The biggest event in skiing just wrapped up in Aspen, CO and much like last year, the Smith Ski Team showed why it is the best in the business. Between total and complete domination in the halfpipe and the Powder Magazine Video Awards, to a gutsy performance by Bobby Brown in Big Air and slopestyle, the Smith Team showcased its skills and the Smith product to a worldwide audience.
After becoming the only skier to earn 2 Gold Medals in one year at last years X Games, Bobby Brown was feeling the pressure all week long this time around. Everyone wanted a piece of Bobby during X Games. From corporate America and the nonstop TV cameras in his face, to his fellow competitors looking for their own taste of gold, this young skier had a lot on his plate.
Bobby finds a moment to relax during a hectic week.
Hobbled by injuries and the burden of trying to live up to his impossible performance of a year ago, Bobby fought through pain and pressure to compete in both slopestyle and big air. Narrowly missing the podium in slopestyle, Bobby found salvation in the big air event where his switch double misty 1440 earned him the silver medal.
In halfpipe, the Smith Ski Team showed up and put on a clinic for the rest of the world to see. Taking home the gold AND silver medals in both the men's AND the women's event, the level of domination by the Smith Athletes was insane. From the established superstars of the sport, to gritty performances by a couple of X Games rookies, the Smith Athletes took up all the prime real estate on the podium at the 2011 Winter X Games.
In the ladies event, it was Sarah Burke who took charge with a huge and stylish 900 that, coupled with back to back flairs and a nice corked 7, was enough to bring her back to the top of the X Games podium. Sarah has now won 4/5 X Games gold medals, proving she truly is on a completely different level. Brita Sigourney, competing in her first X Games ever, also stomped a nice 900 and took home the silver medal.
In the men's event, things got intense. The pipe was fast and everyone was going so big. Kevin Rolland, Smith Athlete and defending champion, fell on his first two runs, meaning he had to lay it all on the line and go for it on his 3rd and final run. With a crazed look in his eyes, the determined Frenchman dropped in for the final run of the night and sent himself to glory with a run that started off with a double flip 900, had a couple of huge switch hits in the middle, then finished off with an absolutely insane double cork 1260.
Everyone knew that with this run Kevin had claimed his second consecutive X Games Gold Medal (3 if you count last year's Euro X gold), and was indeed the sickest pipe slayer in all of the land.
Perhaps the biggest story of the night was the amazing performance of Smith Athlete and Aspen area native, 15 year old Torin Yater-Wallace. Torin, who has been coming up through the Smith ranks since 2005, let loose with an out of his mind performance.
Seemingly unfazed by the bright lights, huge crowds, and hundreds of TV cameras beaming his every move worldwide, Torin calmly dropped in for another run at his home hill of Buttermilk and absolutely killed it. Boosting massive 900's, a 1260, and a beautiful alley-oop double flatspin 900, a completely shocked Torin stood in disbelief as he knocked Simon Dumont out of first place. With only Rolland left to drop in, Torin was on the verge of winning X Games and it didnt even seem to matter when Rolland bumped him down to 2nd--Torin was in the middle of his wildest fantasy and became quickly mobbed by all of his friends and family. What a night!
With the park and pipe skiers enjoying their glory at the X Games, the Powder Magazine Video Awards (PMVA) also went down this weekend and once again it was the Smith Athletes that were awarded the highest honors. The PMVA's showcase and honor the best of this year's crop of ski films and it was Smith's Ian McIntosh who won the Best Line Award, for his highspeed descent of "Screen Saver", a steep and gnarly spine riddled wall in Petersburg, AK. Meanwhile, longtime Smith Ski Athlete Sage Cattbriga-Alosa continued his prolific run at the PMVA's taking home Best Natural Air for his unreal flat spin 360 over a 70 foot crevasse gap just after shredding a 50 degree spine wall directly above. This type of skiing, stomping huge tricks in steep and technical big mountain terrain, is what set Sage apart from the rest of the athletes as Sage was also awarded the nights most coveted award, Best Performance by a Male. Sage is now the only skier in the 11 year history of the PMVA's to win the Best Male 3 different times, proving that his dedication to skiing and documenting the sport at the highest level is unparalleled.
In the midst of this busy and exciting week, several members of the Team made time to visit with retailers and fans at the annual Smith Ski Team poster signing at D&E Sports. Smith ladies Rachael Burks and Sarah Burke joined Ian McIntosh and Sage for the signing, stoking out hundreds of fans with posters, good vibes, and wild stories from the mountains.
Whether flying high through the park, or turning in the best big mountain footage of the year, the Smith Ski Team came together in Aspen to celebrate the good times and collect all of the medals and awards they deserve for their contributions to this sport. X Games always goes down as one of the biggest weeks of the year and once again, the Smith Ski Athletes were right at the top, winning just about everything in sight.