The Top 10 Ski Moments From X Games History To Get You Hyped For This Weekend
Triple corks, big air and Candide Thovex
It's here! The Winter X Games kicks off again today and we are pumped!
The televised shredathon is, quite simply, the biggest contest in the world. OK, OK so the Winter Olympics might be bigger, but they only happen every four years.
Plus if you asked any professional slope of pipe freestyle skier which competition they aspired to as a kid, I can almost guarantee they’d say the Winter X Games. And whatever you think about its more nakedly commercial aspects, its longstanding ‘mainstage’ status makes it the ultimate contest for the world's best freeskiers.
The televised shredathon is, quite simply, the biggest contest in the world.
Looking back over the years, the event has given us some truly memorable and ground breaking freeski moments. I could literally sit here all week and list the endless number of highlights that have gone down as either special, or just straight up rad, in the event’s 18 years lifetime.
However, I kind of want to watch the competition later this week, so this bite sized list of unforgettable freeski moments in Winter X Games history will have to do…
Cusson's (Not So) Big Air
The first ever Winter X Games Freeski Big Air event took place at Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado in 1999.
Taking top honours was JF Cusson, one of the original ‘godfathers’ of freestyle skiing. His disgusting (in the literal sense) switch 720 was enough to claim this historic X Games gold.
But check out the size of that jump! It certainly puts the progression of the sport into perspective when you look at the kickers that these guys throw themselves off now…
Candide Conquers All
In an era when the infant sport of freeskiing was largely driven by north Americans, one bold Frenchman stood out from the crowd.
Like a latter-day Napoleon Candide Thovex regularly beat the yankees and canucks in their own back yard and went on to completely dominate the sport for a period, as untouchable in battle as Bonaparte himself.
This 2007 run, taken from the days of his high-imperial pomp (a period when helmets weren't compulsory) earned him 95/100 and the gold medal. Comment aimez-vous ces oignons you feelthy Americains?!?
Is it a bird?! Is it a plane?! No, it’s 2009 Big Air gold medallist Simon Dumont getting it done in unbelievable style.
Battling it out against Double Cork magician Jon Olsson, Dumont drops into his gold medal run with a cheeky frontflip up top, before exploding off the kicker into a jaw dropping Superman Double Frontflip to send the crowds hysterical.
Check the Mega Mo replay in the video to see the trick slowed down – selfie sticks ain’t got nothing on that extension.
Mr Brown Puts It Down
Although now a freeskiing household name, Bobby Brown was only just breaking onto the scene by the time the 2010 Winter X Games came around.
Coming off the back of a number of strong finishes in other competitions, Brown had a good time in the Big Air before doing this on the slopestyle course the following day - proving to the world that he truly is a master of spinning and style.
Special mention has to go out for his Misty 7 handplant over the hitching post feature - extra points for creativity.
But while this was memorable, it was nothing to what had happened the night before...
The All Time Kicker Session
Held by many freeskier professionals and fans alike to be the most progressive jump session of all time, the 2010 Winter X Games Big Air laid the path for the triple cork showdowns we see nowadays.
This particular session saw some ‘Winter X Firsts’, with TJ Schiller landing the first ever Double Cork 1620 and Jossi Wells stomping the fuck out of a Switch Double Cork 1440.
However, it was that man again, Bobby Brown, coming out on top with his nuts Switch Double Misty 1260 and 1440 Mute Grab stunners. Definitely one of the most electric events in snowsports history.
Roll on Rolland
The 2010 Winter X Games - the event that just keeps giving. Away from the slopestyle and big air contests, the Frenchman Kevin Rolland did this in the pipe.
"That's the best halfpipe run I've ever seen," says the commentator and at the time he wasn't wrong. This second run earned monsieur Rolland the highest score ever recorded in men's superpipe history - 95.00.
It was the first time any pipe rider had combined three double cork rotations in their run, going upside down more times than he had hits on both walls combined - a dizzying domination.
Burke's Work Pays Off
The following year, Winter X Games Europe treated us to some creative genius in women’s superpipe, as the late, great Sarah Burke scored 95.33 with a run including a corked 900 and alley-oop flatspin 540.
This was Sarah’s last X Games medal before her tragic death a week before the Winter X Games 2012. She was a true freeski goddess and one of the great pioneers of the sport.
Having just learned of the heart-breaking loss of Sarah Burke, the snowsports community came together at the 2012 Winter X Games to perform this moving ceremony, in remembrance of her life and the positive effect she had on all those she influenced and inspired throughout her life.
Female freeskiing quite simply wouldn’t have reached the heights it is at today without her remarkable contribution to the sport. May she forever ski in peace.
Triple the Buttery Goodness
If you weren’t already aware of Henrik Harlaut, you’d probably have to see him to believe him.
He’s a 5’5" Swede with dreads whose love for Wu-Tang is almost as big as his buck-toothed grin. At Winter X Games 2013, he made history by landing the first ever nose butter triple cork 1620.
Most impressive of all, this raw footage proves Henrik wasn’t even thinking about doing this trick before dropping in for his gold medal hit. The voice you hear psyching Henrik up is the Armada ski boss and legend, Tanner Hall.
You can also hear Henrik say how ill it’d be to win the event without doing a triple, but we for one are glad he pulled this trick out the bag – fucking dope
The Norwegian Viking is King
Having won four medals at Winter X Games since the 2008 competition, 2014 was Andreas Hatveit’s last ever time gracing the field before his retirement from competitive skiing.
Andreas went out with a bang, picking up a bronze medal as the 2014 slopestyle event. Watching it live, you could just see how stoked all the riders were for him - a freeskiing innovator showing the young guns how it’s done right up until the end.
But then I guess it’s no real shock though that Andreas has reached the level he is at when his back garden looks like this…