Danny Davis grabs gold in Snowboard SuperPipe
ASPEN, Colo. -- In a momentous close to X Games Aspen 2014, Danny Davis won gold in the men's Snowboard SuperPipe on Sunday night, beating out Louie Vito and Greg Bretz. It was Davis' first time qualifying for the final in six X Games appearances.
"I can't believe it really," said Davis, who set himself apart with rare and stylish technical tricks like a huge switch method and tweaked-out McTwist, as well as the double cork spins that have become standard in this event. "I'm going to ride this switch method train as long as it will last."
Davis lamented the fact that six-time Snowboard SuperPipe champion Shaun White was absent from the contest. White skipped X Games Aspen this year to focus on training for the Sochi Olympics, where he's competing in both halfpipe and slopestyle.
"It's bittersweet when Shaun's not here -- you know, he's the one to beat -- but forget it, I'll take it," Davis said.
Davis, Bretz and Taylor Gold -- who missed the cut for the final -- will join White next month in Sochi with the U.S. Olympic team.
Swiss rider Iouri Podladtchikov, whose switch frontside 1440 "YOLO flip" might have been unbeatable if he had been able to land it cleanly in the final Sunday, finished in sixth, and Chinese rider Yiwei Zhang, an X Games rookie, made a big impression but ultimately finished in seventh place.
Men's Snowboard SuperPipe Final
Monster Energy Snowmobile SnoCross
Tucker Hibbert claimed his seventh consecutive gold medal in the Monster Energy Snowmobile SnoCross on Sunday, making him the record holder for the most back-to-back gold medals of any winter X Games athlete.
Hibbert, who previously was tied at six gold medals in a row with Snowboard SuperPipe dominator Shaun White, now is in hot pursuit of BMX Vert legend Jamie Bestwick's record eight-gold streak at summer X Games.
On Sunday, Hibbert beat silver medalist Kody Kamm by 13.75 seconds on the course. Justin Broberg got the bronze.
"It means the world, man, it's awesome," Hibbert said. "It's a tough race when you're in the lead, and the track was getting pretty gnarly toward the end. ... I'm pumped to have the seven-peat. I get older every year and I just wonder if this is going to keep going. We'll find out next year."
Hibbert was the top qualifier in the first heat, then lapped some of the field in the final. He took an early lead, squeezing ahead of Kamm for the hole shot, then staying out in front, leaving Kamm and Broberg to battle it out for second place.
Monster Energy Snowmobile SnoCross Final
Men's Ski Slopestyle
Nick Goepper won his second consecutive X Games Aspen Ski Slopestyle gold medal Sunday, kicking off the final day of competition and becoming the first to repeat in men's Ski Slopestyle since Tanner Hall's three-win streak ended in 2004.
"I feel honored to be in the same category as Tanner but couldn't be more honored to be here with my homies," Goepper said, specifically shouting out to competitors McRae Williams and Andreas Håtveit, the silver and bronze medalists, respectively. "It's Andreas' last time here, so it couldn't have been a better day."
Håtveit, who will compete in Sochi with the Norwegian Olympic team, has announced this will be his last competitive season.
On his second run, Gus Kenworthy landed a switch triple rodeo 1440, the first triple cork landed in an X Games Ski Slopestyle competition. Goepper brought the second -- a rightside triple cork 1440 in his second run -- to bump into second place and landed it again in an even cleaner third run, improving to 95, the highest score of the day.
Goepper, who broke two bones in his left hand this past fall, skied his run with a wrist brace and no poles.
He was the first to qualify for the U.S. Freeskiing Olympic team and will lead the charge as the team heads to Sochi for freeskiing's Olympic debut.
"It's going to be crazy," he said. "Definitely keep your eyes open and wake up at 2 in the morning to watch the show."
Henrik Harlaut, the Ski Big Air gold medalist from Saturday night, just missed the Slopestyle podium, finishing in fourth.
Men's Ski Slopestyle Final
Women's Ski Slopestyle
Canadian Kaya Turski was back in familiar territory Sunday with her fourth career X Games Aspen gold medal in women's Ski Slopestyle.
Turski beat 15-year-old X Games rookie and silver medalist Maggie Voisin, now the youngest skier in history to medal at X Games, a distinction previously held by Aspen local Torin Yater-Wallace. Canadian Kim Lamarre took bronze.
"It's been a crazy week. It's been a crazy journey," Turski said about her first major contest after getting a revolutionary ACL surgery in August. "I couldn't believe it when I blew my knee five months ago, but here I am. I just tried to keep everything clean, just get my flow back, get it back in the zone, and it paid off."
The win follows her X Games Tignes 2013 Slopestyle gold and is a return to form for Turski, who dominated the event at X Games Aspen from 2010 to 2012 before taking silver in 2013 behind Norway's Tiril Sjåstad Christiansen, who is currently out of contention with a knee injury.
The biggest surprise of the day came from Montana native Voisin, a member of the U.S. Freeskiing Olympic team headed to Sochi. As the youngest female skier ever to compete at X Games, she delivered a switch 1080 -- the trick Turski first brought to competition in 2012 -- and briefly took the lead after posting the first score in the 90s on her second of three runs.
Turski answered in her third run, outdoing Voisin with her technical rail section and throwing a flatspin 540, switch 540 Japan and switch cork 720 in the jumps, bumping ahead with a score of 91.33.
Women's Ski Slopestyle Final
Mike Schultz won his fourth consecutive gold medal in SnoCross Adaptive on Sunday. Schultz dominated SnoCross Adaptive at X Games in 2010, 2011 and 2013 (the event was not contested at X Games Aspen 2012).
Schultz is an above-the-knee amputee who developed the prosthetic knee technology he and other adaptive racing competitors use. He finished more than 13 seconds ahead of silver medalist Garrett Goodwin and bronze medalist Doug Henry, who both use custom snowmobile seats for paraplegic racers.
Schultz, an X Games SnoCross competitor since 2002 before losing his left leg in a 2008 accident, also has a summer X Games streak going: He has won the Moto X Adaptive Racing event twice now, in 2010 and 2013.
Sunday's win in Aspen brings his overall X Games medal count to seven, six of them gold.