JAN 30, 2017
Aspen, Colorado was the sight for the 2017 Winter X Games once again.
The fans braving the cold weather were treated to spectacular performances by some of the world's best freestyle skiers as these Winter X Games provided live TV coverage via two major networks throughout the entire week. The weather conditions certainly challenged the athletes to bring out their best and a Winter X Games newcomer made history. Overall, Atomic athletes scored four medals in the events Superpipe, Big Air and Slopestyle.
The week started out with the Women's Superpipe. Although the temperature was in the single digits, all of the world-class athletes were giving it their all in order to secure a spot on the prestigious podium. Japan's Ayana Onozuka, once again showed the skills and determination to secure herself a Silver medal. The first Japanese female skier to ever medal at the Winter X Games had already pulled in three medals in five X Games appearances. Along with many of the other competitors, she needed her second run in the ‘best of two’ run format. Ayana's ability to spin in both directions and hit the walls coming in backwards allowed her to win her third Winter X Games Silver medal.
Next up, the Men's Superpipe saw similar freezing conditions in front of the brave crowds cheering for their favorite athletes. Miguel Porteous, a young X Games newcomer from Wanaka, New Zealand entered the competition with a broken wrist. That didn't stop the young Kiwi from overcoming those tough conditions and a first run crash by posting the second highest score and securing his first X Games medal. His score of 81 points came from a very technical run including three doubles, meanwhile spinning in both directions.
“It's pretty gnarly out there!”
On Saturday night, the Women's Big Air event would be the first of it's kind to be held along with the Men's on the same massive jump. The hybrid jump measured 70' to the lip of the 150' landing and saw the athletes attempting countless tries in a 25 minute jam format. Lisa Zimmermann, another Winter X Games newcomer had been the only female to ever land a double cork, and was a clear favorite to win. The 20-year-old proved to be a force with several amazing jumps showing both technicality and style. Zimmermann, the three time winner at Nine Queens, came out swinging with a switch right 900 stale grab, scoring a 38 out of a possible 50. The competition would be set up for the best two individual scores added together, however those two jumps would have to be different. After achieving a lower score on her second attempt, Lisa decided to pull away from the other competitors after landing the first switch double cork 1080 in competition history. This amazing feat not only scored the highest single jump, but absolutely blew away the amazed spectators witnessing this incredible first. All it took was another decent score on a perfectly executed cork 900 truck driver in order to secure the very first Winter X Games Gold medal in the inaugural Big Air event. She also became the first German skier to medal at any Winter X Games.
However, Atomic's assault on the podium would not be finished. On the final day, the Women's Slopestyle event was held under perfect conditions on the Buttermilk Slopestyle course. Another Aspen Winter X Games newcomer, Tess Ledeux would also stun the Women's rankings, and find herself on the podium. The 15 year old from La Plagne, France had just come from her best result one week prior at a World Cup event in France. Tess had two runs down the very technical rail section and into the large jump section in order to secure the one run best score. Ledeux was the only female athlete to take the 15' box feature in the third rail section all of the way to the top, and then followed it with a stunning bio 720. All of this in her first run score of 90 out of 100 proved enough to secure the young up and comer's first X Games Silver medal. Atomic athletes may not have had many of the regular notable stars finding the podium in Aspen this year, but the talent of the newcomers can’t be ignored. The future looks very bright and Atomic is leading the way. Congratulations to all the competitors and may they continue to find more success in the future.