Anybody that knows me well knows that the Winter X Games are the only reason I awake from my winter hibernation…well I wish I could hibernate, but anyway…this year’s games were as eventful as ever and I feel it is my duty to write a little summation and pay homage to one of my favorite sporting events of the year. I want to take the time to note some important highlights from this year’s festivities.
Shaun White Is Getting Old
Ah, Shaun White, the X Games king. I remember watching his perfect 100 run in the superpipe event like it was yesterday. Come Sunday night and the Winter X Games finale year after year, when Shaun White would first drop into the half pipe to start a run that would defy gravity and numerous other laws of physics, it was nearly an annual certainty that he would walk away with the gold medal. That’s not the case anymore. At the ripe old age of 30, White is certainly up there in snowboard years, giving way to a younger crop of super pipers. Watching White this year, his height out of the pipe is still unparalleled and the tricks he pulls out of his bag are still incredibly impressive and only doable by him, but his ability to finish isn’t quite what it used to be. White was looking good during this year’s runs but could not put together a complete set, failing to get his score out of the 20s on either run. My question is whether or not we will see him quintuple-corking his way down the pipe next year, or if he’ll decide to leave the McTwisting to the youngins. In either case, even if he doesn’t stomp out historic runs like he used to, it’s always an honor to watch Shaun White board. It’s still weird watching superpipe at the beginning of the weekend instead of on Sunday night; another sign of changing times. And of course, congrats to Scotty James on winning the gold. I guess his run was pretty impressive…
Watch Shaun White’s first run here.
Men’s Snowboard Superpipe results:
Gold – Scotty James
Silver – Matt Ladley
Bronze – Taylor Gold
Tucker Hibbert…What Happened, Man?
One event that I feel is fairly overlooked is the Snocross; which is basically the snowmobile racing. It’s not exactly one of the most-watched events of the X Games but it’s always been one of my favorites because I have the privilege of watching Tucker Hibbert race. For those of you who don’t know who Tucker Hibbert is, he is the Snocross god. Hibbert has 14 X Games medals dating back to 2000 including ten gold medals and a gold medal streak from 2007 to 2016 (excluding 2012 when the event wasn’t included in the games). Tucker Hibbert didn’t just win races, he DESTROYED the competition year after year. The man decked out in Monster gear would finish races sometimes 30 seconds ahead of the competition. Tucker Hibbert is the definition of event dominance…but not this year. Hibbert did not even MEDAL this year, finishing just short of the podium in fourth, which makes you wonder if his age is starting to become a factor as well. Still, always fun to watch him race. Congrats to Petter Narsa for dethroning the king.
Gold – Petter Narsa
Silver – Adam Renheim
Bronze – Lincoln Lemieux
Another Year of Firsts
Tony Hawk landing the first ever 900. Shaun White scoring a perfect 100. The Moore brothers’ tandem snowmobile trick. Whatever the feat, everybody likes being a witness to something that has never been done before. This year brought with it something else that had never been done. At the age of only 16, American Hailey Langland became the first female athlete to land a double cork at the X Games. The female athletes for the most part don’t have the height capacity that their male counterparts do, which makes multiple spins more difficult. Langland stomping out a double cork and winning gold in the snowboard big air competition is definitely a big step in the world of female X Games. Congrats to Hailey for the impressive feat and for winning gold in the big air event.
Women’s Snowboard Big Air results:
Gold – Hailey Langland
Silver – Anna Gasser
Bronze – Julia Marino
Watch Langland’s run here.
Double Backflips Are Hard
With the death of Caleb Moore still fresh in the mind of every X Games fan, the snowmobile best trick event has taken on a very symbolic and prominent role as the finale of the X Games, especially for Caleb’s brother, Colten. Who could forget 2011, when the Moore brothers decided to stick it to the judges and do a trick together on one sled in a display of unyielding fraternal support, solidifying their spot in the X Games hall of fame. 2013 was not as kind to Caleb, as he passed away on January 31 after complications following a failed trick at the X Games. In 2014, certain his brother was with him, Colten Moore looked up to the sky and held up 3 and 1 with his fingers, signifying his brother’s racing number. He then began a legendary and emotional run that earned him first place in the snowmobile freestyle event. 2017 was not too nice to Colten. Always pushing the boundaries of what hasn’t been done before, both Colten Moore and Heath Frisby attempted to land the first ever double backflip on a snowmobile, but neither succeeded. Moore was closer to finishing, but went too high and over rotated, bouncing him off the sled after massive impact on the landing. Moore was rushed to the hospital on a stretcher and is currently being evaluated. Frisby came out of his failed attempt unscathed physically, but his sled was rendered unusable after it came down hard on the landing, disqualifying him from a second run. So no double backflip this time, but there’s always next year. We’re hoping that Colten Moore is okay and congratulations to Daniel Bodin for taking first place in the best trick competition and ending the X Games on a memorable note.
Watch Colten Moore’s 2014 freestyle run here.
Snowmobile Best Trick results:
Gold – Daniel Bodin
Silver – Brett Turcotte
Bronze – Joe Parsons
And so ends another memorable X Games weekend, bringing with it, as always, some notable and very impressive highlights. I’m a bit bummed I need to wait another whole year until the next games, but it’s always something to look forward to. See you in Aspen in 2018.