All focus was on the SuperPipe at Buttermilk on Friday night for the men's and women's SuperPipe Finals. With 22-foot walls, perfectly manicured snow, and prime conditions for boosting, athletes have dubbed this year's SuperPipe "the best haflpipe of all time."
On the men's side, David Wise repeated as gold medalist. After qualifying in first place on Thursday, Wise' first run through the SuperPipe in the finals made a statement. Letting his skiing do the talking, Wise made it clear that he was at X Games to retain gold. With huge amplitude and stylish grabs, he set the tone with a score of 94.33 on his first run. Then, on his second go through the SuperPipe, Wise got serious. He brought down the house with a right-side 7 tail, switch double cork 10, back-to-back double cork 1260s, and an alley-oop flat tail on the final hit. His run had the fans screaming and the judges reeling, garnering a score off 95.66—the second highest SuperPipe score in X Games history.
Wise' runs through the SuperPipe notched the two highest scores of the night awarded by the judges. "It means the same to win it again as it does to win it the first time," said Wise, "It's such a challenge to come out and compete with the best guys in the world."
With the Winter Olympics on the horizon, last night in Aspen was a showdown between the United States and France. The U.S. swept the podium away from the powerful French halfpipe team. Rounding out the podium behind Wise were Aspen's Torin Yater-Wallace and Maine man Simon Dumont. Seventeen-year-old Yater-Wallace and 12-time X Games competitor Dumont finished with silver and bronze, respectively.
Yater-Wallace and Dumont both battled through injury to take home the X Games hardware. This was Yater-Wallace's first comp of the season after coming back from shoulder surgery, and Dumont skied without poles because of two broken wrists. Despite being banged up, Yater-Wallace showed some serious consistency throughout the night, notching an even 90 on his first run, bettering that to a 92 on his second run, and stepping up when it mattered most to blast a 93 on his final run through the SuperPipe. Yater-Wallace's final run consisted of a right side double cork 1260 mute to a stylish alley-oop double flatspin 900, followed by a double flatspin 900 into a left-side 1080 and finishing with a switch right-side 900. And Dumont earned the bronze—his ninth Winter X Games medal—on his third run. Empty-handed because of the broken wrists, Dumont scored an 85.66 for his run that included a left-side double cork 1260 that was 19 feet out of the SuperPipe, to a right-side 900 mute, followed by a double flare tail, to an alley-oop 720 to a switch 720, and ending with an alley-oop flatspin 540.
Men's SuperPipe Final Results
1. David Wise (Reno, NV) 95.66
2. Torin Yater-Wallace (Aspen, CO) 93.00
3. Simon Dumont (Bethel, ME) 85.66
4. Kevin Rolland (La Plagne, FRA) 84.66
5. Joffrey Pollet-Villard (La Clusaz, FRA) 82.66
6. Tucker Perkins (North Hampton, NH) 78.66
7. Aaron Blunck (Crested Butte, CO) 74.66
8. Benoit Valentin (La Plagne) FRA 63.66
On the women's side, 19-year-old Maddie Bowman from South Lake Tahoe, California was the first competitor to drop into the SuperPipe, and her first run proved to be the best of the night. Judges awarded Bowman's gold medal score a 91.33 for a run that started off with a huge 900 on the first hit followed by a smooth and stylie tail grab, a cork 900, 720, and a final switch 540. After stomping her first run, Bowman went for broke on her two subsequent runs through the SuperPipe but didn't land either run. It didn't matter, though, because Bowman took home the gold medal for her first run's amplitude, style, and technical approach.
"I'm on cloud nine. It was huge [to land everything on the first run], because I didn't land anything on my other two runs," said Bowman, "I'm glad I stuck the first run."
Roz Groenewoud, last year's gold medalist in women's SuperPipe, won the silver medal despite a bobble on her last hit of her last run. The silver is Groenewoud's fourth X Games medal. Twenty-year old Megan Gunning, of Calgary, Canada, nabbed bronze—her second X Games medal.
Women's SuperPipe Final Results
1. Maddie Bowman (South Lake Tahoe, CA) 91.33
2. Roz Groenewoud (Calgary, AB, CAN) 86.66
3. Megan Gunning (Calgary, AB, CAN) 85.00
4. Keltie Hansen (Edmonton, AB, CAN) 84.33
5. Brita Sigourney (Carmel, CA) 82.66
6. Annalisa Drew (Andover, MA) 81.00
7. Jen Hudak (Hamden, CT) 77.66
8. Anais Caradeux (La Clusaz, FRA) 61.66
The men's Slopestyle elims went down earlier on Friday, and England's James "Woodsy" Woods is going into Sunday's final with the top qualifying spot. With a flawless and technical rail section up top and three sick airs off the jumps at the bottom—culminating with a switch right-side double cork 10 octograb on the money booter—Woods' run topped those of Norwegian Andreas Håtveit and Canadian Alex Bellemare, who go into the final in second and third, respectively.
Not making the cut is last year's gold medalist, and consensus "best slope skier in the world," Tom Wallisch, who was battling a slight MCL tear in his knee. After uncharacteristically falling on his first elim run, the pressure was on Wallsich in his second run through the Slopestyle course. Wallisch put together a solid top section on the rails, but he punched the snow with both hands on the tranny of the second-to-last jump, leaving a tough decision up to the judges for the final qualifying spot going into the finals. In the end, the judges decided Wallisch's run wasn't enough to top Alex Schlopy's score of an 81.66, meaning Wallisch was the first athlete cut for the finals.
"It was definitely not my best performance, I was a little sketchy on my landings for sure," said Wallisch. "I'm just happy to have landed a full run. My knee's been bugging me so much, and just to ski the week after [hurting my knee]; I'm just stoked to be here."
Men's Slopestyle Elim Results
1. James Woods (Sheffield, GBR) 92.66
2. Andreas Hatveit (Sudndalen, NOR) 91.33
3. Alex Bellemare (Saint-Boniface, QC, BC) 89.00
4. Bobby Brown (Breckenridge, CO) 87.33
5. Henrik Harlaut (Are, SWE) 86.00
6. Joss Christensen (Park City, UT) 85.33
7. Nick Goepper (Lawrenceburg, IN) 85.33
8. Alex Schlopy (Park City, UT) 81.66
9. Tom Wallisch (Pittsburgh, PA) 80.66
10. Gus Kenworthy (Telluride, CO) 78.00
11. Matt Walker (Aspen, CO) 77.00
12. McRae Williams (Park City, UT) 76.00
13. Noah Morrison (Vernon, BC, CAN) 65.66
14. Jossi Wells (Wanaka, NZ) 29.00
15. Alex Beaulieu-Marchand (Quebec City, QB, CAN) 28.66
16. PK Hunder (Oyer, NOR) 22.66
The Ski Big Air headlines tonight's ski action. And triples are the talk after last night's cork triple fest that went down during the Snowboard Big Air.
"The lip is huge and the landing is super long and steep, which is kind of new because last year it was kind of flat," says Big Air competitor Bobby Brown. "I think this year it is definitely going to happen, and I'm calling that it will happen in qualifying. I know a couple of guys like Russ Henshaw and Gus Kenworthy will definitely do it. I think Big Air this year will definitely be the craziest Big Air X Games has seen yet."
There's going to be a lot of build-up heading into tonight's Big Air final amongst fans and media. But the athletes will be taking it easy today because tonight's scene at Buttermilk will be rowdy.
"All day Saturday is going to be real mellow for me and [the other Big Air competitors]," said Bobby Brown. "But then the switch flips and it will get crazy as soon as Big Air starts."
Skiing Event Schedule
Saturday, January 26
7 PM – 9 PM
Skiing Big Air Round One & Final (at the Big Air Booter)
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)
Keep checking back with Powder.com throughout X Games for more coverage.