I have a lot of catching up to do in terms of posting. It’s almost time for Winter X Europe and I have yet to recap what went down in Aspen. My sincerest apologies. It took me a while to decide what I ought to do for my Winter X recap, and then this weekend, inspiration struck.
I am looking back at my favorite moments of Winter X Games 15 Oscars style. Now this seems a little bizarre, but the Winter X is full of action, drama, surprises, carnage, tears, unique characters, and triumphs of the human spirit… just like the movies. Also, similar to an awards show, the X Games has excited winners, speeches of gratitude, controversial decisions, and crazy fashion. Without further ado, here are your winners in the first ever Academy of TtPoX Awards for Winter X.
Best Newcomer – Sebastien Toutant (Snowboarding Slopestyle)
This year, we saw a lot of fresh faces on the podium. Many were surprises, but Sebastien Toutant made his intentions clear during slopestyle elimination. Armed with a bag of double cork variations, he clocked in a 97.00, the highest score ever. Then he led a pack of teenage shredders onto the podium, indicating that a new era of slopestyle has begun.
Other nominees: Torin Yater-Wallace (Ski Superpipe), Alex Schlopy (Ski Big Air)
Best Trick – Daniel Bodin’s double grab backflip (Snowmobile Best Trick)
This category is full of personal biases, but let me explain how my top choice was not the triple cork. First, to be nitpicky, Torstein did have a hand drag. Second, I’m a moto girl so a double grab flip is something that I never thought would happen. A double grab right-side up is still impressive. So to do on a much heavier snowmobile is just out of this world. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the trick, Daniel Bodin has to let go of his sled while it/he is upside down. The trick’s level of danger is something I don’t even want to think about, and Daniel pulled it off like it was nothing.
Other nominees: Scotty Lago’s method (Snowboard Best Method), Torstein Horgmo’s triple cork (Snowboard Big Air)
Best Athlete in a Snowmobile Event – Tucker Hibbert (Snocross)
Tucker Hibbert is so good snowmobiling that the freestylers dread the day he decides to learn some flips (fortunately for them, that doesn’t seem on Tucker’s agenda in the near future). Despite getting the last gate pick in qualifiers, he still got the holeshot and led the race, proving that starting position doesn’t matter when you have the speed, skill, and determination. He then led every lap of the finals. Tucker’s victory made him the second Winter X athlete to five-peat and the SnoCross racer with the most gold medals: a whopping six.
Other nominees: Caleb Moore (Snowmobile Best Trick), Daniel Bodin (Freestyle Snowmobiling)
Best Female Athlete in a Ski Event – Kelsey Serwa (Skier X)
While Kelsey Serwa’s win might not have been as clean or painless as her freestyling peers, it showed what the X Games are all about: balls-out courage and risk-taking with a little bit of stupidity. She and Ophelie David could have played it safe, but instead, they showed that the women are just as tough as the men by flying through the last kicker in their close race and crashing across the finish line. Kelsey’s determination paid off as she fended off the four-time champion to a hard-earned victory.
Other nominees: Sarah Burke (Ski Superpipe), Kaya Turski (Ski Slopestyle)
Best Male Athlete in a Ski Event – Kevin Rolland (Ski Superpipe)
Kevin Rolland found himself in a precarious position in the Superpipe finals: defending gold medalist out of podium contention after two runs, a newcomer having just overtaken one of the favorites for the top spot, last run of the night with all eyes on him. A lesser man would have caved under the pressure, but Kevin nailed back-to-back spins in both directions, showing why he is dominating Ski Superpipe right now.
Other nominees: Torin Yater-Wallace (Ski Superpipe), John Teller (Skier X)
Best Female Athlete in a Snowboard Event – Kelly Clark (Snowboard Superpipe)
Kelly Clark’s willingness to push herself and her sport is why she has remained one of the top snowboarders for ten years. She didn’t even have to take her last run; her first run was the highest scoring of the night and the only one to break the 90s. However, Kelly spiced up her victory with the first 1080… in the middle of the run. She’s the first woman to do one in competition, and I think it’s safe to say that she’ll be the only one to do it mid-run for a while.
Other nominees: Lindsey Jacobellis (Snowboarder X), Enni Rukajärvi (Snowboard Slopestyle)
Best Male Athlete in a Snowboard Event – Torstein Horgmo (Snowboard Big Air)
You’ve all seen the video now. Sal Masakela compared it to other epic X Games moments, like Tony Hawk’s 900 and Travis Pastrana’s double backflip. While he may not be a household name, Torstein Horgmo goes down in history for landing the first triple cork in competition… on a kicker that probably wasn’t meant for such a trick… with broken ribs. You know what the most unbelievable part is? He wasn’t satisfied at all. Nevertheless, Torstein deserves recognition for taking risks (he wound up with a concussion), never quitting (he fell on the previous two attempts), and pushing his sport to a new level. Did I mention that he competed in Slopestyle the two days later?
Other nominees: Scotty Lago (Snowboard Superpipe), Sebastien Toutant (Snowboard Slopestyle)
Best Finals Event – Men’s Ski Superpipe
What inspired this Oscar-style recap was the dramatic moments in Winter X, and man, there were a lot of contests that kept me on the edge of my seat. In talking about Kevin Rolland, I described a scenario that could be the climactic scene of a movie. We had your fresh-faced rookie in awe of skiing with his heroes, the seasoned vet focused on winning, and the defending champ who had one last chance at victory. There was suspense, tears, cheers, disappointment, shock, and of course, mind-blowing stunts from our competitors.
Other nominees: Snowmobile Best Trick, Snowboard Big Air
Best Moment Outside of Competition – Kevin Pearce returns to Winter X in good spirits.
Thanks to the support of the snowboarding community and broadcast TV coverage, Kevin Pearce became a household name and an inspiration. Last year, he was in critical condition. We followed his road to recovery, and to see him in good health and loving life was a moment worthy of a few tears.
Other nominees: Nick Baumgartner celebrates his first X Games gold with his son. Athletes take a stand against cyber-bullying in PSA (see below and find out which Olympian doesn’t Tweet).
Lifetime Achievement Award – Peter Line
Snowboarding would not be where it is today without Peter Line and his rodeos. We wouldn’t have the double corks that are now a competition staple and triple corks that are the latest headline makers. He created one of the most influential group of riders, the original Forum 8. The man was a pioneer with a career that spans more than 20 decades, and it was very cool for Winter X to have him show off some old school style in the Best Method comp.
Listening to: “The Downward Spiral” by Nine Inch Nails