The final day (January 28) of competition at X Games Aspen 2018 saw 30,000 spectators witness the grand finale of events including Women’s Ski Big Air, Jeep Men’s Ski Slopestyle, the all-new Snow Bike Best Trick and the premier event of the evening, Monster Energy Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe. Weather could not have been better with sunny skies and mild temperatures affording the international field of athletes optimal conditions to progress their respective sports.
With the sun high above the gathering crowd at Buttermilk Mountain, the women kicked off the day’s festivities with the Women’s Ski Big Air Final. Hailing from Geneva, Switzerland, it was X Games rookie Sarah Hoefflin who took home gold.
Winning the judges over with a switch left side double cork 900 and a switch right side 1080, Hoefflin was awarded 86.00 points for her efforts on the 80-foot jump.
“I don’t believe it. I still don’t know what happened!” Hoefflin said about winning today’s competition. “Honestly, if it wasn’t for the level of the other girls skiing today I don’t think I would have pushed myself as hard.”
Johanne Killi, who won gold at X Games Norway 2017, landed a score of 79.00 to take silver. French skier Tess Ledeux earned bronze with a 71.00.
Next up, Jeep Men’s Ski Slopestyle saw the Henrik Harlaut show continue.
Coming off a win in last night’s The Real Cost Men’s Ski Big Air event, the Swedish skier once again dominated the course with unmatched style and skill. Attacking the rail section with technical tricks like left side 270-to-pretzel out, the 26-year-old then threw a succession of spins including a nose butter double cork 1260 with a blunt grab on the final jump for a sore of 93.00.
“It took me skiing the best I ever had to win today,” Harlaut said after securing the first place position. “My first run was the best I’ve ever done on a Slopestyle course.”
For Harlaut, the twin victories in both Big Air and Slopestyle this weekend match a feat accomplished only once before at X Games, by Bobby Brown in 2010.
Last year’s winner Øystein Braaten had to settle for silver with 92.33 while Andri Ragetti won his first X Games medal with a bronze.
With the sun setting, musical act Marshmello warmed the crowed up at the GEICO music stage before spectators moved on to watch the evenings main event — the Monster Energy Men’s Snowboard Superpipe Finals. In a line up stacked with talent, this was the last major contest before the majority of competitors make their way to South Korea to compete in the XXIII Winter Olympics in two weeks.
Early on, it seemed reigning SuperPipe gold medalist Scotty James would take the win as he put together a run worthy of an astonishing 96.00 points, but that was before Ayumu Hirano dropped in.
On his third attempt, Hirano put down the run of a lifetime. Starting with the night’s highest air, a 20-foot backside Indy, Hirano then did something never seen before at X Games and threw back-to-back 1440 double corks — the first one frontside, the second cab. Finishing off his run with back-to-back double cork 1260’s it was undoubtedly one of the most progressive runs in X Games history.
When the scores came in, the 19-year-old Japanese rider was awarded a score of 99.00, the single highest score since Shaun White‘s perfect 100 six years ago.
“I was only looking at first place tonight,” Hirano said through a translator. “I put it all on the line and am so happy to walk away with an X Games gold.”
In one of the most thrilling finishes in SuperPipe history, Scotty James then dropped in as the last rider of the competition and put together undoubtedly one of the best runs of his competitive career.
Incorporating style, amplitude and the rarely seen switch backside 1260 double cork at the end of his run it would be close. With an usually long deliberation period, the score finally came in at a 98.00 — a gold medal run by any standard, just not tonight.
Style master Ben Ferguson brought home bronze with a 95.00.
Two new events for X Games saw Rob Adelberg of Australia win the Snow Bike Best Trick Final with a California Roll and Travis Whitlock take the gold in the Harley Davidson Snow Hill Climb racing up the SuperPipe on his modified Harley in just 10.32 seconds.
And with that, the 22nd edition of ESPN’s annual winter action sports competition, X Games Aspen 2018 is officially wrapped. Over the four day event, 115,000 people passed through the gates to watch the best action sports athletes from around the globe compete in a total of 17 events on six custom built courses at the base of Aspen’s Buttermilk Mountain where they were treated to not only the most progressive competition in all of action sports, but daily live music and the interactive X Fest.