Words: T. Bird
Photos but not captions: Huggy
Tonight was a night of monumental triumphs and breakthrough performances in both the Winter X Games 14 Men’s Big Air finals and the Women’s Halfpipe finals. With a record-breaking crowd of over 32,000 people packed onto the slopes of Buttermilk, the excitement was as palpable as the riding was electric.
The ladies took to the pipe like it was already Vancouver as everyone looked toward the US Olympic Team of Gretchen Bleiler, Kelly Clark, Hannah Teter and Elena Hight to put on a show. Unfortunately for Elena, she couldn’t put a run together to get her on the podium but Hannah, Kelly and Gretchen most definitely did. Hannah Teter took the bronze while Gretchen Bleiler took the gold on her home turf. Though Kelly Clark went massive, as always, Gretchen turned up the amplitude and linked together what may be the best run she has put down in recent memory. With a gigantic Crippler, a frontside nine and huge straight airs, Gretchen took down Kelly and only snowballed the anticipation leading up to Vancouver. As it stands now though, it looks like the US Women’s team will more than likely sweep the podium at the Games. Though lest we forget that Torah didn’t compete tonight and we still don’t know what she’s sitting on. Only time will tell…
After the women wrapped it up in the pipe, the men took the stage on the Big Air jump. After an elimination round that booted Travis Rice, Eric Willett, Sage Kotsenburg, Marko Grilc and Tim Humphreys, Mikkel Bang, Torstein Horgmo, Tyler Flanagan, Eero Ettala and Halldór Helgason advanced to the final round.
Eero and T. Flan rode well and landed some insane tricks like double backside rodeos (Eero) and Cab 12’s (Tyler), but the top three spots went to Mikkel Bang (bronze), Torstein Horgmo (silver) and Halldór Helgason (gold). Mikkel’s switch backside 12 and frontside 10 put him in bronze medal contention while Torstein was close behind with a Cab 12 and switch backside 12, but it was Halldór who stole the show…and then some. After landing a double cork frontside 10 and receiving a perfect score (50 out of 50), Halldór went back up and stomped a double cork backside 12, only to be given another 50. That’s right. About halfway through the final round, Halldór–fresh out of his rookie season–had a straight up 100. The unanimous Rookie of the Year had run away with the top spot and it seemed as though he could barely believe it himself. Well, if you’re reading this Halldór, believe it man. It’s official. Halldór Helgason made the big show, and you’ll be seeing much more of him in the near future.
Stay tuned to snowboardermag.com for all the results from tomorrow’s Men’s and Women’s Slopestyle results, photos and video.
Winter X Games 14 Women’s Halfpipe Results
Saturday January 30, 2010
1. Gretchen Bleiler
2. Kelly Clark
3. Hannah Teter
Winter X Games 14 Men’s Big Air Results
Saturday January 30, 2010
1. Halldór Helgason
2. Torstein Horgmo
3. Mikkel Bang