Posts Tagged ‘Henrik Harlaut’

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I was stoked to catch all the action.  I got a little bit of deja vu with the addition Snowbike Best Trick, but this time around, the riders are on machines equipped to be on snow and the athletes seem more stoked about it.  Olympic years are always interesting, and what went down kinda changed my mind about who may be in contention for the gold.

Jack Mitrani’s post-show went to Facebook this year, and I really enjoyed the interactive elements.  I got a couple of shout-outs, and my silly comment about Henrik Harlaut’s pants even became a conversation topic (I’m waiting for it to make news again at the Olympics).

Best Female Athlete – Sarah Hoefflin (Ski)
Gotta give props to my fellow scientist! Sarah Hoefflin has a degree in neuroscience and took up skiing after not getting into med school.  Her backup plan is paying off as she got a gold in Women’s Ski Big Air.

Best Male Athlete – Henrik Harlaut (Ski)
Henrik Harlaut must not have slept very much over X Games weekend.  He scored a gold in Men’s Ski Big Air, which took place in the evening.  Then he got up bright and early to get another victory in Men’s Ski Slopestyle.  In between, he got to see two of his favorite rappers, Method Man and Red Man, in concert.  Henrik also deserves props for speaking his mind about the new Big Air format, which requires athletes to spin both directions.

Newcomer to Watch – Reira Iwabuchi (Snowboard)
The Big Air jump did not intimidate this pint-sized rookie.  Reira Iwabuchi stomped gnarly tricks early in the competition and proved to be a very strategic athlete by making sure she got both directions down early on.

Most Dramatic Finals – Men’s Snowboard Superpipe
The Men’s Snowboard Superpipe finals was an epic nail biter.  Ayumu Hirano threw down the first-ever back-to-back 1440s (Shaun who?), and Scotty James defended his gold as best as he could.  It wound up not being enough, but his score was close.  There was also Iouri Podlachikov’s horrifying crash (thankfully he seems to be doing better) and Ben Ferguson’s extremely tech run.

Best Trick – Marcus Kleveland’s Quadruple Cork 1800 (Snowboard)
Can you believe this history-making trick did not get Marcus Kleveland the win in Snowboard Big Air?  Not to discredit Max Parrot, who did a Cab Quad 1800, but the new scoring system didn’t favor Marcus so we’re gonna give him credit for being the first here.

Picture Perfect Moment – Boarding and Bokeh
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Chase Josey during practice.  By Mark Kohlman/ ESPN
Normally I’m more interested in pictures that put the athlete in the forefront; without them, we wouldn’t have the X Games after all.  However, the bokeh in this shot is a major attention grabber, and it looks a lot like snow.

Best Moment Outside of Competition – Stale Sandbech gets an SUV rental.
Let me preface this by saying I’m a terrible driver so this comes from a place of empathy.  I tried to learn how to drive on my mother’s Chevy Tahoe, and I live in Texas.  I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for Stale Sandbech, who’s used to smaller cars, to navigate the tight Aspen roads.

Most Educational Moment – the X-tionary
I learned a new term—”bolts”—and it’s a new fave.  Hearing Jack Mitrani and Craig McMorris go over lingo was a lot of fun, and it was interesting to see how the terms differ between the disciplines (like when Diana Dahlgren taught them “wadded it”).  Maybe we’ll hear some over the Olympics?

Greatest Comeback – Brett Turcotte (Snowmobile)
While Mark McMorris’ recovery story was the comeback of weekend (and deservingly so), Brett Turcotte experienced his own life-threatening accident last year.  He lost over 50% of his blood in an FMX crash.  Not only did he come back to compete, but he won two out of the three events he was in!

Most Inspirational – Shred Hate
It’s been a year since X Games kicked off their Shred Hate initiative, but it remains a super important mission.  Having found my sanctuary in action sports, I was deeply moved by the athletes’ comments about their personal experiences as both the bullied and the bullies.  If we can change a small group of kids, that’s doing something to make the world better.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Marie Martinod (Ski)
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By Phil Ellsworth/ ESPN Images
Although she could not repeat her victory, Marie Martinod still tried her best at her final X Games, having gone for a huge cork 1080.  We’re gonna miss this veteran skier after she retires at the end of this season, but she has sure inspired a bunch of young women with her boldness and resilience.  And maybe her daughter will one day pick up the poles?

Congratulations to all the winners and good luck to everyone heading over the Olympics! Speaking of which, I’m working with BreachTV to provide a recap series.  There will be lots of commentary on snowboarding and freeskiing so click here to check out my channel.

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Usually thinking about the X Games a week later brings back fond memories and inspirational moments.  Although we still have that, the mood is clouded by sad news.  Snowmobile and ATV rider Caleb Moore has died.  The world of action sports will miss him, and the X Games may not be the same.

I debated whether I should continue with my usual wrap-up of the best moments.  The answer is yes.  Caleb was doing what he loved, and let’s celebrate his life and accomplishments, along with all the others at the X Games.

Best Female Athlete – Jamie Anderson (Snowboard)
This is her tenth X Games appearance, and look at how far she has come. From racing Boarder X with her sister to getting back-to-back golds in Slopestyle, Jamie is just unstoppable. Whatever sort of zen she reaches while hugging trees is evident on the course with her smooth riding and flawless tricks.

Best Male Athlete –Henrik Harlaut (Ski)

Henrik not only stomps his first triple cork, but he nose butters it. Those little touches of style is what makes a stand-out athlete and why he medaled in both Big Air and Slopestyle. Best of all though is his giant smile. This guys is out there having a good time, and that is how things should be.

Newcomer to Watch – Ayumu Hirano (Snowboard)
I’ve said a lot about him already, and the clip below does a good job of highlighting his amazing skills. If you didn’t know who he was at the beginning of the SuperPipe finals, you definitely knew him afterward.

Most Dramatic Finals – Snowboard Big Air
For the second year in a row, Snowboard Big Air made me want to run around and scream. Instead my facebook friends got a ramble of things that made no sense to them until I related it to watching a dramatic movie or TV show. The odds were against Torstein Horgmo and Mark McMorris, but when the time came to deliver or walk away empty-handed, they gave us new tricks. Which brings me to the next category…

Best Trick – Torstein Horgmo’s switch backside triple cork 1440 (Snowboard)
It’s easy to get tired of the spinning, but when you think about what switch means (the analogy X Games commentators love to use is throwing a fastball with your non-dominant hand), you have to be impressed by the skills and the balls it takes to pull a trick like Torstein’s.

Picture Perfect Moment – Ski Big Air podium is filled with friends.
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From Christian Pondella / Red Bull Content Pool
This photo sums up the camaraderie that happens within action sports. When one person wins, everyone wins.

Best Moment Outside Competition – Tucker Hibbert gets his first professional haircut in 15 years
At first, I was wondering why was this even an article, but the story behind why he wound up at Uncle Jack’s Parlor is really amusing. His crew member’s buzzcut is too.

Most Educational Moment – How many rotations are in a 1980? (Ski)
Freeskiing has progressed so quickly that I had to start doing math again to keep up with the tricks. Alex Schlopy’s 1980 attempt required him to do a whopping five and a half rotations (which he completed but did not land).

Greatest Comeback – Levi LaVallee (Snowmobile)
For the past two years, we’ve seen (or rather heard) Levi in the booth, but he has returned to the sled in good form. He took home two golds (Freestyle and Speed and Style) and was going to enter the two more snowmobile events before tearing a muscle in his back. Nonetheless, he is back in action!

Most Inspirational – Elena Hight (Snowboard)
I’m a firm believer that girls can do anything the guys can, and Elena proved that to be true by stomping the trick that has eluded Shaun White, a double backside alley-oop rodeo. This wasn’t the first time she’s done something major: she was the first woman to do a 900 at just the age of 13. On top of going big, she promotes eco-friendly style with Repreve and is on the Boarding for Breast Cancer Team. She’s an excellent role model for both young women and men.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Caleb Moore (Snowmobile)
Even though this was only his third X Games, Caleb and his brother Colten have done so much for freestyle snowmobiling. No one thought these ATV riders from Texas would place very high, but they have proven to be both skilled and memorable. Caleb’s tricks were always impressive (check out his rock solid in the footage below), and he was working hard to get a gold. He embodied the determination and joy that is a part of the action sports lifestyle. Ride on, Caleb.
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From Rockstar Energy Drink US facebook page

Saturday was a very busy day, especially in snowboarding.  There was a lot of drama and sick tricks.  I’ve got a lot of notes so let’s not waste any time.

However, I do want to give an update on Caleb Moore, who crashed on Thursday.  He underwent surgery for a heart contusion and then suffered complications involving his brain.  Current updates say that he’s still in critical condition.  My heart goes to him and his family.  Let’s all hope for better news tomorrow.

Ski thoughts

  • Why is it called Round 1 when Round 2 is the finals?
  • Gus Kenworthy lands first triple rodeo Japan air in Round 1 of Big Air. Talk about throwing down the gauntlet.
  • Triples are key again.
  • Henrik Harlaut’s style is giving him high scores.
  • 1980 is a year, not a trick (unless you’re Alex Schlopy). That’s the equivalent of five and half rotations by the way.
  • Everyone’s reaction to the 1980 attempt: O__O
  • Henrik is skiing with his goggles backwards and eyes closed. Is there a method to the madness?
  • Jossi Wells gave us sick style and a nice break from all that spinning.
  • A corked 540 looks really slow but still cool.
  • Going 100 feet downhill via the jump with GoPro looks like you’re flying.
  • There is such a thing as too much air. Ask Bobby Brown.
  • Gus changes his mind from doing a triple to a double cork mid-air. That’s some quick thinking.
  • The judges really liked Henrik’s nose-butter double cork 12.
  • Apparently the jump designers learned a few things from aerials.
  • Kai Mahler missed a few jumps due to a potential knee injury, but he came back to do a double Japan air and a switch double misty 1620.
  • Henrik nose-butters his triple. WTF.

Snowboard thoughts

  • Mark McMorris did 13 jumps in Big Air and remained in top condition for Men’s Slopestyle the next day.
  • Rookie Max Parrot threw down some triples, which he just learned recently. Forget the White versus McMorris showdown; it’s Parrot versus McMorris.
  • The Financial District elements crack me up. You’ve got the Deposit, the Down Payment, and the Money Booter. I suppose big investment = high pay off.
  • Lighting was starting to affect the snowboarders. Only two out of eight landed their second runs, and the highest score was 65. Also, I didn’t realize they had different lenses for different conditions.
  • Shaun White sketched in beginning of his last run on Cab 270 on rail, and that seemed to throw him off a little. He went down on a double cork.
  • “Perfect” was the word of the day. Jumps were packed so tightly that you needed to be flawless to complete your run.
  • Mark looked unfazed by everything.
  • Max couldn’t better his score, but hey, silver is definitely not bad for a rookie.
  • Peetu Piiroinen did well until a hand drag. He had a beautiful rodeo, but since he didn’t do a triple (the word of the weekend), it wasn’t enough.
  • Instead of cruising through his victory run, Mark does a full run that included a cab 1260 double cork and a backside triple cork 1440. He wound up improving his score to a record-breaking 98. He also looked really good on the rails.
    markmcmorri_zps12aad757 photo markmcmorri_zps12aad757.jpg
    By Brett Wilhelm /ESPN Images (via X Games official site)
  • Jamie Anderson was spotted hugging a tree in the beginning of Women’s Slopestyle. It’s her form of meditation apparently.
  • Enni Rukajärvi had first full run of the day, and she was grabbing with a broken wrist.
  • Rookie Aimee Fuller went for broke on backside 7 but wipes out.
  • You gotta spin both ways to get the points. Cab and frontside look too similar in Sina Candrian’s run
  • Enni was really good but reverbed at Money Booter, and the judges (along with the course) are just as hard on the ladies about little mistakes.
  • I wonder if more girls are going to meditate next year. It seemed to put Jamie in the zone. XG13Aspen3 photo jamie-anderson_zpsee8c0e77.jpeg
    By Matt Morning / ESPN Images (via
    The Ski Channel)
  • Later on in the evening, Elena Hight stomped the first ever backside double alley-oop rodeo in a contest! No one else has that trick except Shaun White, and he hasn’t landed it in contest. That ought to shut up the people who say women’s snowboarding is boring.
  • Kelly Clark answered the challenge with a frontside 1080.
  • Rookie and alternate Ariel Gold had a sick cab 900.
  • “The girls want to rip, and the girls are ripping.” – Gretchen Bleiler (who needs to be a commentator when she’s not competing)
  • Kaitlyn Farrington got points for committing on her grabs.
  • Gretchen was recovering from a shattered eye socket and concussion
  • Torah Bright’s strategy this year is “totally boarding”: doing all three snowboarding events. It’s really helping with her versatility and confidence.
  • Wax tech = god (according to Gretchen)
  • Not perfect conditions b/c pipe slopes
  • Kelly has more technical difficulty and high amplitude, as well as no set ups.
  • Great amplitude from Hannah Teter
  • Kelly’s 1080 was 14 feet high. It was really hard to determine whether hers or Elena’s was better, but in the end, technicality ruled over innovation.  Check out Kelly’s blog post about the finals.
  • People are using “double rodeo” and “double cork” interchangeably. I thought they were different?

Congratulations to Mark McMorris (Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle), Jamie Anderson (Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle), Henrik Harlaut (Ski Big Air), and Kelly Clark (Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe) on their victories!

Prediction Status: 3/6
Quote of the Day: “Wait, those are girls?!” – my mom, midway through Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle finals
Trick of the Day: Henrik Harlaut’s nose-butter double cork 12
henrikharlaut_zps36801747 photo henrikharlaut_zps36801747.jpg
By Josh Duplechian/ESPN Images (via X Games official site)

Question of the Day:
What IS the difference between a double rodeo and a double cork?