For the 9th straight year here at X Games Aspen, we have a new men’s ski slopestyle gold medalist. That is to say, nine different skiers have earned gold in the past nine years. Looking back at the past few seasons, in 2008 it was Andreas Håtveit; in 2009, TJ Schiller; in 2010, Bobby Brown; 2011, Sammy Carlson; and in 2012, it was Tom Wallisch. Today, your 2013 X Games Aspen slopestyle champion is Lawrenceburg, Indiana’s own Nick Goepper.
Friday’s elimination round saw 16 men drop into the slopestyle course, with hopes of advancing to today’s final. Only eight were so lucky, and this afternoon those gents threw down before an excited crowd at Buttermilk Mountain. The format—as usual—was three runs each, best run counts.
Topping the field today was 18-year-old Nick Goepper—who won slopestyle silver in his first X Games appearance in 2012. Goepper came charging out of the gate today, earning a strong 92.33 on his first run. After a bobble on his second drop, Nick upped his game on his third attempt, securing an even 94 with a run consisting of a 270 on, pretzel 270 out of the first down rail; a hand drag Japan over the rainbow; a switch 270 on, pretzel out of the down box; switch on, switch up, backside 270 out of the flat-gap-to-down box; a left double cork 10 tail; a right double cork 12 tail; a switch left double cork Japan and a switch right double misty 12 mute. Goepper’s outstanding technicality combined with solid grabs on each and every hit was enough to seal the deal today.
Nick Goepper’s winning run, 2013 X Games Aspen slopestyle
“It feels absolutely amazing,” said Goepper of his win. “I’ve been dreaming of this moment since I was a little kid.”
Goepper told the press this afternoon that he had just gotten off the phone with his mother, who spoke to him about his childhood dream of winning X. “She was telling me, ‘Remember when you were really young, and you told me you wanted to win the X Games?’ She said, ‘That was so far off, I never thought that would happen.’ Just to be here, skiing with all these rad dudes… I’m just so excited. This is the best day of my life.”
Goepper also explained that while watching other skiers drop, wondering whether his score of 94 would hold, he “almost peed [his] pants a couple of times.” Nerve-wracking moments for Goepper today, indeed, as many of the other competitors skied amazingly.
Behind Goepper in the standings was last night’s X Games big air champion, Henrik Harlaut. Harlaut admitted this morning that he didn’t sleep much last night, still riding a high after stomping the first ever nose butter triple cork 1620 and earning his first X Games medal.
Harlaut struggled on his first two runs, but earned a 92.66 on his third go. Henrik’s run consisted of a nose butter 450 on, pretzel 450 out of the first down rail; a 450 out of the up rail; a 270 on to the down box; a 360 switch up over the midsection of the flat-down-flat-down box; a switch right corked 9 tail; a left double cork 12 mute; a switch left double 9 and a nose butter double cork 12 on the money booter.
“I felt like I didn’t have any pressure on me today, since last night went so well,” said Henrik. “I was just super hyped to come out and have more fun today, and ski as I always do. Just have a lot of fun and put down a run as well as I could. The conditions were perfect. Everybody killed it super hard, it was awesome.”
Twenty one-year-old X Games rookie James Woods rounded out the podium in third—doing it for his home of Great Britain.
Woodsy’s run consisted of a switch 270 on, BS 270 out of the first down rail; a hand drag over the rainbow rail; a switch on, 450 out of the down box; a 360 switch up over the midsection of the F-D-F-D box, to 270 out; a switch on, corked 810 tail out of the cannon; a left double cork 10; a rightside double cork 12 truck driver and a switch right 10.
“I messed up on the bottom jump, so I’m a bit disappointed in myself,” Woods explained. After finishing first in Friday’s qualifier, expectations for Woodsy to perform were certainly high. “But I’m still happy to have a bronze medal,” he said.
Canadian Alex Bellemare finished fourth, stomping a clean, technical run with solid style throughout.
2013 X Games Aspen Slopestyle Final Results
1. Nick Goepper — 94.00
2. Henrik Harlaut — 92.66
3. James Woods — 92.00
4. Alex Bellemare — 90.66
5. Andreas Håtveit — 90.33
6. Bobby Brown — 88.66
7. Alex Schlopy — 87.33
8. Joss Christensen — 85.00