The Top 20 X Games Snowboarders of All-Time
The Top 20 X Games Snowboarders of All-Time
To take some of the subjectivity out of this list of the greatest riders in X Games history, we started by counting up cold hard coins of the gold, silver, and bronze variety, starting with the top-20 lists of Most X Games Snowboard Gold and Most X Games Snowboard Medals. Twelve of the riders on this list - including seven women - made the top-20 cut on both counts. The list includes some old-schoolers, some quiet medal hoarders who might surprise you and some others who won't surprise you at all, and doesn't include some very big names who just haven't stacked as many medals as you might have expected. As with any list of this kind, we encourage you to argue with us and amongst yourselves.
Honorable Mention: Scotty James
Australian rider Scotty James is fresh on our minds after winning SuperPipe gold at X Games Aspen 2019. He now owns 2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze from the four most recent X Games SuperPipe Finals. Get ready for a 2020 rematch between Scotty and Ayumu Hirano: Ayumu missed X Games Aspen 2019 due to injury after beating Scotty in the heaviest SuperPipe contest ever in 2018, with a score of 99.00 to Scotty's 96.00.
Honorable Mention: Ayumu Hirano
Ayumu Hirano's SuperPipe silver as a 14-year-old rookie at X Games Aspen 2013 set up a great rivalry with gold medalist Shaun White. At X Games, Ayumu now owns 2 gold, 1 silver in SuperPipe (that's one shy of making the top-20 list for Most Snowboard Gold and Most Snowboard Medals, our baseline criteria), and at 20 years old, he's the future of the discipline. He scored a 99.00 in his gold medal run at X Games Aspen 2018, the second-highest score ever awarded in SuperPipe (Shaun White again, ahem, with a perfect 100 at X Games Aspen 2012) and the first time back-to-back double cork 1440s were ever linked in a competition run.
20. Elena Hight
The first rider ever to land a double alley-oop backside rodeo in the SuperPipe, Elena Hight sits at #16 on the Most Snowboard Medals list with 1 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze in SuperPipe. She finally got her first gold at X Games Aspen 2017, then retired from competition after X Games Aspen 2018 to pivot to backcountry splitboarding and big mountain riding with the Jones Snowboards team. She didn't waste any time making the transition: she starred in the 2018 film "Ode to Muir" riding California's Sierra Range with Jeremy Jones and in the all-female "Vision Nowhere," documenting a Japanese powder mission. She's also a star of Jamie Anderson's 2019 film"Unconditional."
19. Kevin Jones
Kevin Jones took silver behind Peter Line in the very first X Games Snowboard Big Air event at X Games San Diego 1997 (yes, really, San Diego). With 2 gold, 2 silver in Slopestyle and 1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze in Big Air, his 9 total medals put him at #9 on the Most Snowboard Medals List, while his 3 gold medals put him at #15 on the Most Snowboard Gold list. The most beloved rider in snowboarding at the turn of the 21st century, he later came to regret and apologize for his status as "snowboarding's first super-pro" and has become a critic of X Games and the rest of the snowboarding and action sports industry over the years, which actually makes us love him even more. It's good to have some icons keeping us honest.
18. Silje Norendal
It's gold or bust for Norwegian rider Silje Norendal, whose 3 Slopestyle gold and 1 Big Air gold put her into a crowded 6-way tie for #10 on the Most Snowboard Gold list with Peter Line, Shaun Palmer, Barrett Christy, Janna Meyen-Weatherby and Gretchen Bleiler. A known jewelry lover, Silje doesn't own any meager silver or bronze medals; only the best will do. She's been pushing progression with new tricks like her Cab 1080, and most recently topped the podium in Big Air at X Games Norway 2017 in front of a home crowd. Earlier this month she was named Female Rider of the Year at the 2019 Norwegian Snowboard Awards.
17. Shaun Palmer
Shaun Palmer, one of snowboarding's original punk rock rebels, is also the X Games' original crossover athlete: he won gold in both Snowboarder X and Snow Mountain Bike Downhill at X Games Big Bear 1997, the first winter X Games. He owns 4 Snowboard gold 3 in Snowboarder X, 1 in UltraCross putting him at #10 for Most Snowboard Gold, tied with Gretchen Bleiler, Barrett Christy, Peter Line, Janna Meyen-Weatherby and Silje Norendal. He's the only snowboarder to trade one plank for two at X Games: he competed in Skier X four times and won Skier X gold at X Games Mount Snow 2000. Shaun won Action Sports Athlete of the Year at the very first ESPY Awards ceremony in 2001, and was inducted into the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame in April 2018.
16. Gretchen Bleiler
Aspen local Gretchen Bleiler won 4 gold, 1 silver in SuperPipe between 2003-2010, putting her at #10 for Most X Games Snowboard gold. Her X Games story goes almost all the way back to the beginning: she finished 12th in Half Pipe at X Games Crested Butte 1998, the second winter X Games, and took 8th in 2002, the first year X Games was held in Aspen and less than one year after her graduation from Aspen High School. A pioneer for women in the SuperPipe, known for her frontside 900s, crippler 720s, and some of the first corked spins in women's competition, she won the ESPY Award for Best Female Action Sports Athlete in 2008. She retired from competition in 2014.
15. Anna Gasser
The first woman to land a triple, with her Cab triple underflip in November 2018, Anna Gasser has been at the forefront of women's progression and now owns 2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze in Big Air and 1 Slopestyle gold from X Games Norway 2017. The whole world's been taking notice: she won TransWorld Snowboarding's Rider of the Year and Reader's Choice titles in both 2017 and 2018. She missed some competitions due to injury in 2019 and has yet to bring the triple to competition, but we'll almost certainly see it in Aspen in January: she was back on top of the Big Air podium at X Games Norway in August and has been lighting up Instagram with big tricks in the prelude to the 2019-2020 winter season.
14. Torstein Horgmo
Norwegian rider Torstein Horgmo won Big Air gold as a rookie at X Games Aspen 2008 with a corked backside 900 and went on to become one of the single biggest influencers in Big Air, with 3 gold, 2 silver to show for it. He was the first rider to land a triple cork spin, from a jump in Folgefonna, Norway, and the first to bring a triple of any kind to X Games, with a triple backflip in his gold medal Big Air run at X Games Aspen 2011. He last competed at X Games in 2016, but the Shredbots video empire he co-founded with Mark McMorris and Eero Ettala continues to drive progression in snowboarding on every front.
13. Frank Bourgeois
Frank Bourgeois and his filmers, brothers William and Charles Demers, have won the three most recent X Games Real Snow video competitions, between 2017-2019, and took silver in 2016 (they also won the Fan Favorite vote in each of those four years). Three gold gives Frank the incredible distinction of being the only rider on the Top 20 Most Snowboard Gold list who has never actually competed on-site at an X Games event. The Real Snow series began in 2011, acknowledging that some of the wildest stuff in snowboarding happens outside of the traditional competition scene, and he's the wildest of the wild. As Real Snow 2019 judge Pat Moore put it, "It's not a question of 'will this win?' it's 'is this guy human?' It doesn't even make sense."
12. Janna Meyen-Weatherby
Janna Mayen-Weatherby won 4 consecutive Slopestyle gold medals between 2003-2006, making her the first winter athlete to four-peat at X Games, and she is frequently cited as the most influential rider from the first generation of Women's Slopestyle competitors. She was one of the first women bringing 720s and 900s to competition, known for her Cab 900 years before other women were spinning them, and with 4 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze, she's in the top 20 for both Most Snowboard Gold (at #10) and Most Snowboard Medals (at #16). Her competitive snowboarding career spanned 22 years -- she won her first Burton U.S. Open halfpipe title as a 13 year-old amateur before her retirement in 2011.
11. Barrett Christy
Women's snowboarding pioneer Barrett Christy won the first-ever X Games Slopestyle gold medal, way back at X Games Big Bear 1997, where she also competed in Snowboarder X and Half Pipe. Between 1997-2004 she won 3 gold, 2 silver in Big Air still a record for most gold in Women's Snowboard Big Air as well as 1 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze in Slopestyle and 1 silver in SuperPipe. Still an active pro rider, Gnu Snowboards just released her B-Pro signature snowboard, the 23rd iteration of the longest-running women's pro model in the history of snowboarding, dating back to her "Flying Pig" board from 1996. She's also the Women's Brand Director for Mervin Manufacturing and its board brands, Gnu, Lib-Tech, and Roxy.
10. Peter Line
O.G. sender Peter Line had firmly established his video part virtuosity well before X Games was even a thing, as a star of the Mack Dawg Productions films and a founding star of the Forum Snowboarding team. He then proved himself in competition with a Snowboard Big Air win at X Games San Diego 1997. He owns 3 gold, 1 silver in Big Air, and 1 gold, 1 bronze in Slopestyle, earned between 1997-2000, and also competed in Half Pipe at X Games Crested Butte 1998. His most recent win was in Big Air at X Games Mount Snow 2000, but he still cracks the top-10 for Most Snowboard Gold at X Games, in a 6-way tie at #10 with Shaun Palmer, Gretchen Bleiler, Barrett Christy, Janna Meyen-Weatherby and Silje Norendal.
9. Tara Dakides
All-around ripper Tara Dakides did it all at X Games, inspiring a generation of women's snowboarders in every discipline as she competed in Big Air (2 gold, 1 silver), Slopestyle (3 gold, 1 silver), SuperPipe, and even Snowboarder X racing in a decade-spanning run between X Games Crested Butte 1998 and X Games Aspen 2009. Her groundbreaking parts in films like"1999," "Viva Sessions," "Empress" and "Technical Difficulties" and the 2008 documentary "Against The Grain" established her as one of snowboarding's all-time greats. At X Games 2019 she presented SuperPipe medals to Scotty James, Yuto Totsuka and Danny Davis with an assist from her young son Bowie and daughter Meadow, both fledgling snowboarders. The future is in good hands.
8. Nate Holland
Snowboarder X dominator Nate Holland's 8 gold, 3 bronze (including 1 gold, 1 bronze from the hybrid Ski and Snowboard UltraCross event) put him at #3 on the Most Snowboard Gold list, tied with Mark McMorris, and at #6 on the Most Snowboard Medals list, tied with Women's Slopestyle and Big Air pioneer Barrett Christy. He won 5 of those gold medals in an incredible Snowboarder X streak between 2006 and 2010. Snowboarder X was last contested at X Games in 2016, but he remains active on the FIS World Cup racing circuit: his most recent win was at Veysonnas, Switzerland in March 2018. Keep an eye out for the next generation of the Holland racing dynasty: his daughter Lux turns 4 in November and is already learning to rip.
7. Chloe Kim
Teen queen Chloe Kim, still just 19 years old, already owns 5 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze, from 7 X Games SuperPipe starts, a podium-perfection streak record among all X Games snowboarders. Her win at X Games Aspen 2019 tied skier Kaya Turski's podium-perfection record among all women at X Games. In October she announced she's taking the season off from competition to focus on her studies as a freshman at Princeton: if she were to compete in Aspen in January she could tie Shaun White and Nyjah Huston for most X Games gold earned as a teenager, before she turns 20 in April. Everyone is eager to see her become the first woman to land a double cork 1080 in competition: she has landed several in practice sessions.
6. Jamie Anderson
Jamie Anderson is yin and yang personified, known for literal tree-hugging and yoga vibes and also as one of the fiercest competitors X Games has ever seen. She has scars to show for it: she's been taking big risks and heavy slams in the effort to push women's progression and stay ahead of younger riders, and she smashed her face up attempting a frontside 1080 at X Games Aspen 2019. With 16 X Games medals -- 5 gold, 7 silver, 2 bronze in Slopestyle, and 2 bronze in Big Air -- she owns the most Snowboard medals (16) of any woman in X Games history and sits at #3 for most medals among all snowboarders, behind Shaun White (18) and Mark McMorris (17). Don't miss her 2019 backcountry film, "Unconditional."
5. Max Parrot
In one of the greatest comeback stories of all time, Max Parrot returned to the top of the Big Air podium at X Games Norway 2019 just two months after completing an aggressive six-month chemotherapy treatment plan for the Hodgkin lymphoma cancer he was diagnosed with in December 2018. He already had a reputation as the hardest-working guy in the game before all that, and now owns the most Snowboard Big Air gold (5) and most Snowboard Big Air medals (8). One more win and he could crack the top-5 for most gold of all X Games snowboarders. Bet on it: he now owns 5 gold, 3 silver from his 9 Big Air starts (plus 1 gold, 1 silver in Slopestyle), and says X Games Aspen is favorite stomping ground.
4. Kelly Clark
Kelly Clark's retirement from competition at X Games Aspen 2019 was a tear-jerker for the ages, after setting the standard in SuperPipe competition for nearly two decades. With 7 gold, 6 silver, 1 bronze, she owns the second most Snowboard gold and second most Snowboard medals of any woman at X Games and is at #4 on both lists among all snowboarders, male or female. The first to bring 1080s to Women's SuperPipe, she also deserves credit for paving the way for the future: she was an early supporter of a young Chloe Kim via her Kelly Clark Foundation. Pay attention to her second act: she spent 2019 slashing pow, filming in the backcountry, and hitting up surf spots around the world.
3. Mark McMorris
Mark McMorris was the first to land a proper triple cork at X Games, stomping a backside triple cork 1440 at X Games Aspen 2012 to usher in a new era of Big Air progression. Slopestyle gold and Big Air silver at X Games Aspen 2019 put him in striking distance of Shaun White's record 18 Snowboard medals. Bet on him to tie that record and establish a new standard in 2020: he's one of the most reliable medal miners in the game, with 17 medals from 22 X Games competition starts across Slopestyle (5 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze) and Big Air (3 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze). He could be competing in as many as four disciplines at X Games Aspen 2020.
2. Lindsey Jacobellis
The numbers don't lie: Lindsey Jacobellis won an astonishing 10 gold medals racing in Snowboarder X between 2003 and 2016, putting her at #2 behind Shaun White for most X Games Snowboard gold. She won four in a row between 2008-2011 before blowing the ACL in her left knee in practice at X Games Aspen 2012, then came back to win three in a row between 2014 and 2016, the most recent year the race was held in Aspen. One of the great all-around talents in snowboarding, her X Games haul includes 10 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze in Snowboarder X; and 1 bronze in Slopestyle. She came close in SuperPipe twice, finishing 4th in both 2003 and 2004.
1. Shaun White
You saw this one coming, right? Shaun White's 18 medals, 13 of them gold, make him the most decorated snowboarder in X Games history: 8 gold, 2 silver in SuperPipe; 5 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze in Slopestyle. That tally includes an astounding run of 6 consecutive wins in the Aspen SuperPipe between 2008-2013, and the only 100-point score ever awarded in SuperPipe, from X Games Aspen 2012 when he became the first rider to stomb back-to-back double cork 1260s. Oh, and he also owns 2 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze from Skateboard Vert, bringing his overall gold medal haul to 15, still the most of any athlete at X Games. Boom!