Knuckle huck champ and X Games rookie Colby Stevenson wins ski slopestyle gold

Colby Stevenson was mortal when he woke up Saturday morning. He and fellow X Games Aspen competitor Evan McEachran opted for public transportation after Stevenson gave his Buttermilk parking pass to his mother, but after Saturday’s men’s ski slopestyle competition, maybe ESPN will give him a couple more passes next year.

That’s because the 22-year-old from Park City, Utah, is officially a superstar.

“It’s funny, Evan and I, we started the day out at the economy lot in Snowmass and rode the bus in, just him and I. We are like, ‘We must be the only athletes parking out here,’” Stevenson said. “So for us to go back and forth the whole competition — that was pretty cool. We are really good buddies. We’ve been hanging out all week. It’s unreal. We are both on top of the podium.”

It was Stevenson, an X Games rookie, who narrowly bested McEachran, a 22-year-old X Games veteran from Canada, in Saturday’s competition. Switzerland’s Fabian Boesch, a two-time big air medalist, won bronze for his first slopestyle medal at X Games. The new competition format was a 45-minute jam session where athletes were ranked on overall impression.

Stevenson announced himself to the world on Thursday when he won the inaugural ski knuckle huck contest, edging fan favorite Henrik Harlaut, who won big air gold on Friday but did not qualify for Saturday’s slopestyle final.

“It’s insane. Colby may be a rookie to X Games this year, but to all of us skiers he’s been the greatest skier in the world for the past couple of years,” McEachran said. “He’s the most talented, hard-working guy. Nobody deserves it more than him. He’s been through a lot and to see him put it down today, it’s just amazing.”

Stevenson said he wasn’t nervous coming in. Fellow Park City skier Alex Hall, who won his first slopestyle gold last year, told him X Games wasn’t quite as intense as it was shown to be on television. Plus, winning knuckle huck on Thursday took some of that edge off, as well.

“I really wanted to win knuckle huck, so to do that boosted my confidence for sure. It got me really excited for slopestyle,” Stevenson said. “I was feeling less pressure just because I had nothing to lose. I’m here to prove myself and prove why I should have been invited years ago. I just was excited. I wanted to show people what I could do.”

It also was the first X Games medal for McEachran, who was eighth in Friday’s big air final. His best previous slopestyle finish had been eighth in 2017 in both Aspen and Norway. He was 11th in 2019.

Finishing fourth in slopestyle Saturday was Switzerland’s Andre Ragettli and fifth Canada’s Alex Beaulieu-Marchand. Hall was sixth in defense of his 2019 gold, while Indiana’s Nick Goepper was seventh and Norway’s Ferdinand Dahl was eighth.

“I’ve been to Aspen probably five times now, and it’s gotten away from me every time,” McEachran said of his first X Games medal. “So to put it down in the new format today and ski consistent like I did, I’m blown away. I blew my mind today. I’m very happy to see Colby Stevenson, one of my best friends, end up on top. I could not be happier.”