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Forehand lands 2160, earns perfect score and a gold medal in men’s ski big air

Mac Forehand went into the men’s ski big air competition Sunday evening with one goal: landing the 2160. Going into his fifth run, it looked like he was going to win a silver medal just like he did in 2022.

However, everything changed for him when he landed the 2160 in his fifth run, earning a perfect score and a gold medal.

“I’ve been thinking about it for so long and to put it down means the world. I’m honestly speechless,” he said.

Forehand, out of Stratton, Vermont, nearly got a taste of the gold medal in his rookie year in 2022, but Alex Hall’s 2160 in the fifth run knocked Forehand into second place.

“I was stoked for him. He’s an insane skier,” he said of Hall, who placed seventh in this year’s big air competition.

Forehand scored a 47 in his second run, which combined with the 50 from his last run earned him a score of 97. In four out of five of his runs, he scored above a 40.

Despite having never tried landing a 2160 before, he decided to give it a go in his fourth run.

“That was my first time trying it,” he said. “I was extremely nervous.”

Even though he didn’t quite stick the landing on his first try, his second try all but made up for it and earned him the only perfect score of the men’s ski big air competition.

Forehand won the silver medal in men’s ski slopestyle on Saturday, which he described as “stress relief off his shoulders.” He said he went into the big air competition not caring how he placed, just wanting to do well and land his tricks.

“I didn’t expect to be sitting here right now with a gold medal around my neck. It feels crazy,” Forehand said.

Low scores were not an option for any athletes looking to medal. Canada’s Teal Harle, who won the bronze medal in 2022, was in first place after the first four runs with a strong score of 96. Birk Ruud, from Oslo, Norway, earned the bronze medal with a score of 92.

Alex Hall competes in the men’s big air ski event at X Games Aspen on Sunday. (Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times)
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
Matej Svancer slides down the slope after falling after his run in the men’s big air ski event. (Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times)
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
Birk Ruud reacts after his run in the men’s big air ski event at X Games Aspen on Sunday. (Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times)
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Japan’s Iwabuchi lands triple underfoot to make women’s big air history

Under the lights at the women’s snowboard big air final, Japan’s Reira Iwabuchi made history as the first female to land a triple underfoot in competition. The history-making trick brought about her first X Games gold medal.

After a low-scoring first run, she turned things around quickly. A clean backside 1260 in her second run earned her a 40, and she followed it with a triple underfoot in her third run that earned her a 47.

Her combined score of 87 was just enough to edge out defending gold medalist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, who won the silver medal with a score of 86.

Canada’s Laurie Blouin won the bronze medal, her first time on the podium since her debut in 2019.

Iwabuchi’s X Games debut was in 2018, where she won silver in the big air competition. The last time she medaled in big air was 2020, earning bronze.

She also competed in women’s snowboard slopestyle, where she was just shy of the podium in fourth place.

Just shy of the podium, Japan’s Mari Fukada finished in fourth place in her X Games debut.

Men’s snowboard big air

For the third year in a row, Norway’s Marcus Kleveland took home the gold medal in men’s snowboard big air.

He got off to a dominant start, scoring a 49 out of 50 on his first run. In his third run, he scored a 47.

It looked like his combined score of 96 was going to be unmatched until Japan’s Takeru Otsuka scored a 49 in his fourth run and followed it up with a 41 in his fifth. Otsuka took home the silver medal with a score of 90.

In his X Games debut, China’s Yiming Su earned a high score of 48 in his final run and won the bronze medal. He was the 2022 Winter Olympics gold medalist in snowboard big air.

Saturday’s gold medal brings Kleveland’s X Games medal count up to 11, with seven of them gold. He’s scheduled to compete in snowboard knuckle huck and men’s snowboard slopestyle on Sunday.

In his sixth X Games appearance, Colorado native Chris Corning finished in seventh place.

Shilts, Roisland take gold for the second year in a row at Special Olympics Unified event

Snow started coming down as Special Olympic athlete Daina Shilts secured her third-straight Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding gold medal — her second gold with partner Mons Roisland, who will also compete in snowboard slopestyle on Sunday.

“It was amazing,” Shilts said at the bottom of the course after winning. “To have gold with him a second time is so cool.”

She and Roisland had the lead after the first round, clocking 29.506 seconds as their combined time. They were able to cut their combined time down by just under a second, securing the gold medal in 29.405.

Catherine Darrow and Elizabeth Hosking finished second, with a combined time of 30.246. Henry Meece and Aspen local Chris Klug, himself an Olympic snowboarder, finished in third, just .001 seconds behind Darrow and Hosking.

For the Special Olympics Unified Skiing and Snowboarding, teams are comprised of one professional action sports athlete and one Special Olympics action sport athlete. Each team member takes one run on each of two competition courses, with professional athletes racing against one another and Special Olympics athletes racing one another. Results are determined using the combined best times of each team. There were six 2-person teams for both skiing and snowboarding.

Special Olympics Unified Skiing

On the skiing side of the competition, Basalt’s Hanna Faulhaber and her partner Haldan Pranger took first place with a combined time of 26.305.

“Third time’s the charm for sure,” Pranger said after the race.

Faulhaber, a halfpipe skier, said she couldn’t have done it without the pointers she got from him.

“It’s all him,” she said.

They took their lead in the first round and were able to maintain it in the second round to secure the gold medal.

Luca Vernano and Nico Porteous took silver with a combined time of 17.020, and Tanner Jadwin and David Wise took home the bronze.

Yung Gravy, who will be performing at 7 p.m. on Saturday, competed in the Special Olympics with Oceane Gendre. Gravy is the first X Games artist to compete in the Special Olympics Unified Skiing event. Even though the team finished last, there was no shortage of smiles when they were done.

“I didn’t even know I was competing until about an hour ago,” he said after his first lap.

Palmer Lyons, who took home the gold last year, partnered up with X Games co-host Victoria Arlen, and together they got fourth place, with a combined time of 29.161.