Gold medalist Mark McMorris is right at home at Winter X Games
The Aspen Times
Canadian Mark McMorris is right at home in Aspen — again.
McMorris won his second gold medal of the 2015 Winter X Games when he uncorked a dazzling second run in the Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle competition Sunday afternoon.
McMorris, who won the Snowboard Big Air event Friday, used a huge second run on the slopestyle course at Buttermilk to collect gold. The 2013 Winter X gold medalist, McMorris won silver in slopestyle last year in Aspen.
The 21-year-old Canadian rider joined Shaun White in Winter X snowboard history as the only X double gold medalists in the same games.
White accomplished the feat three times.
McMorris has now done it twice — in 2012 and 2015.
“To be honest, I was pretty nervous going into my second run,” McMorris said after collecting his eighth Winter X medal.
“Big Air took a toll on my body, and then I got kind of sick yesterday. To win again feels amazing. I’m extremely happy. This is so cool,” he said after a narrow and somewhat controversial victory over Norwegian Stale Sandbech, who won the silver medal.
Sandbech totaled a 95.00 on his first run to move into position to win back-to-back golds in Aspen.
But McMorris’ second run was scored a 96.00 by the judges to give him another gold medal, relegating Sandbech to silver.
Sven Thorgren, 20, of Sweden, won bronze.
Thorgren made history with his medal Sunday, becoming the first Swedish male athlete to win a Winter X Games medal.
Sandbech said the warmer conditions Sunday under brilliant sunshine at Buttermilk softened the slopestyle course somewhat, particularly in the landing area for the third and final jump.
Sage Kotsenburg, of Park City, Utah, and Nik Baden, of Steamboat Springs, were the only U.S. riders in the field.
Kotsenburg, the Olympic gold medalist from the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, finished fifth. Baden was eighth.
Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle
The final morning of Winter X 2015 in Aspen started with drama and carnage in the Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle.
Flat light and difficult visibility made for tough working conditions in the slopestyle course, which started with technical rails and then featured three big jumps.
Three of the eight finalists fell on the first of three runs.
Four of the eight fell on the second run.
Then, just in time for late dramatics, the sun came out.
Olympic champion and 2013 Winter X Games gold medalist Jamie Anderson, of South Lake Tahoe, California, set the benchmark when she posted a 91.33 score from the judges on her second (and sunny) run.
Her score held until the last rider of the competition.
Defending X Games champion Silje Norendal, of Oslo, Norway, put together a pressure-packed and spotless final run, earning a 93.66 to repeat as the gold medalist in Aspen.
Three times, Norendal has medaled in Aspen.
Three times, Norendal has won gold.
Anderson, who won the event at Buttermilk in 2013, collected the silver medal.
The bronze was awarded to Christy Prior, of New Zealand, an X Games rookie. The yoga instructor and professional snowboarder used a stylish final run to reach the podium.
Judges rewarded her with an 89.33 and a bronze medal.
Canada’s Spencer O’Brien was fourth in spite of executing a 900 trick for the first time ever in the Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle.
“My rails were pretty good,” Norendal said of her winning score.
Asked about the pressure of being the defending champion in the event, Norendal said, “I tried not to think about it all week.”
She also said that with three jumps in the course instead of the four like last year helped challenge the competitors to go big.
Ski Big Air
In the late-night Ski Big Air event from Saturday, 21-year-old Vincent Gagnier, of Canada, won gold.
Bobby Brown, 23, of Breckenridge, finished second. He had finished fourth in the Men’s Ski Slopestyle earlier in the X Games.
Elias Ambhul, 22, was third. The Swiss skier won his third Winter X Games bronze.