Alright we’ve reached the end of my day-to-day recaps of X Games Aspen. I’m going to do my eXponential Awards review, and then we can finally move onto Oslo (and hopefully life won’t kick me in the butt again). Sunday had non-stop snow again. Visibility wasn’t as bad as Saturday, but the athletes still struggled and my mom refused to come out even during the day.
I took this on the shuttle ride to Buttermilk since I’d never seen this much snow, not even when I lived in northern Japan.
Men’s Ski Slopestyle
- Jossi Wells got a well-earned gold. Like Spencer, he’s been at X for a while, but this is his first win here.
- I think Jossi is younger than me, but they kept making him sound like an old man because he’s married with a dog. His family actually brought the dog out.
- I loved the little touches Bobby Brown put in his runs. He did okay, and it seemed like he was ready to just head out. However, he did stop to say “hi” to people and thank me when I complimented him.
- Joss Christensen skied with a broken hand. He usually uses poles so not having them was a little weird, according to him. The awkwardness showed.
- Our Olympians had a really rough time overall. Then Gus Kenworthy put together a sick run on his third and final attempt.
- For all the hate Gus got for coming out in a such a public way, he has helped freeskiing. Not just with making it a more accepting place, but he’s brought in new fans. He knows that responsibility comes with visibility because he took the time to greet fans and take photos.
Gus was stoked on the flag. Mission accomplished.
- Also, for the bad rep that “fangirls” often get, they were super nice and encouraged me to get up to the front with them at the end so that Gus could see my rainbow flag. Gus’ mom saw it first and gave me a thumbs up. I’m glad he has such a supportive family (especially since I had kind of an awkward conversation with my parents about why I brought the rainbow flag).
Women’s Snowboard Superpipe
- The snow started to fall even harder by the time Women’s Snowboard Superpipe came around. I think they tried to run through the event as quickly as possible so we wouldn’t have a repeat of the previous night’s situation.
- So the question was “Play it safe or go all in?” Because you never know if the snow would get too bad.
- It was an all American field except two Chinese snowboarders (Xuetong Cai and Jiayu Liu). My dad and I were talking about how we should’ve brought a Chinese flag because they didn’t get as much support as the more famous Americans.
- Both Xuetong and Jiayu did really well, and from what I could tell, they caught the attention of press afterward. Xuetong became the first Chinese athlete to medal so I was super happy.
- Elena Hight tried to go for the double rodeo, but she just didn’t have the speed. She was disappointed.
- Kelly Clark did not have a good day either. She put the 1080 in the beginning, which is kind of a risk. It didn’t pay off.
- On the other hand, Chloe Kim had her 1080 in the middle and there’s risk with that too. She crashed on her last trick in her first run (it looked like she either lost her balance or relaxed a little too early). However, she nailed everything on her second.
- Chloe, who was unseated as the youngest Winter X gold medalist, broke another record: first athlete under 16 to get consecutive X Games gold.
- Side note: Chloe’s family is super cute, and I’m glad to see the support. Snowboarding isn’t exactly a traditional sports, but there are more Asians out there (partly due to the Olympics). I think it’s helped get my parents a bit more interested.
Overall X Games Aspen was awesome! Only two of my predictions were correct, but the weather and finals only format led to some surprises. The small venue and city helped create an more intimate atmosphere, where you don’t know when you might run into an athlete. That actually happened when the majority of us got stranded due to the snow storm cancelling all the flights out of Aspen Airport. I wound up having lunch at the same restaurant as host Brandon Graham and standing in front of freeskier Evan McEachran in the airport security line.
The actual Games itself was a little claustrophobic at times though, and I’m just not used to the snow. I’d like to come back because Aspen is such a lovely (but expensive) place and I’ve grown to love Winter X so much. I don’t know about next year, but one day in the future you’ll see me again here again. And maybe next time if I have an extra day or two in Aspen, I’ll hit the slopes myself.