Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle
Starting things off with a bang, the Jeep Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle final saw Monster Energy’s Jamie Anderson successfully defend her gold medal from X Games Aspen 2020 against an elite field. In a 35-minute jam session, the eight finalists were looking to score their best runs, but the stakes were high.
The course was more challenging and technical than ever with the addition of two quarter pipe transition obstacles at the bottom. Plus, overcast skies created challenging light conditions, especially on big jumps.
As riders struggled to complete flawless runs, Jamie Anderson cemented her victory on her first run: The two-time Olympic gold medalist worked the rail section with a backside lipslide the long rail, tailslide fakie the rainbow rail and gap-out Cab 270 to backside lipslide fakie the kinked rail. Blasting into the jump section, she spun a massive Cab double underflip 900 Weddle, frontside 540 truck driver, switch backside 180 Indy, and alley-oop backside 720 stalefish over the transition hip.
Taking her last run as a victory lap – and throwing in a backside rodeo 540 stalefish for good measure – Jamie Anderson claimed her seventh Slopestyle gold at X Games.
“Honestly, I’m speechless! I’m so proud of all the girls and grateful to still be here. Huge thanks to ESPN and all my sponsors for helping me be able to do what I love,” said Jamie Anderson upon winning Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle gold in Aspen on Friday.
Jamie Anderson now owns 18 medals total (7 gold, 7 silver, 4 bronze) and is single-handedly the most decorated woman in snow sports. And here’s some trivia: Anderson is now the oldest Snowboard Slopestyle gold medalist (male or female) at age 30 and also remains the youngest woman Snowboard Slopestyle gold medalist (age 16, 2007) in X Games history.
Anderson’s biggest threat in Friday’s final was her Monster Energy teammate Zoi Sadowski-Synnott. The 19-year-old rookie from Wanaka, New Zealand, came in as a major contender after taking Slopestyle gold at X Games Norway 2020. She attacked the skateboard-inspired course with technical tricks but needed a big finish after remaining stuck in third place.
Sadowski-Synnott found it on her fourth and final run: In the rail section, she dropped a 50-50 to boardslide transfer, lipslide to fakie, and switch front boardslide 270 out. When it was time to go big in the jump section, she sent a massive switch backside 900 Indy, backside 900 Weddle, Cab 540 underflip, and ultra-slowly rotated crippler over the final transition obstacle to bump into silver medal position.
Hailed as one of the drivers of snowboarding’s progression, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott now owns four X Games medals (2 gold, 2 silver). Named ‘Rookie of the Year’ in the 2020 Snowboarder Magazine Awards, she made history by winning Slopestyle bronze at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, ending New Zealand’s 26-year medal drought and becoming a national hero. On Saturday, Sadowski-Synnott is headed into the Women’s Snowboard Big Air final fresh off a win at the 2021 FIS World Cup Big Air season opener in Kreischberg, Austria.
Missing the podium on Friday, Japanese snowboard wunderkind Kokomo Murase did not find the run she wanted. The owner of five X Games medals at only 16 years of age put down solid runs with boardslide 270 and switch blunt same way in the rail section. Her runs also featured clean Cab 900 tailgrabs and frontside 900s in the jump section. But the bronze medal winner from X Games Aspen 2020 could not get a handle on her final backside 900 over the hip and had to settle for fifth place.
Snowboard Knuckle Huck
The nighttime action at X Games Aspen 2021 started with a fan favorite event: Wendy’s Snowboard Knuckle Huck. Dedicated to fun and creativity, the 20-minute jam session is judged on overall impression. Riders ‘huck’ technical and stylish moves off the Slopestyle jump ramp’s roll-over, also called the ‘knuckle’.
In previous years, the huck fest was an all-boys club – but that changed on Friday night! Monster Energy’s Jamie Anderson made history as the first woman to compete in Snowboard Knuckle Huck at X Games. The snowboard icon showed that she can slide and butter with the best of them, putting on a consistent show including butter 180 hand drag to backside 360, hand drag backside 540, and switch butter 180 to switch 180 out.
Further standouts included Japanese upstart Ryo Aizawa using the course in the most unpredictable ways, as well as Sebbe de Buck from Belgium nailing a stalefish Miller flip hand drag.
As the trick level escalated in the free-flowing session, one rider stole the show in his X Games debut: 17-year-old Dusty Henricksen from Mammoth Lakes, California. Bringing the heat straight out the gate, Dusty sent fakie pop underflip, Cab 180 tail press into a front flip, fakie nose-press nollie Cab 540 underflip, and a stylish layback hand drag to pretzel backside 180 over the knuckle to convince the judges.
The X Games rookie claimed gold – a stylized brass knuckle chain – in the winner-takes-all event. Friday’s gold marks the first X Games medal for Dusty Henricksen, who turned heads in 2020 with his surprise Slopestyle win at the U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain and stomped a never-been-done backside quad cork 1800 at the U.S. Open. Better watch out, the competition might also get “dusted” in Snowboard Slopestyle and Big Air when Dusty returns.