ASPEN - David Wise can keep that smile on.
The 22 year-old was caught sharing a few laughs during competition at the top of the superpipe on Buttermilk during the men's skiing final, and he had good reason to be happy.
He landed back-to-back double corks in both his first and second runs to separate himself from the field. Wise's second run yielded a 95.66 and sealed the victory for his second straight gold medal at the Winter X Games. Wise, from Reno, Nev., jumped higher out of the pipe than any other competitor and outlasted Basalt pipe phenom Torin Yater-Wallace, who tried every trick he had to catch Wise. Yater-Wallace finished in second with a third-run score of 93.
"It's just as hard to win twice as it is once," Wise said. "I feel like I had it in the bag before Torin dropped in for his first run, and then I watched him break out that new double that he hasn't done in six months. I started to get a little bit nervous."
Yater-Wallace's first run was nearly flawless as he soared 17 feet out of the pipe with a rightside double-cork 1260. He landed his next four jumps to claim the lead with a 90.
That was impressive until Wise took to the pipe moments later.
Wise averaged more than 16 feet of air out of the pipe during his turn - about 31⁄2 feet more than Yater-Walllace. His run featured a rightside 720, a switch double-cork 1080, back-to-back double cork 1260s and an alley-oop flatspin 540. Wise was awarded with a 94.33 to take the lead.
"In the first run, that's the most nerves you have," he said. "It's hard to do everything flawlessly because there's so much pressure on you."
In the second round, it was apparent that the competition was a two-person battle for the gold, as no other competitor could exceed an 85.
Yater-Wallace's second run was clean again, landing a right-side double-cork 1260, an alley-oop double flatspin 900, a right-side 900 double tail grab, a left-side 1080 and a switch rightside 900. Yater-Wallace improved his score by two points and was still in second.
But again, Wise soared higher.
The 22 year-old, who is married with a 1-year-old child, put together another run averaging more that 171⁄2 feet and was capped by a 20-foot alley-oop flatspin 540. He improved his score with a 95.66.
with an 85.66 on his final run.
Dumont, 26, a six-time X Games gold medalist, including two golds in 2004 and 2005, claimed the bronze.
In Yater-Wallace's final run, he tried some new tricks that he learned during the summer, and it produced just a 93.
The silver is Yater-Wallace's second and third medal overall. Going in to his third X Games, Yater-Wallace was rehabbing from shoulder surgery in September and was on skis for only a little more than a month.
"I haven't skied in a while. Just getting back feels great,"Yater-Wallace said. "I wasn't expecting much. In my mind, I'm pretty competitive. I put the pressure on myself, and it worked."
"I just went with it with the tricks I have. I went for a double flatspin down the pipe instead of an alley-oop on my third hit. I haven't done that trick since six months ago. I don't even remember doing it, but I landed it."
It was to no avail, however, as his run produced a 93, and Wise took a victory lap with the gold secure.
"I just tried to hold my grabs a little longer, go a little higher and clean my run up the way I wanted to do it," Wise said. "That's a run I've had in mind for the past six months now. I thought if I do that well and land it here, it would be tough to beat. I was stoked to be able to pull it off."
Simon Dumont, a two-time X Games gold medalist in 2004 and 2005, had perhaps the most intriguing story of the night. The 26 year-old from Bethel, Maine, competed with a combined 11 screws in both of his wrists after having surgery in December. Doctors told him he couldn't use poles, so he skied through the pipe without them.
No matter - Dumont landed a leftside double-cork 1260 and connected it into a right-side 900. He connected all his other jumps, and judges awarded him