpipe.

Kevin Rolland edged out Kenworthy at the last minute in the Thursday pipe comp. The French skier, who performs especially well under pressure, posted low scores in his first two runs, but dropped in last to lay down a final run good enough for gold. One of the most accomplished skiers in Superpipe history, Rolland has landed among the top five every year he’s competed in the X Games. Yet his win Thursday still marked a turn of events—he broke a six-year-long gold medal dry spell.

Maddie Bowman, another event favorite, won the women’s Superpipe for the fourth year in a row. She’s long dominated the discipline, but this was her first major competition of the season after surgery last February. The other skiers didn’t make Bowman’s win easy, and her strong and confident performance proved that she’s back.

Heavy snowfall cut men’s snowboard Superpipe short at one run on Friday evening and also slowed down the men’s Big Air comp. The skiers struggled to muster enough speed, and many favored lower-rotation tricks than usual. Some, like Henrik Harlaut, tested the conditions with new and different tricks, though the judges didn’t necessarily reward such experimentation. In the end, 18-year-old Swiss skier Fabian Bösch captured the night with a triple cork 1440 safety and a triple cork 1620 safety.

Full results:

Men’s Slopestyle
Jossi Wells 90.00
Gus Kenworthy 87.33
Øystein Bråten 84.33
James Woods 83.00
Bobby Brown 82.66

Women’s Slopestyle
Kelly Sildaru 93.00
Tiril Sjåstad Christiansen 91.66
Johanne Killi 86.66
Maggie Voisin 84.66
Dara Howell 76.33

Men’s Superpipe
Kevin Rolland 93.33
Gus Kenworthy 92.33
Benoit Valentin 90.66
Alex Ferreira 87.00
Torin Yater-Wallace 86.33

Women’s Superpipe
Maddie Bowman 89.00
Ayana Onozuka 85.00
Annalisa Drew 83.00
Cassie Sharpe 79.33
Janina Kuzma 74.00

Men’s Big Air
Fabian Bösch 86.00
Bobby Brown 85.00
Elias Ambuehl 84.00
Henrik Harlaut 80.00
Kai Mahler 79.00