Leave it to Shaun White to close down X Games Aspen 2013 with yet another gold medal winning performance in Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe finals. Lacking his trademark flowing locks, White earned the night's top two scores including a 98.00 on his second run. That run began with a record-setting 24-foot, 1-inch backside air, breaking his own record by a foot.
White, the oldest competitor in Sunday’s final, has 15 total X Games gold medals between snowboarding and skateboarding, including eight in SuperPipe.
"Six years, that's pretty heavy,” said White. “It's going to be more uncomfortable next year when I'm going for the seventh. I like it; it's a pretty humbling title to hold. I'm proud."
A 14-year-old Japanese phenom named Ayumu Hirano claimed silver in his first X Games with a score of 92.33. Hirano launched his 116-pound frame more than 19 feet out of the pipe, but he couldn't match White's technical difficulty.
"I think he's got an amazing future ahead of him and I was proud to ride with him tonight," White said of Hirano.
Finland's Markus Malin earned bronze, the first medal of his X Games career.
Nick Goepper, 18, of Indiana won his first X Games gold on Sunday afternoon in Men’s Ski Slopestyle final with a combination of highly technical tricks and solid grabs on every jump.
Goepper took silver at the event last year. There hasn’t been a repeat winner in the event in the last nine years—meaning, in men’s slopestyle, it’s anyone’s game.
“It was nerve racking,” Goepper said, “I was wiping the sweat off my brow every time. I think I almost peed my pants, I was so nervous. I’ve been dreaming of this moment for years and I’m just so excited.”
Goepper told the press that he talked to his mother, who reminded him of his childhood dreams of winning X Games.
Saturday’s Big Air winner, Henrik Harlaut of Sweden, claimed silver and X Games rookie, James Woods, 21, of Sheffield, Great Britain, took silver.
In Women’s Ski Slopestyle Sunday afternoon, X Games Aspen rookie Tiril Sjastad Christensen of Geilo, Norway, became the youngest female ski gold medalist. The 17-year-old showed off her rail prowess then threw a cab 520 to a left 520 to a switch right 520, followed by a 900 tail.
“It’s unbelievable,” she said, “I didn’t think I was getting invited here, but to get gold is just unbelievable.”
Despite some difficulty on her first two runs, last year’s gold medalist Kaya Turski nabbed silver with unique and stylish tricks including a grind on the downrail with a grab, a flat 540, switch 720 and switch cork 540.
Dara Howell, 18, of Huntsville, Ontario took bronze.
In SnoCross, Tucker Hibbert won his sixth consecutive gold medal, 11 seconds ahead of silver medalist Ross Martin and 26 seconds ahead of bronze medalist Tim Tremblay. Hibbert is the most decorated X Games snowmobiler and still holds the record as the youngest X Games winter athlete to win gold (he was 15).
Mike Schultz came from behind to win an exciting Snowmobile SnoCross Adaptive final, ahead of silver medalist Doug Henry and bronze medalist Garret Goodwin. In Snowmobile Best Trick, Daniel Bodin of Sweden won his second gold with a big, clean Indian backflip on the 100-foot gap. Joe Parsons of Washington earned silver, bringing his total X Games Aspen medal count to 12, second only to Shaun White. Heath Frisby of Idaho earned bronze for the first ever landed Underflip.