Saturday in Aspen was when the weather started to go south. The early morning brought rain, which thankfully let up in time to go see Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle. However, the slick conditions combined with overcast skies proved to be very tricky.
Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle
- The course was super fast so everybody was messing up their first attempts. Except Eric Willet and Sebastian Toutant, who threw down a banger of a run that would get him silver.
- Darcy Sharpe and Sage Kotsenburg had the best rail section, but unfortunately they couldn’t land all their jumps.
- Mark McMorris had some strategy going into his second run: taking some speed checks so he could stay in control. It paid off because that second run was solid gold.
- Apparently Darcy’s mom had a dream that he and his sister (freeskier Cassie Sharpe) got X Games invites before they actually got them. She went ahead and booked a flight and hotel that morning, and she almost regretted it because of the cost. His impression of her was adorable.
- Newcomer Mons Røisland had some bobbles, but his huge jumps on his last run allowed him to sneak past Eric into third.
- Mark’s third run was his victory lap, and he ended with a solid method.
After slopestyle, my parents and I went back to town. I had read in the paper that Colten Moore was doing reading and signing of his new book, Catching the Sky, at Explore Booksellers and wanted to see him. Ironically, he did an event in Dallas in February too, but Aspen was way more convenient for me. His friend (manager?) said I should go to both, haha. I got him to sign my Texas flag and a copy of Catching the Sky.
Things I learned from his comments and the Q&A session (first two came from my questions):
- Colten and Caleb had done tandem flips way back when they were playing around in the foam pit with their ATVs so doing it on a sled was no biggie. They just had to keep in a secret just in case, and they decided to bust it out since they thought the judges were scoring them low.
- They had to convince a lot of people that they could ride quads. Even their sponsor Polaris wasn’t sure, and they had to send X Games a video.
- Winter X is the only time Colten rides on snow. He rides ATVs and sleds for Nitro Circus, and Travis may be getting him on the dirt bike and mini bike.
- He and Caleb were more focused on beating each other than winning gold.
- Colten would never have a normal 9-5 job because he can’t get up that early or sit still.
Some things I learned from the Dallas event, which I managed to catch, and after reading the book:
- He said his performance in Aspen “sucked”. He plans on going up North to train some more for next year.
- In addition to recapping the lives of the Moore brothers, Catching the Sky contains some history about North Texas and snowmobiles. Colten’s co-author Keith O’Brien helped him add those parts to tell a full story for broad audiences.
- Colten definitely feels that Caleb is with him when he rides.
- The excerpt he chooses to read is the one about Caleb’s crash. It is utterly gut-wrenching to listen to, and it’s a rough section to read. At the same time, it’s enlightening to get Colten’s perspective because his family was there for all of it.
Returning back to Buttermilk in the evening was frustrating. Snow had started to fall, and due to this being the most popular night, security was a nightmare. What made it worse was that the women’s side did thorough bag checks and pat downs while the men just breezed right through. I also couldn’t help but think about the discrimination trans and gender-neutral individuals would face there.
- The snow got heavier as Men’s Snowboard Superpipe started. I can only imagine how bad visibility for the riders when I could barely see them going down the pipe. When it was too fast for slopestyle, the course was too slow for superpipe as a result of the fresh powder.
- This was probably the one time going earlier was better since the snow was not letting up.
- That’s not to say Matt Ladley did not deserve to win because when I saw the recaps, it was clear he was on point. Also to land anything in that snow gets mad props from me.
- Taylor Gold, who was injured, was a guest commentator. He confessed to getting into physical brawls with his sister (and Women’s Snowboard Superpipe competitor) Arielle when they were younger.
- The snow was too much to handle so my dad decided to head back. Apparently we weren’t the only ones feeling this because X Games canceled the second and third runs. That’s never happened before, but riders couldn’t even drop in.
- The line for the bus was so long (like comic con long), but at least I caught some Ski Big Air practice. Somehow we made home in time to catch the tail of the finals, which did take place, on TV. Those guys were badasses for giving it all despite less-than-stellar conditions.
This is how drastically the weather changed: Day 2 morning versus Day 3 evening.
I’m not a morning person so time of day isn’t the difference. Enduring the snow made me admire all the X Games competitors even more. You really can’t see very much, and it’s cold and slippery. I know they’re more used it than me, but it’s still rough out there!
Due lack of visibility meant not many competition photos, but there’s more from Colten’s book reading on my Flickr: click here. Also you can see the final jump by our Olympic silver and gold medalists in Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle over at my X Games Aspen playlist.