Words by Jeff Schmuck
Photos by John Vandervalk
Video by Christian 'Cheech' Sander
The final day of the skiing side of Winter X Games in 15 in Aspen, Colorado is in full swing, as Men's Ski Slopestyle Finals just wrapped up under perfect bluebird skies and a dramatic photo finish.
Eight of the cream of the crop of the skiing slopestyle world laid the incredible course on Buttermilk Mountain to waste this afternoon, proving that the level of competition skiing is without question at an all time high.
In eighth place was Gus Kenworthy, who after qualifying second in Thursday's prelims came out swinging today, with a left double cork 12 to switch right double cork 10 to attempted switch left double 10, but unfortunately flew too high for his landing gears to deploy.
Taking seventh was the style scientist himself, Phil 'B-Dog' Casabon, who was unloading some of the biggest airs of the afternoon with switch 10’s and 12’s (along with bringing his street skills to the rail section), but had some issues on each of his runs.
In sixth was the Swiss sensation Elias Ambühl, who stomped a stellar first run that included three doubles in a row (which was unquestionably the theme of the day), but failed to better it on his second attempt along with his third, where he went down hard on the second jump.
Scoring fifth was the perma stoked Henrik 'E-Dollo' Harlaut, who has been getting real dirty on the course all week long, and today was no exception, with a silky smooth switch right 9 to double cork 12 to switch double 10.
Just missing the podium by a mere .76 points was last year's gold medalist Bobby Brown, who absolutely destroyed the course on his first run with a switch left double 9 to right dub cork 12 to his patented switch left double misty 12, but like Ambühl failed to better his initial score, and got bumped out of the bronze medal position by Andreas Håtveit's last run.
Bobby Brown, laying one out for the crowd below...
Taking home that nice bronze piece of hardware to his homeland of Norway was the aforementioned Andreas Håtveit, who after throwing a misty 450 off the rainbow rail was one of the few competitors to skip the cannon box and opt for four jumps as opposed to three, with a switch right 10, to switch left 12, to a deep left double cork 10 double japan to right double cork 12 at the finish line.
In second was first time and long overdo X Games podium resident Russ Henshaw, who after dominating the field in prelims continued his mission this afternoon with a left double cork 12 to switch left double 9 to right double cork 12 that were almost, but not quite as big as his silver-tinged smile at the bottom.
And at long last, fulfilling his childhood dream today was Sammy Carlson, who after years of being a bridesmaid but never a bride was bestowed the gold medal in X Games Ski Slopestyle after laying down the most mind boggling and flawless run performed all week. With a 360 hand drag over the joystick feature, 450 on to 630 off the rainbow rail, right side double flatspin 9, switch left double 9 to left double cork 10, Carlson achieved his #1 goal in life with amplitude, style and an indescribable feeling that he'd been dreaming about for many, many years.
Congratulations to Carlson, Henshaw and Håtveit, and stay tuned for our final piece of coverage on the skiing side of Winter X Games 15, which will surely culminate in the wildest way possible later tonight with Skiing Big Air. Be sure to watch it all go down live on ESPN, because if last night's Snowboarding Big Air was any indication of what we're about to see, you won't want to miss it.
1) Sammy Carlson - 93.33
2) Russ Henshaw
3) Andreas Håtveit - 90.00
4) Bobby Brown - 89.33
5) Henrik Harlaut - 86.33
6) Elias Ambühl
7) Phil Casabon - 58.66
8) Gus Kenworthy - 49.66
NSTV X Games - Men's Slopestyle Finals & Big Air