Shaun White clinches six-peat
ASPEN, Colo. -- Shaun White brought X Games Aspen to a close Sunday night with another emphatic performance in the SuperPipe he all but owns.
The greatest competitive snowboarder in history routed the field, earning the night's top two scores including a 98.00 on his second run. That run began with a record-setting 24-foot, 1-inch backside air above the walls of the Buttermilk pipe, breaking his own mark by a foot.
With his win, White matched Snowmobile SnoCross racer Tucker Hibbert's six-peat from Sunday afternoon, the first and second time that's been done in X Games winter sports history.
"I don't think I've ever been more focused and more in tune with what I'm doing physically as well as mentally," said White, a crossover star who has 15 X Games gold medals between snowboarding and skateboarding, including eight in SuperPipe. "Six years, that's pretty heavy. It's going to be more uncomfortable next year when I'm going for the seventh. I like it; it's a pretty humbling title to hold. I'm proud."
White, the oldest competitor in the field at age 26, distanced himself from the youngest athlete of the group, high-flying Japanese eighth grader Ayumu Hirano, 14, who claimed silver in his X Games debut with a 92.33. White landed the same run that earned him a perfect 100 in last year's final, highlighted by back-to-back double cork 1260s on his final two hits -- his trademark double McTwist into the frontside variation he pioneered last January.
White, who failed to medal in Slopestyle on Saturday, falling twice and finishing fifth, left little hope for his challengers with a 95-point first run Sunday night.
The only element missing from his historic night was his would-be challenger Iouri Podladtchikov, or "I-Pod" as the Swiss world champion is known. Podladtchikov qualified ahead of White in Thursday's elimination round, but he came down with the flu and withdrew from Sunday's competition shortly before it began.
White said Podladtchikov texted him to apologize.
"It kind of bummed me out," White said. "I like riding with Iouri. He pushes me."
Hirano, who launched his 116-pound frame more than 19 feet out of the pipe, couldn't match White's technical difficulty with just one double cork in his run (a front double 1080). But he drew roars from the crowd by linking stylish and smooth front and Cab 1080s into front and back 900s before unleashing his lone double cork.
"I think he's got an amazing future ahead of him and I was proud to ride with him tonight," White said of Hirano.
Finland's Markus Malin earned the first medal of his X Games career with bronze (91.33), landing the same double McTwist 1260 that White invented before the 2010 Olympics.
Scotty Lago also scored 90 points thanks to a rare two-handed truck driver grab on a frontside 1080 at the end of his first run.
Goepper holds on for gold
Nick Goepper earned the biggest win of his young career, taking gold in Jeep Ski Slopestyle a year after being relegated to silver on the final run of the day.
Goepper, 18, who grew up skiing a 400-foot hill in rural Indiana, held off four other skiers who broke 90 points. His third-run score of 94.00 was the winner, and it prolonged one of the quirkiest streaks in recent X Games history: Nine skiers have now won Slopestyle gold in the past nine years.
"It was nerve-racking," Goepper said of waiting to see if his score would hold. "I was wiping the sweat off my brow every time. I think I almost peed my pants, I was so nervous. I've been dreaming of this moment for years and I'm just so excited."
Sweden's Henrik Harlaut, who made freeskiing history Saturday night with a nose butter triple cork 1620 that clinched gold in Big Air, took silver on Sunday. He finished his third run with a nose butter double cork 1260 that helped him earn a 92.66, just enough to surpass British X Games rookie James Woods (92.00).
Bodin back from injury, wins gold
The 100-foot gap was the crux of the competition during the GoPro Snowmobile Best Trick final as a Daniel Bodin standard beat out a pair of innovative contest firsts.
Breaching the 90-point mark early in the contest, Bodin's Indian air backflip set the bar, not so much for its originality as its clean delivery across the course's biggest void.
While Joe Parson's newly minted "gator hater" and Heath Frisby's underflip both made history with their competitive debuts, they were landed across the lesser 75-foot gap.
Parsons and Frisby -- who won gold last year with the first competitive front flip -- settled for silver and bronze, respectively.
Disappointed with the judges' ruling immediately after landing the "gator hater" -- a variation of his "gator wrestler" that has him seated backward on the landing -- Parsons said, "I guess when you do something brand new, it doesn't count for anything. (This is) the first time I've ever tried it and I flawlessly executed it. I'm just glad I did what I came here to do."
With the silver, Parsons' medal count climbed to 12, the second highest in Winter X Games history behind White.
For his part, Bodin, who captured event gold in 2011, was just grateful to have recovered from an injury last year that nearly ended his career.
"This is unreal," Bodin said. "I broke my neck last year, and I wasn't sure if I would ever ride again. Just to be back here and to get that gold again is unbelievable. I'm just so happy right now."
Promising to "bring something new and innovative to the snowmobiling community," Moto X crossover and X Games Aspen rookie Jackson Strong -- the two-time defending Moto X Best Trick gold medalist -- twice unleashed a body-varial variation he dubbed "The Jack" but was unable to land it successfully. Strong finished in sixth.
Hibbert claims SnoCross six-peat
Cementing his status as one of the most dominant athletes in X Games history, Hibbert led from start to finish in Sunday's 15-man Snowmobile SnoCross final to capture the first six-peat in Winter X Games history.
Hibbert took the lead after one lap and gradually extended his gap over silver medalist Ross Martin on the 0.6-mile Buttermilk course. After two laps, he led by three seconds. After four laps, the deficit had more than doubled.
Hibbert consistently pinned his throttle high into the turns and coasted to victory by 11 seconds over Martin, with Tim Tremblay taking bronze, 26 seconds after Hibbert crossed the finish line.
Hibbert, who was was particularly motivated to win after the X Games dropped SnoCross last year, was immediately hugged by his father, Kirk, and swarmed by his team.
Asked how he makes it look easy year after year, Hibbert said, "It's not easy, that's for sure. Getting to the track and being here is the easy part. It's all the work that goes on back at the race shop and at the test track and at the gym. I haven't felt this good in a long time. I keep getting better as I get older, I feel like."
Hibbert, 28, won his seventh career SnoCross gold medal 13 years after he won his first, at age 15. He is still the youngest gold medalist in Winter X Games history.
"I've been doing this for so long, and I still had butterflies all morning," Hibbert said. "That's what keeps it fun. I think the six-peat added to that."
Schultz rallies for third straight Adaptive gold
All eyes were on two-time defending Snowmobile SnoCross Adaptive gold medalist Mike Schultz as he gunned for a three-peat, but when he crashed going into the first turn, all bets were off.
As 2010 bronze medalist Doug Henry -- who's partially paralyzed from his waist down -- slotted the hole shot, with amputee and two-time medalist Jim Wazny breathing down his neck, Schultz swung his prosthetic leg back over his sled and launched the ultimate comeback.
By the halfway mark of the fifth and final lap, the 31-year-old Schultz had climbed his way back from dead last -- overtaking Garret Goodwin through the downhill section -- to pass Henry and hold on through the checkered flag.
"How about that for some excitement?" Schultz said after the race. "I'm like, 'Oh, man! I've got some work to make up here.' I didn't know if I was going to be able to catch (Henry)."
Schultz's gold gave him the three-peat gold. Henry, 43, finished with the silver.
"I had such a good time getting ready for this race," Henry said.
Goodwin, an X Games rookie, finished with the bronze.
Sjastad Christiansen unseats Turski
With clean technique down the rail section and a big 900 to close her Women's Ski Slopestyle run, Norway's Tiril Sjastad Christiansen -- an X Games rookie and, at 17, the discipline's youngest gold medalist -- pulled off an upset win against the most dominate skier in the history of women's Ski Slopestyle, Kaya Turski.
"I'm just so excited," said Christiansen afterward in tears. "I crashed in my first run but then I was able to land my run on the second and third runs. I couldn't be happier."
Looking for a historic fourth-straight gold medal at Aspen, Canada's Turski, who also has three gold medals in Ski Slopestyle from X Games Tignes, crashed on her first two runs and was sitting in last place going into her final run of the event. To claim the history-making four-peat, the 24-year-old -- who posted the highest ever Slopestyle score (96.66) at this event three years ago -- needed to beat Christiansen's 92.33.
Adding to the pressure, the start of Turski's critical run was delayed for 35 minutes as medical staff tended to Ashley Battersby, who injured her left leg on a switch 900 attempt on the final jump of her third run.
Earlier, during the warmup session, Rose Battersby, no relation, crashed on a jump. She suffered a lumbar spine fracture, according to X Games Medical, and is being transferred to Denver.
When Turski finally dropped in, her composure was clearly intact as she laid down a solid run that included a rodeo 540, a switch 720, and a switch cork 540. It wasn't enough for gold, but Turski's score of 90 bumped her up to second place.
"I'm just so relieved," said Turski. "I had a really rough time on my first two runs falling on a box that wasn't giving me any trouble all week. I'm stoked I brought the rodeo trick to my comp and I pulled it off after all the waiting at the top."
Turski said she kept her calm at the top of the course with help from her dad and her coach.
"I was just trying to lay low," Turski said. "At a certain point, I was just like, let's go with the flow."
XGames.com's Devon O'Neil and Keith Hamm contributed to this report.