The hype leading up to Saturday night's Big Air was palpable throughout the day at Buttermilk. Talk amongst competitors about the impending triple cork fest was swirling, even though they've never been thrown in Winter X Games competition.
Bobby Brown's comments leading up to Saturday night's Big Air proved to be prescient when he said, "I think Big Air this year will definitely be the craziest Big Air X Games has seen yet." Without a doubt, what went down on the massive booter built at Buttermilk was insane.
Henrik Harlaut made history by stomping the first ever nose-butter triple cork 1620, which earned a perfect score of 50 and the top spot on the Big Air podium.
Two jam-format heats made up of five guys determined the top five skiers to move on to the final, based on the skier's two best runs. Sweden's Harlaut skied well throughout the night, nailing a left-side nose-butter double cork 1260 true and left-side nose-butter double cork 1260 safety, among others, in his characteristic style. His smeary butters off the lip, sleepy rotations, long tail grabs, and afterbang-style were consistent and solid from the beginning. But all of the triples being thrown by Brown, Kenworthy, Ambhul, and Mahler seemed to be garnering more cheers from the massive crowd at the base of the Big Air booter.
However, when Harlaut unleashed the history-making nose-butter triple cork 1620 the people at Buttermilk, bar-hoppers in downtown Aspen, and fans watching live on TV all over the world, went absolutely nuts.
Despite having never tried the trick before, Harlaut said he had envisioned it over the past month but wasn't necessarily planning on throwing it at X Games.
"I was only going to pull it out if I really needed to," said Harlaut, "But Tanner Hall, Taylor Seaton, and Vincent Gagnier were making me stoked and gave me a confidence boost."
Swiss skiers Kai Mahler and Elias Ambuhl finished with the silver and bronze, respectively, behind Harlaut. Seventeen-year-old Mahler, of Fischenthal, Switzerland, earned his second-consecutive X Games Aspen silver after landing a switch triple misty 620 and Elias Ambuhl, 20, of Rongellen, Switzerland, took bronze with what might have been the cleanest triple cork thrown on the night, a left-side triple cork 1440 mute that Ambuhl put to the bolts.
Going into the final day of X Games Aspen, the men's and women's slopestyle finals are set to go down around midday. Look for England's James "Woodsy" Woods, the top qualifier, to put on a show. Nick Goepper, Alex Bellemare, Brown, and Harlaut are primed to give "Woodsy" a run for his money, though. On the women's side, Kaya Turski looks to win gold in slopestyle at her seventh consecutive X Games--between Aspen and Tignes, France--against a stout field of veterans and talented up-and-comer Emilia Wint.
Check back tomorrow morning for a recap of the final day at X Games Aspen.
Skiing Big Air Final Results
1. Henrik Harlaut (Are, SWE) 97
2. Kai Mahler (Fischenthal, SUI) 91
3. Elias Ambuhl (Rongellen, SUI) 89
4. Bobby Brown (Breckenridge, CO) 86
5. Gus Kenworthy (Telluride, CO) 81
6. PK Hunder (Oyer, NOR) 79
Skiing Event Schedule
Sunday, January 27
12 PM - 1:15 PM
Skiing Slopestyle Men's Final (at the Slopestyle Course)
1: 30 PM - 2:45 PM
Skiing Slopestyle Women's Final (at the Slopestyle Course)