SNOWBOARDER’s X Games Aspen 2020 King And Queen Announced
words by Stan and Clavin
Yes, we are a bit late with our announcement… but we made up the award and there is no prize besides the title. The next major contest hasn’t even kicked off yet so we are actually still in the clear. (To be completely transparent, Dew Tour practice kicks off in the A.M. so we hit our deadline by just a few hours.) So for now, it is back to X Games. We’d be lying if we didn’t acknowledge the reality that we created the “Extreme King and Queen list” as more of a joke than a full-fledged contest where we actually count everyone’s mute grabs, but here we are. The people who took the time to read the list deserve an answer, and we are still getting the question “who won?” a week later. What happened to the 24-hour news cycle? Why are we being held accountable when actual new outlets are not? Nobody even bought us a single drink in Aspen. Move over, Wolf Blitzer… it’s time for an official King and Queen to be named. After a long deliberation in a cheap hotel room in Frisco…. we decided on a winner. Just like X Games, we are throwing the points out the window. We went with a freeform “jam” session to decide who we liked with the “overall impression.” We mean hell, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?
SNOWBOARDER MAG EXTREME KING: RYO “YO” AIZAWA
Ryo did in fact achieve a few things on this list. Most notably? He got last place in every event he competed in. Well, almost. Second to last in Big Air… but still. Now, this might not normally be something worth talking about, but in Ryo’s case, his riding and approach to the event was done without any regard for what the judges might be looking for and showcased what an immense and creative snowboarder he is. From the backside carve 180’s that nearly took out the follow cam skiers, to sinking his entire rail jam runs going for the biggest gap and most creative line… all the way to one of the most respectable doubles lines we would see all weekend, incorporating a board jam backside 180 with Rene at Knuckle Huck. That is what we want in a king. Helping others succeed and not giving a damn about the scoring (which was seemingly about as much as the judges cared at X Games). He was easily a rider favorite every time he dropped, which is why with no polling at all, we are crowning him the people’s champ.
Honorable mention: Zeb Powell
Had Zeb not won Knuckle Huck and stole the hearts of the ESPN fanbase, we probably would have deemed him the King. Preliminary discussions of the winner all pointed towards Zeb. Bottom line, the kid’s energy was infectious but once he got enough shine on his own, we kind of bumped him down to second. The majority of snowboardig world already knew he was on the come up, but had no idea he would break the doors down in one single contest like he just did. Zeb definitely got the most points from the list though as we were able to verify the following:
-Method in a contest… and even after a coffin slide backflip. Way to go above and beyond, Zeb.
-Stayed swishing during the afterparty, to be honest, we haven’t seen him in plain clothes since his gold.
-Bombdropped off the chairlift. Check Jake Canter’s insta for proof.
Other notable performances:
-Ethan Morgan poached Knuckle Huck and hit a street spot in Aspen, but wasn’t technically in X-games.
-Danny Davis does a frontside invert on Stan’s board during the final run of pipe jam.
-Rene Rinnekangas breaks his binding during Knuckle Huck and still jams Ryo’s board.
-Max Parrot exploding in practice, and still medaling like a boss.
-Mark Clavin talks about dropping in but never does.
-Kyle Mack let’s Clavin sleep in his closet.
SNOWBOARDER MAG EXTREME QUEEN: ANNA GASSER
When one person decides to throw caution to the wind and try a triple on basically every run of Big Air, completely destroying themselves, and then gets back to the top just to do a stylish frontside 3 for their final run? Well, that’s class. Though she wasn’t the most winningest of the weekend, she definitely put on for her city, which is somewhere in Austria. Anna also had a skier pushing her off the drop in to get speed for the contest. There doesn’t really need to be any more criteria for us to gas up Gasser, she passed the eye test with flying colors. Congrats, Anna!
Honorable mention: Klaudia Medlova
Kind of got robbed in big-air in our opinion. That double backside 10 is something to write home about, plus, Klaudia did the least underflips of any female competitor… she stilled grabbed mute, but from our memory it seemed like a bit less than the rest of the field.
Other notable performances:
-Japan sweep in Big Air. No, it is not a team sport, but that was pretty impressive. Remember when the USA used to sweep podiums?
-Jamie Anderson tied Shaun White for most winter X Games medals… oh wait, that was Mark McMorris. But Jamie got her 11th medal, and honestly, who needs 18? Once you go double digits does it even matter anymore?
– Zoi Sadowski-Synnott did a complete kit flip, going from Nitro and Red Bull to Burton and Monster in a matter of a year.
– Spencer O’Brien showing up, not competing, and just making fun of Stan ruthlessly in the bottom corral.
– No one getting Coronavirus.
X GAMES FINAL GRADES:
Just to keep with our judgmental state of mind, we figured now is the time if ever to grade the overall X Games.
Food: A+… Curry in the athlete lounge? Touche X Games.
Bathroom Access: F… we were denied access to a restroom because we didn’t have the right wristband.
Women’s Big Air: A+… We have said it for the past year now, women’s slope and big air are some of the most exciting contests going down right now.
Men’s Superpipe: Stan’s Conspiracy Theory… let’s think about this “Jam” format for a second. Scotty James and Yuto Totsuka have been neck and neck at just about every stop this year. In a jam format, if one rider (Yuto) goes 4/4 on full pulls and the other (Scotty) goes 3/4 with a victory lap… who rode the pipe better overall? In all actuality, Stan is just getting tired of Scotty wining every contest. Great for Scotty, tough for any other story lines. But, it is very easy to recap basically any pipe event, so for that, we thank you Scotty.
Superpipe Super Session: C+… solid thought, kind of odd follow through. Awesome that Taylor Gold got a gold, but it felt a bit redundant from the night before. Don’t get us wrong, more pipe contests are cool… Stan even participated in this one… but the criteria to win was reported a bit cloudy from the competitors and the combination between fun/stylish pipe tricks with the competive progression of today is a bit unrealistic. The crowd seemed to enjoy it (and was bigger due to the Thurs/Friday billing), but we would like to see more parameters on the riders so they can get weirder within them.
Aspen Bars: B… if you know where to go, there are semi-cheap places to party in Aspen. Also, no cover at Aspen Public House… thank you for that!
Men’s Slopestyle: B… Nothing too crazy went down. Darcy took home gold on his last run (Congrats Darcy!), but with no “score” to beat, the viewers at the bottom felt a bit lost after every consecutive drop not knowing how or why a competitor was placed amongst the ranks. It was a “jam” format, but is it really a jam format? If we are going to keep calling things a jam format, it should be a free-for-all where whoever gets to the top first drops. No mediating the amount of times a rider can drop… if they get to their sled faster, they should get more hits. And how amazing would it be if riders were just ducking in and out of the ropes going for any feature they felt? THAT IS THE JAM FORMAT WE WANT TO LIVE IN.
The Music: N/A… While we can acknowledge there are thousands coming to X Games to see the live performances… we did not go to a single damn one.
Cowboy Hat: A+… Colorado really loves the cowboy hat. Albeit, it was warmer than usual in Aspen, but we didn’t know the rancher appeal was so strong at X Games.
Danny and the Dingo: A+… They were back! And they brought Lil Jon with them. Namedrop? You betcha.
Women’s Slopetsyle: A… A is for Anderson. We filmed a movie with her last season, and if she does well, maybe the movie we made will sell more and we can make enough to not sleep in closets at X Games next year.
Skiing at X Games: F… C’mon. Henrik Harlaut though…A
Pacifico Being an X Games Sponsor But No Free Beer For Us: F… WHAT. IS. THAT. ALL. ABOUT?
Online Editor Mark Clavin Claiming He Was Going To Poach X Games And Not Following Through: F… WHAT. IS. THAT. ALL. ABOUT?
Rail Jam: C+… Don’t call it streetstyle if it is on a slopestyle course in ASPEN, COLORADO. To be fair, we would have been fine if it was even at street level at the resort, but it was at the top of the hill. Jesse Paul winning X Games gold though… A+.
This List Grading X Games: D… Barely covered anything. Terrible grammar. Didn’t even take assignment seriously.
Keep an eye out for Dew Tour content dropping all this week.