Top 4 Highlights from Aspen X Games 2017

BY The Editors | January 31, 2017 | Feature Features

In the wake of a series of winter storms that dumped nearly three feet of powder the preceding week, X Games Aspen 2017 celebrated it's 21st year in epic fashion as capacity crowds witnessed the world's best action sports athletes compete at Buttermilk Mountain. In addition to Snowmobile SnoCross and the Women's Snowboard Big Air event, most notable to the first day of competition was Shaun White's return to the SuperPipe after a marked absence in 2016.
Silje Norendal competing in Women's Snowboard SlopeStyle during X Games Aspen 2016

1. Thursday night belonged to Scotty James who took his first-ever gold at X Games with a score of 90.00 on the very first run of competition. Starting off with a massive backside air over 21-feet out of the pipe, the 22-year-old Aussie then took to the sky, launching consecutive 1080s before landing a clean frontside 900 and finishing off his run with a stylish backside double cork 1260. Last year's winner Matt Ladley took second on the final run of competition scoring a 80.00, while fellow Coloradan Taylor Gold took third with a 79.00. White, meanwhile, placed 11th, his worst finish since his rookie year in 2000.

2. Making it's debut at X Games Aspen this year, Snow BikeCross brought the excitement of SuperCross racing to the SnoCross course with modified dirt bikes in which the front tire is replaced with a ski and the rear fitted with a snowmobile track. In the end, the action didn't disappoint as favorite Brock Hoyer from Williams Lake, British Columbia, took the inaugural gold medal in the event. Despite a fall in the early stages of the race, Hoyer, who has in many ways pioneered the sport, eventually regained the lead beating EnduroCross racer Colton Haaker by ten seconds as the checkered flag was waived. Taking third was fellow Canadian Cody Matechuk.

3. Kicking things off, the boys set the tone for the day on Saturday during the Jeep Men's Ski Slopestyle event as 21-year-old Oystein Braaten grabbed his first X Games gold on his second and final run of the competition. After crashing on his first run, the pressure was on as the young Norwegian dropped into the rail section with some creative moves including a double rail transfer to 450 out. It was his style and technicality on the jumps however, that secured his win. With a switch right double cork 1080 and a perfectly executed tripe cork 1440 safety grab, judges awarded him a 94.33, enough to bump McRae Williams first run score of 93.33 into second. Canadian skier Alex Beaulieu-Marchand took home a bronze with a 92.00.

4.Taking center stage was the Jeep Men's Slopestyle Final on Sunday, an event that often proves a catalyst for the progression of freestyle snowboarding. Today it was one of the sport's youngest and most talked about riders, Marcus Kleveland, who took home the gold. At just 17-years-old, Kleveland's style through the rail section set the tone for the rest of his run. Appearing almost effortless, the Norwegian rider came off a cab 270 gap to boardslide prior to tossing a switch backside double cork 1080 on the first jump of the course. Following up with a cab triple cork 1620 and then a massive backside 1440 on the final jump, he secured a score of 91.66. Canadian Tyler Nicholson was close behind with a 89.00 followed by a score of 87.99 by Mark McMorris. This comes just days after Kleveland made X Games history on the Big Air jump landing the Woods first backside quadruple cork 1800.

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