Mark McMorris came into X Games Aspen 2013 under a spotlight, which was natural considering he had left Aspen in 2012 with two gold medals, clinching the top spots in both Big Air and Slopestyle. In the face of intense media scrutiny, it’s safe to say now that the kid has come through.
McMorris stood on the Big Air podium on Friday with a silver medal, finishing just behind his buddy Torstein Horgmo, who had unleashed a first-ever switch backside triple cork 1440. And to say that Mark held up under pressure in Saturday’s Slopestyle Final would be an understatement. He was untouchable, posting the highest score ever recorded in the history of the event at X Games.
In a Final that saw three competitors land the backside triple cork 1440 for the first time ever in Slopestyle competition, McMorris rose even higher, adding a cab double cork 1260 to his third run, jumping his score from 94.66 to 98.00. Thing is, he didn’t even need to take the run -- it was a victory lap. Many others would have cruised down the hill, but Mark wanted the cab 12 for himself.
“I came here to do the cab 12 and I just felt like it needed to be done,” McMorris told X Games. “The course was too good not to do that run.”
McMo’s Red Bull teammate Seppe Smits -- who landed his own triple cork -- finished with a bronze medal. The Belgian had just missed Friday’s Big Air podium in fourth.
Snowmobile Speed & Style
Levi LaVallee is doing his best to make his two-year absence from X Games Aspen a distant memory. He finished his first of four snowmobile events this weekend with a gold medal around his neck, besting his competitors in Freestyle.
Event number two went down today, and once again, LaVallee earned the gold, handling Cory Davis in the Speed & Style Final with relative ease. Despite Davis posting the fastest time in qualifying, LaVallee blasted into the lead from the start and never let up, taking away all doubt with some of the huge tricks he had delivered in the Freestyle event.
Sunday will be busy for LaVallee, with SnoCross and Best Trick still left on his dance card.
Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle
Czech snowboarder Sarka Pancochova joined McMorris and LaVallee in the medal club on Saturday, earning her first piece of X Games hardware by taking silver behind Jamie Anderson. Going into her final run, Sarka was sitting in eighth but was able to stomp a clean backside 720 to shoot to the podium. Finland’s Enni Rukajärvi, the 2012 silver medalist, finished just off the podium in fourth.
Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe
The excitement level shot up early in the Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe event, with Elena Hight landing a first-ever trick in SuperPipe competition, the alley-oop double rodeo. She held on to the gold position until two-time defending gold medalist Kelly Clark took her final run, unseating her by a mere three-tenths of a point.
The event proved exciting for 16-year-old Red Bull athlete Arielle Gold, as well. Sitting on the alternate list until Gretchen Bleiler withdrew, Gold made the most of the opportunity and unleashed two 900s in her run, earning the bronze medal in the process.
Ski Big Air
Snowboard Big Air had been a triple cork melee, and the same was expected for Saturday’s Ski Big Air event. Indeed, Red Bull athletes Bobby Brown, Elias Ambühl and Kai Mahler were among those to toss the triple, but it was Henrik Harlaut who topped out on the podium with a surprise nose butter triple cork 1620 that earned a perfect score of 50.
Swiss skier Mahler finished with his second-straight silver medal, despite watching the majority of the jam-session Final from the sidelines. With a tweaked knee, he opted to wait until the end of the session, taking only three jumps and nailing switch double misty 1440s to bump countryman Ambühl to bronze.
X Games Aspen wraps up on Sunday, with Bobby Brown and Nick Goepper in the Ski Slopestyle Final, Levi LaVallee in Snowmobile SnoCross and Best Trick, Kaya Turski looking for her fourth straight Ski Slopestyle gold and Louie Vito facing off with Shaun White in Snowboard SuperPipe.
- Levi LaVallee earns Snowmobile Freestyle gold to open X Games Aspen
- Check out photos of Red Bull athletes from day one and day two of competition
- McMorris, Yater-Wallace and Dumont earn X Games medals on Friday