X Games: Canadians control skier X in Aspen | AspenTimes.com

X Games: Canadians control skier X in Aspen

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Marielle Thompson of Canada leads the first semifinal in women's skier X Saturday afternoon at the Winter X Games. Thompson won the silver medal with Canadian Kelsey Serwa taking gold.
Jeremy Wallace / The Aspen Times |

The nation of Canada celebrated the return of skier X to the Winter X Games in Aspen on Saturday afternoon.

Canadian skiers won both the women’s and men’s skier X (also known as ski cross) elimination races just as the weather started to change with afternoon showers at the top of the course at Buttermilk.

Kelsey Serwa, who won Winter X gold in Aspen in 2011, charged back onto the top of the podium, winning the 2016 title.

The 26-year-old from British Columbia edged fellow Canadian and Olympic ski cross gold medalist Marielle Thompson, who won the silver medal. Thompson is from Whistler.

Thompson’s brother is an alpine ski racer on the Canadian national team.

France’s Alizee Baron won the bronze medal.

Six skiers advanced to the finals from heat races earlier Saturday.

“I’m most happy … that I landed on my feet and finished,” Serwa said. “With changing conditions, you have to adjust on the fly.”

Warm daytime weather raised the temperature of the surface snow. And then as light snow started to fall, the ski cross racers made their final runs.

Canadian Brady Leman won in the tense men’s skier X final.

He had won his quarterfinal and semifinal heats to reach the final.

Leman led the championship heat from the start, taking over after the first set of features.

While he led, the rest of the field battled back and forth, trading the advantage.

Bastien Midol raced across in second place.

Chris Del Bosco, the ski cross veteran who won the last Winter X Games skier X in 2012, charged back to win the bronze medal.

Leman, 29, previously won bronze in Aspen in 2011.

“I was more relaxed and focused. That gave me more confidence this year,” the Calgary skier said. “Three perfect starts.”

His early position was key, he said.

“It’s huge. I … dreamed of ski cross in the X Games. … It’s huge,” Leman said.

The consolation round in the men’s skier X featured crashes and mishaps from the start, but no one was injured in the skicross mayhem.