Joe Parsons takes the backward approach in snowmobile freestyle | AspenTimes.com

Joe Parsons takes the backward approach in snowmobile freestyle

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

Joe Parsons kept waiting and waiting for Colten Moore to ride his snowmobile to the top of the Winter X Games podium.

He's still waiting.

Parsons, a Winter X Games veteran with 14 previous medals, won gold Friday night in the snowmobile freestyle at Buttermilk Mountain.

Riding in front of a large and energetic crowd, the 28-year-old from Yakima, Washington, used a flamboyant first run to post a benchmark score of 90 from the team of judges.

Moore, the reigning king of snowmobile freestyle and the favorite, crashed on his opening run when he came up short on a jump and was twisted off his snow machine.

"I was just waiting for Colten to come along and win," Parsons said. "He's an amazing rider."

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And Moore indicated he was ready for a second-run challenge for gold after his crew worked on his snowmobile after his first-run crash.

"I wasn't … ready for (the jump)," Moore said. "I came in a little nose-heavy. Thank goodness the snow is forgiving."

With Parson still leading with his 90, Moore started his second run only to crash on the same jump when his machine landed almost on its side, hushing the crowd momentarily.

No gold this time.

Instead, Parsons collected gold, adding to his five silver medals in the Winter X Games. He last won the event in Aspen in 2009.

"I just came out and I didn't play it safe," Parsons said after landing the most dramatic trick of the competition.

He executed a back flip with a backward landing when he turned in the air and dropped blindly to the snow with his back to the front of the machine.

The crowd was stunned.

The judges were ecstatic.

"I've done (the backward landing) here and there," Parsons said. "You really have to get hyped up to do it."

He broke out the trick for the first time this year, he said.

"It's not that much fun to practice," Parsons said. "It's an in-the-moment thing."

Friday night was Parson's X Games moment.

Heath Frisby of Middleton, Idaho, won the silver medal Friday night. His high score of 87 was posted on his first run.

The bronze medal this year went to X Games rookie Brett Yurcotte of Kamloops, British Columbia.

Snowmobiling legend Levi LaVallee was scheduled to compete but sustained an injury in snowmobile snocross Thursday and was forced out of the competition.

Alternate Rasmus Johnsson of Sweden stepped in for his first Winter X Games event.

dstrode@aspentimes.com

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