By Torao Yasunaga, Collegian Contributor
The 2017 Winter X Games were held January 26-29 in Aspen, Colorado. People from all over the world came to compete in seventeen unique events, from the Snowmobile Trick Competition to the Super Pipe Event. The snowboarding and skiing communities came together to produce one of the best X Games ever held, with many returning stars and glimpses of the next winter sports celebrities.
On the first night, we watched a snowboarder who will lead a new generation. Hailey Langland, who was only sixteen years old, competed in her first X Games. According to the X Games’ announcer, she is from a small town in California. She loves the beach as much as she loves the snow. In the Women’s Snowboard Big-Air event she landed one of the hardest known tricks, which gave her a score of forty-nine out of fifty. This score allowed her to win her first X Games gold medal.
The second night marked the return of an old legend: Shaun White decided to compete once again. He performed poorly in 2014, and he attempted to dominate the competition again. However, Scotty James (not Shaun White), an Australian rider, was able to hold first place, scoring ninety out of one hundred after the first run of the whole competition. Other notable contestants included Danny Davis (who recently cut open his hand with an axe), who came in fourth, and Matt Ladley, who finished second.
The X Games is full of impressing people. During the third night of the event, Marie Martinod, a thirty-two-year-old Frenchwoman, won the Women’s Ski Super Pipe event. Although she is relatively old, she is still winning important events, which has impressed much of the skiing community. Also, during the Men’s Big-Air event, Max Parrot landed the first quadruple backwards flip in X Games history. After he performed the trick, the crowd went silent—but after a couple of seconds the crowd and announcers voiced their amazement with cheers and praise. With that trick, Max was able to secure a gold at the Aspen Winter X Games.
Some events were excitingly dramatic. On the fourth day, Colten Moore initially led the Snowmobile Freestyle. He led until the last rider in the event, Joe Parsons (a veteran in the X Games community, respected for his innovation on the snowmobile) unseated him. Parson’s experience and innovation paid off; he was able to excite the judges enough to score a ninety-three and an X Games gold medal. In Men’s Slopestyle, Øystein Braaten went from last to first, winning an X Games gold. His first run scored an eight out of one hundred because he fell off the first rail, but he was able to score a ninety-four on the second run to win.
On the last night, two events stood out: the Men’s Snowboard Slope Style event and the Snowmobile Best Trick competition. In the former event, Mark McMorris was a clear favorite. He dominated the Slope Style course until a couple years ago, when he suffered a horrific injury. However, Mark was only able to obtain a bronze medal as Marcus Kleveland won gold. The Snowmobile Best Trick event was hyped the whole week; Joe Parsons, who had won X Games gold the day before, attempted the “impossible” double backflip. The last competitor in the event, Parsons flipped his snowmobile twice but was unable to land correctly. Therefore, Daniel Bodin won the gold medal in the Snowmobile Best Trick event.
The 2017 Winter X Games was full of excitement. All of the comebacks and new tricks ensure that snow sports can only go forward. As the tricks get more inhumane, we can only expect great things to come in coming years.