In a place where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano, in that little place called Aspen, the Global X Games initiative began its 2013 six stop journey.
X Games Aspen Day 1 brought some highlights, bloopers and rekindled a fire that once burned in Shaun White.
Day 1 began with Shaun White making his return to the Slopestyle course. In his first X Games Tignes appearance in 2012, White won gold in both Snowboard SuperPipe and Slopestyle, but this was different.
White had not competed on the Aspen course in years, and he is trying to re-dedicate himself to both sports with the 2014 Winter Olympics coming up in one year.
In what was hyped as the “Slopestyle Showdown” between White and Mark McMorris turned into a qualifying dud. McMorris took first after the qualifiers and White took seventh.
White visibly disappointed after the qualifiers vowed to get things straight and that he liked feeling the pressure of being on the bottom again.
“It makes me feel young again,” said White.
As the sun dipped, the lights came on and the 2-year wait for the return of Levi LaValle ended in a gold medal run in Snowmobile freestyle.
After three big wrecks knocked out both Colten (last years’ gold medalist) and Caleb Moore and heavy contender Daniel Bodin, Levi soared to the win posting a score of 89.00
After missing several competitions due to a previous injury LaValle came back to X with a fire in his eyes, throwing a 120-foot superman back flip as the signature part of the run.
“You do your backflip pull, you shove the sled away and you hang on tight and it just goes wailing away from you,” LaValle said in a press release. “I hadn’t been on the freestyle course since 2010. It’s a dream come true to come back and win after a couple years of injury.”
Caleb Moore passed away from complications from his crash Thursday morning. The family wishes to express their deep gratitude for all the prayers and support they have received from all the fans, friends and family around the world that Caleb has inspired.
They would also like to thank the physicians and medical staff at both Aspen Valley Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital, Grand Junction for their care and dedication.
Day 2 brought a return to the SuperPipe and emotions were high as tributes were once again paid to the legacy of Sarah Burke. It has been one year since her passing and her legacy and foundation still live on. The ladies took to the pipe first, and first became the theme of the competition. 19 year old Maddie Bowman was the first lady to drop into the pipe and it was her first run that stood out to win Maddie her first ever X Games Gold.
She started the competition off with some of the most impressive amplitude of the ladies. Her first hit consisted of a big 900 to a 540, followed by a smooth tail grab to a cork 900 to 720 to a switch 540.
“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 in a press release, “I’m glad I stuck the first run.”
The men took to the massive pipe next with David Wise earning his second consecutive X Games Aspen Gold. Wise combined the highest amplitude, boosting 20 feet out of the 22-foot SuperPipe, with his signature unique style and technical grabs, including an unprecedented back-to-back double cork 1260 mute.
“It means the same to win it again as it does to win it the first time,” said Wise in a press release, “It’s such a challenge to come out and compete with the best guys in the world.”
While firsts were the theme of the first final of the day, triples became the theme of the third final of the night. Snowboard Big Air capped off the evening with some of the most progressive tricks being thrown from the massive kicker landing Torstein Horgmo on the top of the podium.
Horgmo and silver medalist Mark McMorris and even bronze medalist Stale Sandbech had the battle of triple corks, matching and one besting each other with every run. McMorris tied up the score with his jaw-dropping cab triple cork 1440, but Horgmo’s previous run scored two points higher breaking the tie and earning him the gold.