Sadowski-Synnott beats Anderson to win slopestyle gold behind her 1080 combo
Anderson’s silver gives her a record-tying 20 X Games medals for her career, a number matched by only Mark McMorris
With young riders like the 20-year-old Zoi Sadowski-Synnott continuing to raise the bar in women’s snowboarding, Jamie Anderson is just happy to still have a spot at the table.
“I’m so proud of myself because I’m 31 and I’m still learning new tricks. I thought I’d be winding down a long time ago,” Anderson said. “I feel like it’s hard to keep up with the young guns, but I’m doing my best. I’m really, really happy to see where women’s snowboarding is and to know I even had a tiny part of it is an honor.”
Anderson overcame a slow start to wind up on another podium, but it wasn’t enough to catch Sadowski-Synnott in the women’s slopestyle snowboard final on Friday morning, the first event of X Games Aspen 2022 at Buttermilk Ski Area.
Anderson, who hails from Tahoe but now lives in Canada, fell on her first two runs but pulled it together in runs three and four. She vaulted up to second place after her third run, which is where she ultimately finished.
Sadowski-Synnott controlled the contest from the start, but it was her second run that led to her second X Games Aspen gold medal. The New Zealand star finished her second run with back-to-back double cork 1080s — one frontside and one backside — a combo new to her and new to women’s slopestyle. Anderson also landed a pair of 10s in her run, but they were not back-to-back.
“I don’t think it’s ever been done before,” the Kiwi said of her 1080 combo. “It’s pretty amazing. I think all of us who are competing here today really have been pushing women’s slopestyle for the last couple of years and I think coming into the Olympics that push has been so much harder and I’m just stoked to be a part of it.”
This was Sadowski-Synnott’s second gold medal in Aspen after she also won in her X Games debut in 2019. She was only an alternate that year and got the start after Anderson pulled out after crashing in training. Her winning run that year featured back-to-back 900s.
Anderson came back to win X Games Aspen slopestyle gold in 2020 and 2021.
The two have clearly established themselves as the best in women’s slopestyle snowboarding.
Sadowski-Synnott will represent New Zealand at the Olympics for the second time next month. She finished 13th in slopestyle at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games while winning Olympic bronze in big air that year.
“This honestly means so much to me because I’ve worked so hard in the last year,” Sadowski-Synnott said. “I definitely see the progression going that way. I know five other girls off the top of my head who are capable of that run and I think it just comes down to the right day.”
For Anderson, the two-time reigning Olympic gold medalist in slopestyle and reigning Olympic silver medalist in big air, Friday’s medal gave her a record-tying 20 in her X Games career, a number matched by only Canada’s Mark McMorris, who competes this weekend in slopestyle and big air.
Anderson will go for the slopestyle three-peat at the Beijing Olympics, a battle that is likely to come down to her and Sadowski-Synnott.
“So impressed with Zoi and happy with her and happy with all the girls,” Anderson said. “I was so grateful to persevere. I’m so inspired that I’m still riding with these young bucks. The level is so high. I was really, really impressed today and I’m so grateful I landed the run I wanted to land and end up in second.”
Winning slopestyle bronze on Friday behind Sadowski-Synnott and Anderson was Canada’s Laurie Blouin, the reigning Olympic silver medalist in slopestyle, while Japanese teen sensation Kokomo Murase was just off the podium in fourth place. Austria’s Anna Gasser was fifth, Australia’s Tess Coady sixth, California’s Hailey Langland seventh and Germany’s Annika Morgan eighth.
Many of these same women will compete in the snowboard big air final at 1:45 p.m. Saturday, including Anderson and Sadowski-Synnott. Anderson won her lone X Games gold medal in big air only last year. Gasser is the reigning Olympic gold medalist in big air.
“This is the last event before the Olympics, so it means a lot to do well here,” Sadowski-Synnott said.