Saturday’s Ski Big Air competition goes down as one of the most exciting nights in skiing history. Sweden’s Henrik Harlaut landed the first ever nose butter triple cork 1620, winning X Games gold and sending the more than 47,000 people into frenzy.
It started with two 15-minute jam sessions in which five skiers lapped the 80-foot jump as many times as they could, trying to solidify their best two runs and advance to the finals. Henrik Harlaut, Bobby Brown, PK Hunder, Gus Kenworthy, Elias Ambühl and Kai Mahler made the finals and put on a show no one will forget that included a switch triple rodeo Japan from Kenworthy and triple cork 1440s from Ambühl, Brown and Mahler.
After throwing many a stylish nose butter double cork 10 and 12, Harlaut surprised everyone with the nose butter triple cork 16, earned a perfect score and solidified his win.
“I was only going to pull it out if I really needed to,” said 21-year-old Harlaut, “But Tanner Hall, Taylor Seaton and Vincent Gagnier were making me stoked and gave me a confidence boost.”
Swiss skier Kai Mahler, 17, won his second consecutive silver medal and Swiss teammate Elias Ambühl, 20, took third.
In Women’s Snowboard Superipe Elena Hight lead for most of the night after she landed the worlds first (by any male or female) backside ally-oop double rodeo 900, but it was veteran Kelly Clark who boosted with huge amplitude and landed technical back-to-back tricks, including a frontside 1080 to a cab 720 to a frontside 900, which took the gold.
“This was the most difficult run I’ve ever done in terms of amplitude and technical tricks,” said Clark. “In that perspective I’m extremely proud to be on top of this sport that’s progressing at a rapid pace.”
Arielle Gold, 16, of Breckenridge, Colo. took bronze.
In men’s Snowboard Slopestyle, Canada’s Mark McMorris won a second consecutive gold medal and scored the highest score in snowboard slopestyle history. The 19-year-old from Regina, Canada also took silver at Friday night’s Big Air event. His winning run included a cab 1260 double cork to a front 1080 double cork to a double wildcat backside and ended with the progressive triple cork 1440 earning him an unprecedented score of 98.00.
Canadian Max Parrot, 18, and Seppe Smits, 21, of Belguim both landed triples to earn silver and bronze, respectively.
Jamie Anderson, 22, of South Lake Tahoe, Calif. Defended her Women’s Slopestyle title Saturday and won her fourth gold and seventh X Games Aspen medal.
“It feels so good,” she said, “I’m so happy to be here with a healthy body and a healthy mind.”
First time X Games medalist Sarka Pancochova, 22, of Czech Republic, earned silver and Canadian Spencer O’Brien, 24, took bronze.
Snowmobiler Levi LaVallee, 30, won his second gold of the week in Snowmobile Speed & Style by landing big tricks like the Superman Flip and the Cordova Flip. It was his sixth gold and ninth total X Games medal.
Saturday night’s festivities included a private ESPN party at the Belly Up Aspen featuring Dave Mathews Band, a performance by Matisyahu at the Marley's Mellow Mood “Safe House” and the Monster Energy party in the lodge atop Aspen Mountain.