X Games rookie Julia Marino beats legend Jamie Anderson to win slopestyle gold
On Julia Marino’s first run Saturday in the women’s snowboard slopestyle final at Buttermilk, she inadvertently landed switch after her first rail, throwing her entire run into chaos.
The X Games Aspen rookie knew if she could just get through those initial series of rails, she would have a chance at the podium.
“The rails were what was worrying me more than the jumps,” Marino said. “That was definitely the most stressful part.”
With no X Games experience to lean on and slopestyle goddess Jamie Anderson standing between her and a gold medal, Marino cruised through the rails on her second run, flew through the jumps and nailed a cab nine double underflip to finish things off.
She scored 94.66 to vault into first place, and after five more riders failed to top her, walked away with her second medal in three days. On Thursday, in her first X Games competition, the 19-year-old from Connecticut took bronze in the women’s big air snowboard competition.
“I came into X Games really excited to be a part of it. I set goals for myself but definitely didn’t think I was going to come away with two medals,” Marino said. “It was definitely nerve-racking up there. Not landing my first run, I was like, ‘I got to put it down in the second run.’”
The eight-person field included a couple of late scratches, the most notable absence being reigning slopestyle gold medalist Spencer O’Brien. Michigan native Karly Shorr, another X Games rookie who found out she was competing only 30 minutes before her first run, came out swinging. The 2014 Olympian landed a solid 55 in her first X Games run, only to have Britain’s Katie Ormerod surpass her with an 80.33 three riders later.
Marino, who went third, scored 19.33 on her first run.
Thursday’s big air gold medalist Hailey Langland had a solid 73.66 on her first run, but one rider later Anderson, a four-time X Games slopestyle gold medalist, finished out the first round with a 91.33, easily sending her to the top of the standings.
“I’ve known of Jamie since I started getting into snowboarding. I always saw her riding and always wanted to compete with her and beside her,” Marino said. “This was my dream, and this year I’ve been competing with her in almost every contest.”
Needing something special to top Anderson’s first run, Marino left it all on the course, her 94.66 putting her ahead of her idol, at least temporarily. She still had to wait through five more second runs, including Ormerod, three-time gold medalist Silje Norendal, Thursday’s big air silver medalist Anna Gasser, Langland and one more from Anderson.
Anderson was the only rider to make it interesting, scoring 89.33 in her second run. Since last winning slopestyle gold in 2013, Anderson now has four straight Aspen silvers, including 2017.
Marino, who has big air wins on the U.S. Revolution Tour and at Big Air Fenway in Boston last year, joined Langland on a short list of American females who look to make the U.S. a major factor in women’s snowboarding for years to come with their recent medals.
“We all have different styles, too, which is really cool,” Marino said of her U.S. teammates. “We are not exactly like each other and we all push the sport.”
Ormerod’s first run was enough for bronze, with Langland coming just short of the podium in fourth place.
In the men’s ski slopestyle final Saturday morning, Norway’s Oystein Braaten overcame an 8.66 on his first run to win gold with a 94.33 in his second. It was only his second X Games medal after taking bronze in slopestyle in 2016.
Park City’s McRae Williams took silver with the 93.33 he scored on his first run. It is Williams’ third X Games medal after taking gold at Tignes 2013 and silver at Aspen 2014. Canada’s Alex Beaulieu-Marchand was third Saturday with 92.
Late Friday, Canada’s Max Parrot won gold in the men’s snowboard big air final, his fourth X Games gold medal. He also won big air gold in 2014 and 2016, as well as slopestyle gold in 2014. Marcus Kleveland took silver Friday, and Mark McMorris bronze.
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