Big air, big night: Sadowski-Synnott edges Anderson; Park City skier spins to win
Getting that little extra push just before the Winter Olympics, Jamie Anderson and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott went board-to-board again Saturday on the big air jump at Buttermilk, with the same result as the day before on the X Games Aspen slopestyle course.
Sadowski-Synnott, the 20 year old from New Zealand, didn’t hold back and won her second gold of the weekend after stomping a 1260 (3.5 times around with backside rotation) Saturday on her third run to take the lead from Anderson. Just after that, there was Japanese rider Miyabi Onitsuka who threw a 1260 in her final run and landed it but had to really hang on to ride out the landing to win bronze.
The veteran Anderson said the two jumps pushed her to get out of her comfort zone with some “in the moment inspiration.” On the event’s final run she was compelled to try a 1260 for the first time ever. She didn’t land it like the other riders, but it gave Anderson, who now has a record 21 X Games medals after taking silver, some food for thought before heading to Beijing.
“That was my first time,” the 31-year-old Anderson said of the 1260. “The girls inspired me. I didn’t really want to not try it on the perfect jump on the perfect day. Zoi really gave me a run for my money, so I thought maybe I can do it, but I need a little more practice. … Maybe if the jumps are good in Beijing I’ll be able to give it another shot.”
Anderson, who is the two-time reigning Olympic gold medalist in slopestyle, won silver in big air’s Olympic debut in 2018. She was second to Austrian Anna Gasser, who dropped out of Saturday’s X Games event after finishing fifth Friday in slopestyle.
Sadowski-Synnott double-gold weekend gives her a lift heading to the Olympics and completes her X Games big air medal collection after winning bronze in 2019 and silver in 2021.
“Coming into today I just wanted to land that back 12,” she said. “I’m just stoked to be out here and everyone is pushing everyone.”
Rounding out the five-woman field was Japan’s Kokomo Murase and Canadian Laurie Blouin. Also dropping from Saturday’s big air was American Julia Marino.
Park City rider makes heads spin
Alex Hall and crew of young freeskiers used Saturday night as a sneak peek of what to expect when skiing big air makes its Olympic debut, and they will have people’s head spinning.
Hall, who hails from Park City, went spinning into the Aspen night and dropped a clean 2160 — yes, six full rotations — on his final trip of six off the kicker to jump into first place. For Hall, it was a move that wasn’t in his head coming in, but got him to the top of the X Games podium after finishing third here last year.
“Everyone just landed the same tricks and it came down to that last jump so I just figured I’d try (it),” Hall said in his post-event interview. “I actually came into the event wanting to do some other tricks and everyone just went off so hard so I just tried to match them. It was super fun.”
Vermont’s Mac Forehand made his X Games debut and the 20-year-old built on his runs and his last two were clean enough to earn him silver, with Canadian Teal Harle finishing third.
Austrian teenager Matej Svancer has been on fire this season, as the X Games rookie previously won October’s World Cup event in Switzerland and then the Steamboat World Cup in December. But with a level of competition at a frenzy in the jam session, the 17-year-old finished fifth.
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