Snowboarder X at X Games Aspen 2015
Snowboarder X at X
Men's, women's and adaptive Snowboarder X quarterfinals, semis and finals took place Friday on the X course at Aspen's Buttermilk Mountain. Lindsey Jacobellis walked away with her ninth gold medal in the women's field, while Kevin Hill won his first gold among the men. Keith Gabel won the first-ever X Games gold in Adaptive Snowboarder X.
Jacobellis: Nine Gold Medals
In women's Snowboarder X, American Lindsey Jacobellis earned her record ninth X Games gold medal. That's two more X Games golds than any other woman in history (Kelly Clark and Fabiola da Silva both have seven). Canadian Dominique Maltais, who took the World Cup points title in 2014, got silver, while France's Nelly Moenne Loccoz took bronze.
Men's Winner: Kevin Hill
In the men's Snowboarder X field, Canadian Kevin Hill, 28, ran away with the gold Friday at X Games Aspen 2015. Hill got the lead early on and held onto it, edging out Italian Omar Visintin, who took silver, and seven-time gold medalist Nate Holland, who ended up in the bronze position.
Adaptive Winner: Keith Gabel
Utah's Keith Gabel won gold in the first medal event of Adaptive Snowboarder X (it was an exhibition event in 2012). New Zealand's Carl Murphy got silver and Canadian Alex Massie took bronze. "Words cannot express how pumped I am," Gabel said. "It's a dream come true."
The X course, filled with rollers, banks, tables and straightaways, covered about 2,700 feet in distance with an average slope of 15 percent and a vertical drop of roughly 450 feet.
In a race, your gear -- from your snowboard to the wax the techs put on it -- can make the difference between first and last. Jacobellis was on a new snowboard in Friday's finals, a board she'd raced on only once before, just one week prior to arriving in Aspen. "I think the biggest difference is in the turns," Jacobellis said about the board. "I'm not grinding as much and I'm able to really generate speed."
Adaptive Snowboarder X
"These athletes are the best in the world at what we do," said Gabel, the Paralympic bronze medalist from Sochi. "So the adrenaline is there. I just tried to stay focused. I knew if I could get out in front, hopefully I could hold it."
"I tried to slow things down and look for passing opportunities," Jacobellis said after her victory. "I didn't win the start, but I just had to go with what I had in front of me. It was a hard course."
Hill said winning Snowboarder X for his first X Games gold medal was the biggest accomplishment of his career. He won a silver medal in the event in 2011 and just missed the podium last year, when he finished fourth.