After sitting out of X Games competition for two years due to injuries, Levi LaVallee returned to form with a come-from-behind gold-medal victory in tonight’s Snowmobile Freestyle Final. The 2008 gold medalist in the event, LaVallee was in second going into his final run, when he landed stretched-out no-handed and kiss of death backflips to edge Joe Parsons by three-tenths of a point.
LaVallee, who jumped a record 412 feet at Red Bull: New Year. No Limits. at the close of 2011, marks his return to X Games Aspen by competing in four Snowmobile events. In addition to Freestyle, he’ll battle in Best Trick, SnoCross and Speed & Style.
Teammate Daniel Bodin, himself a favorite in the Freestyle event, suffered mechanical issues with his sled and crashed at the end of his first run. He was unable to fix it for run two, and finished just off the podium in fourth.
Snowboard Slopestyle Elimination
Mark McMorris, who collected two gold medals at X Games Aspen 2012 in Slopestyle and Big Air, seems to be on track to earn more hardware in 2013 with a number-one finish in Slopestyle Elimination today.
On his first run, his tricks on the upper section of the course included a cab 270 on the down bar, a switch front lip on the close-out, a front blunt 270 on the stair rail, and a boardslide-gap-boardslide to fakie. He lit up the jumps with a cab double cork, frontside 1080 double cork, a double wildcat, and backside 1080 double cork.
McMorris hasn’t been shy about questioning Shaun White’s Slopestyle skills in interviews leading up to X Games, but reports have been circulating that White holds a triple cork 1440 in his pocket, the trick that won McMorris Big Air gold in 2012. We’ll have to see how the burgeoning rivalry plays out in Saturday’s Final, since White made today’s Elimination cut in seventh.
Mark’s Red Bull teammate Seppe Smits also made the cut in fourth; Roope Tonteri and 2011 Slopestyle gold medalist Sebastien Toutant weren’t as fortunate. They finished in ninth and tenth, respectively.
Snowboard SuperPipe Elimination
There’s no denying it, Snowboard SuperPipe is firmly in Shaun White’s wheelhouse -- he’s going for his sixth straight win in 2013. He finished today’s Elimination round in second behind Iouri Podladtchikov, despite the fact that he blasted nearly three feet higher than the rest of the field on his highest air.
The pair finished 1-2 in 2012 and appears to be set for another fierce battle in 2013, with Podladtchikov hinting at a new trick for the Final.
Ski SuperPipe Elimination
After a long recovery from a blown knee at X Games Tignes in March 2012, Simon Dumont squeaked into the SuperPipe Final at X Games Aspen with an eighth-place finish in today’s Elimination round. Noah Bowman squeaked a bit in the wrong direction, just missing the cut in ninth.
Freshly-minted Red Bull family member Torin Yater-Wallace, who already holds SuperPipe silver (2011) and bronze (2012) from X Games Aspen, finished in second just behind 2012 gold medalist David Wise.
Torin’s tricks included a double cork 1260 mute, an alley-oop flatspin 540 critical, rightside 900 tail, left 1080 tail, and a switch rightside 900. He’ll look to round out his medal collection with gold in Friday evening’s Final.
- Get the full X Games Aspen broadcast schedule here
- Check out photos from Wednesday's practice sessions at X Games Aspen
- Red Bull ski and snowboard athletes prep for the 2013 season