X Games notes: Harlaut wins ski Big Air, Matechuk snow bikecross | AspenTimes.com

X Games notes: Harlaut wins ski Big Air, Matechuk snow bikecross

Staff report
Cody Matechuck competing in the finals for the snow bikecross at X Games on Saturday. Matechuck took first with a time of 11:42.981.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

Crowd favorite Henrik Harlaut gets gold in ski big air

Henrik Harlaut catapulted himself back on top Saturday night and unseated reigning X Games Aspen ski Big Air champ James Woods.

Harlaut captured his fifth Big Air gold, setting himself up for success on his first hit by throwing down a huge switch triple cork 1440, which earned him a 43 out of 50 from the judges.

“Maybe the nicest trick I’ve ever done on a jump was my first hit,” Harlaut said. “I’ve been working all summer and been thinking about that switch right tre bomb for a long time and that was the first time I ever tried it and it worked out and I’m so, so insanely stoked.”

The competition was a show of international skill with four Norwegian in the eight-man field, two from Switzerland, one each from Sweden and Great Britain. The lone American on the early starting list, Denver’s Bobby Brown, withdrew from the competition in the morning.

The format for the event this year was a 25-minute jam session where the skiers could do as many tricks as possible in the time allowed, and each was able to get in five runs.

Taking silver was Oystein Braaten, who is also competing Sunday in slopestyle. Rounding out the podium was Woods, who had a chance to take the lead from Harlut on his final trick but wasn’t enough to take the top spot.

Matechuk moved up podium in snow bikecross

After claiming bronze last year in the inaugural snow bikecross at X Games, Cody Matechuk returned to Aspen and claimed gold Saturday, winning just ahead of the defending champ.

Matechuk had the fastest time in qualifying and was able to hold that speed to take a commanding lead from the start of the finals and stay in the top spot for the entire race.

Defending gold medalist Brock Hoyer had to settle for silver Saturday as he was almost 5 seconds behind his fellow Canadian and unable to capitalize on lap 12 when Matechuk went down on a turn. Matechuk was able to keep his bike from stalling, kept his composure and quickly got back in the saddle to stay out front.

Rounding out the podium was Wisconsin rider Kody Kamm, who overtook Darrin Mees on lap 8 to take third.

Although the event is only in its second year at X Games Aspen, snow bikecross amassed a dedicated following, drawing some of the largest crowds at Buttermilk so far this weekend.