Tom Wallisch takes home Winter X 16 Slopestyle gold
What a night at the X Games. Tonight marked the first time that any slopestyle competition at Winter X was held under the lights, and it went off without a hitch. Tom Wallisch, who had to sit out last year's Winter X with a broken shoulder blade, got his tonight, taking home the gold medal. X Games rookie, and youngest slopestyle competitor Nick Goepper took home his first medal, taking silver. And veteran Andreas Håtveit outlasted the rest of the field to take home his fifth X medal, a bronze.
This morning's semifinals were sunny and fast, yet you'd never know it by looking at tonight's weather. Mother Nature decided to let loose a storm tonight, dumping the fluffy white stuff on the X course as competitors were practicing for finals. However, speed did not seem like an issue and the competitors threw down. Here's a breakdown of each of the medalists' runs:
Tom Wallisch was the only competitor to ollie up to the top of the wall ride, which he promptly 450'd off. He then switch 270 on, 450 off the rail to gap. His first jump was a perfect switch right 900 mute. Immediately after he broke into a double cork 1260 mute. He then combo-ed the last two hits with back-to-back switch double flip 1080 japans, one left, one right.
Nick Goepper switch 270 on, 270 off the closeout rail, then he mach-ed into a 450 off the rail to gap. Goepper's first of four doubles started off with a switch double flip 900 japan. He then moved into a leftside double cork 1260 into a switch double cork 1260. His "money booter" jump was a double cork 1260 mute to japan.
Andreas Håtveit was 180ing onto the box and hitting the wall ride switch. He cut over to the rail to gap down box, which he was throwing 360 switch ups. He kicked off the jumping with a switch rightside 1080 blunt. Next up was his switch wobble cork 1260 mute. He quickly added on a double cork 1080 octo-grab, ending this off with a rightside double cork 1260.
Andreas Håtveit right 900
“It is getting crazy and crazier,” said Tom Wallisch. “Everyone was doing perfect runs it was just a matter of trying to stand out some how.”
Narrowly missing out on his first X podium was Gus Kenworthy who got rowdy, dropping a jaw dropping switch 270 to misty 450 on the flat to gap rail. Russ Henshaw (who is likely celebrating Australia Day) was dropping four double flips as well, from underflips to double corks to switch double rodeos.
Nick Goepper, switch 540
PK Hunder, who was making his first appearance in an X final in recent memory, made the rest of the field's switch double cork 1260's look awful. Bobby Brown couldn't quite get his run dialed, taking an uncharacteristic seventh place. Alex Schlopy, who is reportedly skiing a little beat up, rounds out the crew. Big props to Schlopy for putting it down, even with a bit of a banged up knee.
This marked the first time the slopestyle competition was held at night, with the eight men doing battle on the 1,600 foot course in the night air. “This [was] amazing,” Wallisch said with a smile beaming across his face. “Under the lights in primetime and this crowd, it is amazing. I think it’s going to open the sport up to a bigger audience and make it just that much sicker to watch."
PK Hunder warms up his switch 540
2_ Nick Goepper – 94.66
3_ Andreas Håtveit – 92.00
4_ Gus Kenworthy – 89.33
5_ Russ Henshaw – 89.00
6_ PK Hunder – 86.33
7_ Bobby Brown – 83.33
8_ Alex Schlopy – 77.00
L-R: Nick Goepper, Tom Wallisch, Andreas Håtveit
The end of today marks the end of the slopestyle events for skiers. Tomorrow's docket is relatively light with only men's super pipe elimination, with the rest of the ski events falling on Saturday this year. Stay locked on freeskier.com for all your X Games information and recaps.
About the author:
Shay Williams is the former Managing Editor of Freeskier Magazine. He now works full-time with Monster Energy, and continues to contribute to freeskier.com, offering insights re: the lives of his Monster athletes.