X Games Aspen 2019 has officially landed on the base of Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen Snowmass, Colorado and the first night of festivities (January 24) drew in a crowd of 9,000!
Celebrating the fifth year of Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding at X Games Aspen, the team of Henry Meece and Chris Klug cemented their dominance with their fifth gold medal.
“I got another gold medal!” Meece said with excitement when he found out that his team kept their winning streak.
In this slalom race, teams are composed of one X Games athlete and one Special Olympics athlete, with pros racing head-to-head before Special Olympic riders do the same. Juan Guentrutripai and Scotty Lago took second place and Christopher Perdue and Mike Schultz took third to earn their first Special Olympic Unified Snowboarding medals.
Thursday night was also a night of elimination rounds, as the Jeep Men’s Ski Slopestyle and The Real Cost Men’s Snowboard Big Air found their top riders who would compete in the finals later in the week. Alex Beaulieu-Marchand tied for the first position with a 93.66 on his first run for Ski Slopestyle, while Swedish rider Sven Thorgren took the top qualifying position in Snowboard Big Air ahead of X Games Norway 2018 gold medalist Takeru Otsuka with a combined best score of 76.00.
After winning everything – including Olympic gold – in 2018, Cassie Sharpe had one gold left to win: X Games Aspen. In the first competition of the night, the Canadian fulfilled her goal of winning her first X Games Aspen gold in Women’s Ski SuperPipe.
Trailing Estonian phenom Kelly Sildaru heading into her final run, Sharpe overtook Sildaru with run that scored a 94.00. Her run included back-to-back 900s and a leftside 1080 on the last hit.
“I knew I had to be perfect. If I wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t going to beat Kelly. She beat me in Copper and I knew she could beat me here again today,” Sharpe said of her first X Games win. “This was so important to me – it’s a bucket list thing. X Games Aspen is such a prestigious event and I knew I wanted it.”
Competing in three disciplines at X Games, Sildaru won her first-ever SuperPipe medal with a score of 92.33 for silver. Rookie Rachael Karker rounded out the podium to win bronze with an 86.33.
Much to the delight of his fifty friends and family and hometown crowd, Aspen native Alex Ferreira won his first X Games gold in Great Clips Men’s Ski SuperPipe. Ferreira took an early lead, and then bettered his score on his third run with a run that included a rightside double cork 1260, into a leftside double cork 1080 and his signature double flatspin on the final hit.
“It’s truly euphoric! I can’t even believe it! I’m the happiest guy in the world right now!” Ferreira said to the crowd after being crowned the winner. “It’s the best feeling ever to have my family here – especially my grandpa, he’s the man! I’m really grateful for Aspen, for X Games, for everybody that came out – thank you!”
This win was the first time in nine years that an Aspen native took home gold at X Games Aspen. Last year’s gold medalist David Wise couldn’t best Ferreira with his final run, settling for silver. Nico Porteous took home bronze.
In the final competition of the night, X Games rookie Laurie Blouin proved that her Olympic silver was no fluke. The 22-year-old Canadian bested Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and veteran Jamie Anderson for a gold in Pacifico Women’s Snowboard Big Air.
“The X Games mean so much. I’ve been watching the X Games since I was young. For us, it’s the biggest contest of the year. Winning a gold medal at my first X Games…I’m just so stoked!” Blouin said.
“It’s a dream come true to get on the X Games podium. I didn’t expect that coming here,” Sadowski-Synnott echoed. “I just wanted to put some runs down that I was stoked on and compete against the strongest snowboarders. ”
Blouin landed a frontside 900 and a cab double underflip for a combined score of 77.00.
A stacked day is ahead for the second day of X Games Aspen 2019, as Jeep Women’s Ski Slopestyle, The Real Cost Men’s Ski Big Air Elimination, Jeep Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle Elimination, Snowmobile Freestyle, Women’s Ski Big Air and The Real Cost Men’s Snowboard Big Air will all go down at the base of Buttermilk Mountain. The GEICO Stage will light up with acclaimed rapper Lil’ Wayne, as he’ll perform some of his greatest hits in front of a sold-out crowd.
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