Six years after last X Games win, Goepper returns to top of ski slopestyle podium |

Six years after last X Games win, Goepper returns to top of ski slopestyle podium

Nick Goepper once dominated the X Games Aspen slopestyle competition. The freeskier from Indiana won the contest three consecutive years starting in 2013, but has hardly been a factor since then on the Buttermilk course.

Doubt may have settled in a little bit, but after getting married and continuing to hone his craft, the 26-year-old Goepper proved Sunday he’s very much still one of the world’s best by winning his fourth X Games gold medal in men’s ski slopestyle.

“It feels incredible,” he said. “It’s validating, especially from all the hard work I’ve been putting in. After a few years and a little self doubt started to creep in, I feel better, my body feels great, my mind is sharp and I’m stoked to just keep it going and represent for the over-25 crowd.”

The two-time Olympic medalist first competed at X Games in 2012, when he won the first of two career silver medals. His other silver came in the Norway 2017 competition. But in Aspen, his results since that 2015 win were 11th (2016), 11th (2017), seventh (2018), eighth (2019) and seventh (2020).

He took the lead after a single run in Sunday’s competition at X Games Aspen 2021 and found no one who could knock him off that top spot on a challenging course en route to a sixth career X Games medal.

“Some of our best tricks were kind of tough to throw on some of the features, including the quarterpipes, but you just had to adapt,” Goepper said. “The whole week was exhausting physically. We got so many repetitions on the course and I think with the format we were going to get four runs and it’s a long, challenging course. I think physical stamina played a role today and just being able to really trust your body to get you down the course. I just tried to spend my energy wisely.”

X Games 2021 men’s ski slopestyle gold medalist Nick Goepper and his wife Lizzy Goepper share a moment after the finals at the base of the course at Buttermilk on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. “I’m on Cloud 9,” said Lizzy about her husband’s gold medal. “He’s worked so hard this year. He deserved this more than anyone I know.” (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Norway’s Ferdinand Dahl won silver and Canada’s Evan McEachran bronze. It was Dahl’s second career X Games medal, his other being a bronze from Aspen 2019. McEachran, who first competed at X Games in 2015, won his second career X Games medal, and both have come in the past two seasons. He won slopestyle silver a year ago in Aspen.

Finishing just off the podium in fourth on Sunday was Canada’s Alex Beaulieu-Marchand, followed in fifth by Switzerland’s Andri Ragettli and in sixth by Park City’s Alex Hall. Colby Stevenson, also of Park City, finished seventh this year after winning slopestyle and ski knuckle huck in his X Games debut a year ago. Switzerland’s Fabian Boesch (eighth), England’s James Woods (ninth) and Montana’s Quinn Wolferman (10th) rounded out the results.

Freestyle skier Nick Goepper practices on the second big jump on the slopestyle course before finals at X Games 2021 at Buttermilk on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

“It feels amazing. Obviously we didn’t have too many contests since last year’s X Games, so I kind of came in here not really knowing what to think or what to expect,” McEachran said of back-to-back podiums. “But I just got here and put that out of my mind and skied the best I could and tried to manage the course. It feels really good to get on the podium here two years in a row and add another one to the start of the collection.”

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