Make way for Morgan |

Make way for Morgan

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Mark Fox/The Aspen Times

No lead is safe when snocross legend Blair Morgan is in the field.

Morgan, the most decorated athlete in the sport, overcame a slow start and an enormous deficit to overtake Levi LaVallee on the final lap of Tuesday’s Winter X Games snocross final. LaVallee took silver and Ross Martin claimed bronze.

The win is Morgan’s unprecedented fifth snocross X Games gold; he trails only Shaun Palmer and Shaun White, who each have six.

“It was kind of handed to me,” said Morgan, the oldest competitor in the field at 30. “Levi was riding a good race; he was way out front. I didn’t think I was going to catch him.”

Morgan was blocked in on the crowded hole shot, and quickly fell to the middle of the 12-sled pack. The veteran continued to battle, however, and knew he had a long race ahead of him to close the gap. On lap 11 of 15 he passed Malinoski, but it looked as if he would have to settle for silver.

Then LaVallee, who led by as much as eight seconds, gave Morgan the window he needed. In addition to losing track of the lap count, LaVallee said he cased the double jump on the 14th lap, which slid his Polaris sled sideways. He was able to recover, but lost valuable time and the lead.

“I’m a little bummed. I had the gold medal, a lap from having it in my hand, and I just made a mistake and handed Blair the gold,” LaVallee said. “I just kind of had a brain fade and I lost. But you can’t be too bummed to be on the podium.”

Morgan, who pointed to the crowd as he flew over the finish line, said this was his sweetest victory.

“I really had to work for this one,” he said.

Aspen, Colorado

Jon Maletz’s email address is

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