The final day of Winter X Games 15 was the sickest yet, with Shaun White, Sebastien Toutant, Daniel Bodin and Enni Rukajärvi all pocketing gold medals to close out the event with one hell of a bang. Toutant’s good friend Mark McMorris joined him on the Slopestyle podium for a silver medal, and White proved once again that he’s the king of the pipe.
Red Bull’s Medal Rundown for Sunday at WXG
- Gold in Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle: Enni Rukajärvi
- Gold in Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle: Sebastien Toutant
- Gold in Snowmobile Best Trick: Daniel Bodin
- Gold in Snowboard SuperPipe: Shaun White
- Silver in Snowboard Slopestyle: Mark McMorris
Enni Rukajärvi, the Giant Killer
Coming into WXG, discussions of the women’s snowboard slopestyle event revolved around two-time defending gold medalist Jenny Jones and the ultra-consistent and past gold-medalist Jamie Anderson. Both riders posted the highest scores in the run 1 round and weren’t topped by any rider in the run 2 round, either. It looked like they’d be collecting the top podium spots – until a quiet, unassuming rider from Finland dropped in for her third run and changed the game.
It’s not that Enni Rukajärvi is unknown – she’s a major player on the international circuit, racking up plenty of wins in the 2010 season and now in the 2011 season – it’s just that she hasn’t yet become that familiar outside of snowboarding circles. Of course, scoring gold at Winter X will change all that.
Taking out riders like Anderson and Jones is no easy task, but Enni’s solid, confident spins and progressive tricks in the rail section put her on top with authority. Her third run featured a backside 360 tailgrab, a frontside 360 indy, a backside 540 indy and a Cab 720.
As for her expectations for her first WXG, she kept it pretty low key. “I just wanted to land my run and have fun,” she said after the event. “I’m so surprised.” We’re pretty sure the rest of the field was too…
Ruling Rookies: Sebastien Toutant and Mark McMorris
Sebastien Toutant proved that his top finish in the men’s snowboard Slopestyle Elimination round was no fluke, charging through the course to a gold medal win in Sunday’s Final, adding to the Big Air silver he earned on Friday. Seb has been slaying the international scene for some time now, and he made sure to set the tone in his first WXG appearance by dominating from start to finish.
Seb brought the full package with him to WXG, packing tech rail tricks and spins, big air and stomped landings on every feature. He dropped 270 boardslide combos on the upper hits and three doubles on the lower ones - a Cab double cork 1260, a frontside double cork 1080 and backside double cork 1080.
When we talked to Sebastien about riding with his friend Mark McMorris earlier in the week, he commented that the two motivate each other so much that they often help put the other on the podium when they compete together at big air and slopestyle events around the world. “Sometimes it’s both of us," he said. "Hopefully that will happen here."
He was certainly on the mark in Aspen. McMorris finished just behind Toutant for a silver medal, spinning a Cab double cork 900, a frontside 1080 and a backside double cork 1080. Mark, 17, and Seb, 18, are already establishing themselves as major players in snowboarding competition, with a lot more to come.
Daniel Bodin Scores Second Gold
With the gold medal for Snowmobile Freestyle already in the bag, Daniel Bodin headed into Sunday night’s Best Trick Final with killer momentum. He took advantage of it, throwing the first-ever double grab backflip to put another gold medal in his carry-on bag back to Sweden.
Bodin obviously benefitted from his recent add to Team LaVallee, training at the LaVallee compound with tips from Levi himself. Levi was injured while practicing for Red Bull: New Year. No Limits. and was forced to withdraw from WXG, so he turned to Daniel to represent in his place.
“Once I got hurt, I knew I had to find someone to fill my spot,” said Levi. “Fortunately Daniel was available and excited about it. The first thing he asked was, ‘When can I come to your place and get into that foam pit?’ I couldn’t be happier for the guy; all that hard work he put in definitely paid off; he went out and killed it this weekend.”
Shaun White Faces the Challenge – and Wins Again
The Snowboard SuperPipe Final at WXG 15 went down the way you want every contest to go down, with almost every rider stomping at least one run, ending with their fists in the air and sending an electric vibe through the crowd.
Rider after rider delivered wild moves, and after the first runs, Scotty Lago sat on top of the standings ahead of Shaun in second. Both of their first runs were amazing, so many were wondering if they could be topped. White removed all doubt in run two, nailing his double McTwist 1260 and frontside and Cab double cork 1080s to close the door on Lago’s gold-medal hopes.
It was Shaun’s 11th WXG gold medal and his fourth consecutive SuperPipe win. Even with all the victories under his belt, Shaun was still ecstatic to win this one, and let everyone know that he’d be back to battle for the top of the Slopestyle discipline as well in 2012.
So closes the 15th edition of the Winter X Games, with Red Bull athletes hauling home a total of 12 medals: 6 golds, 4 silvers and 2 bronze. They’re now off to shred at other contests, filming missions and backcountry powder sessions all around the world, living the dream in the best snow they can find.