Jamie Anderson holds off Laurie Blouin in slopestyle for 17th career X Games podium
Jamie Anderson’s snowboarding goals were and remain relatively humble. The Tahoe legend has racked up an unprecedented amount of podium finishes over her career, but she says that was never the peak she was trying to climb to.
“I just dreamed of having fun and being able to travel and be around my people, because I love the mountains so much and I love the community of snowboarding,” Anderson said Saturday from Buttermilk Ski Area. “Everything else is just a bonus.”
Still, those podiums are worth talking about. The 29-year-old added to her mythos Saturday when she won X Games Aspen gold in women’s snowboard slopestyle, the sixth time she’s won the event in her career. Her first slopestyle win at Buttermilk came in 2007, with wins also in 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2018.
The two-time reigning Olympic slopestyle champion, Anderson’s win Saturday was her 17th career Winter X Games medal between slopestyle and big air contests. This is tied for the second most medals all time with motorsports icon Joe Parsons. Halfpipe snowboarder Shaun White and men’s snowboarding big air and slopestyle star Mark McMorris are tied for the Winter X Games record with 18 medals. (McMorris took silver Saturday night in big air to tie White.)
Including the X Games events in Norway and France, Anderson has found the podium in all 15 slopestyle events she’s competed in, winning silver on seven occasions.
“There is kind of an ebb and flow. Sometimes I feel a lot of pressure because of how long I’ve been in the game and I’ve medaled almost every time I’ve been,” Anderson said. “Sometimes I get a little discouraged of what if I don’t do well, but I just try and do me and enjoy the process and ride the best I can.”
She was on top of her game Saturday. Like nearly every contest at X Games Aspen this winter, the slopestyle competition was a continuous jam session with an “overall impression” format to scoring. Anderson was holding onto third place going into the third of an eventual four runs and delivered with some big tricks that pushed her into first place.
Despite crashing hard on her final run — she appeared shaken up at first but said she was OK — Anderson held off Canada’s Laurie Blouin for the win.
“I knew I wanted to put down one run and I fell on my first run, so when I did put down my more mellow run I decided to just go for it and when it popped me into first I was stoked,” Anderson said. “But I honestly didn’t think it would last. I thought I would need to up it to a (1080), but I’m really happy.”
While Anderson winning was no surprise, Blouin taking second was — mostly because she wasn’t even supposed to compete. Julia Marino, the 2017 slopestyle champion, announced on social media Friday she had broken her wrist and withdrew from Saturday’s competition. This sent Blouin, the alternate who won big air gold in 2019, into the field of eight riders.
“I was third alternate, actually. I was coming in here focusing on big air,” she laughed. “I didn’t have any pressure because I wasn’t sure if I would get in. But when I got in, I was, ‘All right, I’m just going to have fun.’”
Winning bronze Saturday was 15-year-old Japanese sensation Kokomo Murase. California’s Hailey Langland, who won big air gold in 2017 and slopestyle silver in 2019, was just off the podium in fourth place.
Last year’s X Games slopestyle champion Zoi Sadaowski-Synnott of New Zealand was fifth, followed by reigning Olympic big air champ Anna Gasser in sixth, Miyabi Onitsuka in seventh and Finland’s Enni Rukajarvi, who won her lone slopestyle gold back in 2011, in eighth.
Onitsuka, a 21-year-old from Japan, won Thursday’s big air contest for her first X Games medal, holding off Murase and Reira Iwabuchi on the all-Japan podium.
“Such a fun course today. It was so good. The conditions were insane. X Games is always a fun course to ride,” Blouin said of slopestyle. “The speed was harder the last couple of days (in practice). Everyone was struggling. This morning I put in everything I wanted to do and I’m really stoked. It’s probably one of my most progressive slopestyle runs.”
Blouin, a 23-year-old from Quebec who also finished second to Anderson at the 2018 Winter Olympics, was in the lead Saturday before Anderson’s third run sent her over the top. Still, it was Blouin’s first slopestyle medal at X Games. She was fifth in Thursday’s big air contest.
“Yesterday I was like, ‘There is no way I’m getting into slopestyle.’ And this morning I get that news,” Blouin said. “I’m pretty happy about that. I’ve been dreaming about a slopestyle medal at X Games and it just happened.”
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