X Games Aspen 2015 has been quite the game changer—for both action sports and for me personally. I decided to immerse myself in the social media experience and as a result, had the time of my life. It’s really unbelievable how much social media has changed the X Games experience. It allows us to connect to fellow fans from all around the world, staff who can give us a behind-the-scenes peek, and even the athletes. When this year’s competitors weren’t busy Instagramming and Tweeting, they participated in some of the most intense battles for first, resulting in a lot of progression and the changing of guards.
Best Female Athlete – Chloe Kim (Snowboard) Despite some criticism for having to be reminded to grab (let’s just hope she was just nervous), Chloe Kim killed it in the SuperPipe. She had a natural flow, and she proved to be the toughest high school freshman, winning gold after chipping her tooth in a gnarly crash during practice.
Best Male Athlete – Danny Davis (Snowboard)
As I posted on Twitter, Danny Davis had so much style that even my mom knew he should be in first. He never lost his cool, throwing down the top-qualifying run at the end of eliminations and edging out a high-flying Taku Hiraoka on his final run.
Newcomer to Watch – Christy Prior (Snowboard)
Taking bronze your first X Games is quite the feat. Christy Prior had the technical skills and the style to make her Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle one to remember. She is definitely here to stay.
Most Dramatic Finals – Men’s Ski SuperPipe
The gorgeous sight of the sun disappearing behind the mountains provided a dramatic backdrop of this competition, where the men kept going bigger and harder. It was cool to see the progression and the emotions, and everybody was on edge over which country would rise to the top (U.S., Canada, or France) until the very end.
Best Trick – Sage Kotsenberg’s Backside 1260 Off the Heels (Snowboard)
Amidst the buzz of Big Air and Spencer O’Brien’s 900, Sage Kotsenberg slipping a new trick with a lot of his signature flair. He didn’t get nearly enough recognition for innovation so I’m giving it to him here.
Picture Perfect Moment – Yiwei Zhang shoots for the crescent moon.
By Christian Murdock/Associated Press. From sfgate.com
The juxtaposition of the moon and Yiwei Zhang in the Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe elimination gives the shot an out-of-this-world quality. The spray of snow in the corner is the perfect embellishment, as it is reminiscent of smoke coming from a rocket.
Best Moment Outside Competition – X Games Extra Show
Okay, I may be a little biased since I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ask Chloe Kim a question on the show (and chat about my dad’s office decor with Jack Mitrani off-air). However, snowboarding fans have long known that Jack and Craig McMorris are a winning duo, and it’s great that X Games has brought them on to show the fun side of the event.
Most Educational Moment – Drones at the X Games
Finally, a use for drones that doesn’t make people cringe! They’re bringing in a new perspective on the competition, and it will be interesting to see how they change action sports photography.
Greatest Comeback – Nick Goepper (Ski)
After not qualifying for the finals, Nick Goepper could have thrown in the towel. However, he got in as a last minute replacement and brought his A game. Sure his victory might have resulted from some good fortune, but it was mostly skill and level head.
Most Inspirational – Chris Devlin-Young (Mono Skier X)
Fifty three-year-old Chris Devlin-Young proved that one should never let age or disability get in the way of the gold. He won the first Mono Skier X gold and still has the skill to dominate the races.
Lifetime Achievement Award – Simon Dumont (Ski)
By Garth Milan/Red Bull Content Pool. From redbull.com
Freeskiing would not be where it is without Simon Dumont. He’s had his ups and down at Winter X, but he always puts on a good show and tries to push the sport. He could’ve bowed out with the hard slam he took (especially already being injured), but he still gave fans one final show.
I’m bummed that there are still pronunciation issues and name inaccuracies, but hopefully that will improve with him. However, I had a blast dedicating my weekend to the X Games.I wound up only getting four of my predictions for gold right, but I enjoyed the surprises. Congratulations to all the winners and mad props to those who got back up after a hard slam to medal. I also want to wish a speedy recovery to the less lucky ones: Henrik Harlaut, Levi LaValle, Alex Beaulieu-Marchand, and Mike Schultz.