words by Jeff Schmuck
photos by cko & Jeff Schmuck
Hello again from Aspen where day 3 of X-Games is well underway. The Women’s Superpipe finals has just wrapped up and the highly anticipated Big Air contest is about to go down.
A beautiful night for the beautiful ladies.
The ladies took to the pipe in fine form tonight under the lights at Buttermilk Mountain and were blessed with much more beautiful weather than the men. After an hour of solid warm-up the sun dipped below the Rockies and the lights began to beam, setting the stage for the women to continue to progress things on their side of the gender beam.
Practice saw the expected solidness of Sarah Burke, Grete Eliassen and Roz Groenewoud along with newcomer Mirjam Jaeger (owner of the coolest last name at X-Games), as Virginie Faivre, Jen Hudak and Jess Cumming worked to put together their runs.
As the comp began the ladies had two runs each to strut their stuff, and things got off to a bit of a rocky start with some gnarly crashes courtesy of Angeli VanLannen and Jen Hudak. Both girls decked out on their last hit and fell head first to the bottom of the pipe, and much to the delight and relief of tonight’s capacity crowd, stood straight up, smiled, dusted themselves off and proceeded back to the top for their next run.
Things then began to take an interesting turn as podium mainstays Grete Eliassen and Sarah Burke slipped up on their runs, leaving the door open for the other girls to take the lead. Mirham Jaeger took advantage of the rare and unique opportunity, putting together a super solid run with smooth airs and grabs complemented by a respectable amount of spinning that helped land her in the top spot.
As the last run began Jen Hudak did what she knew she had to do, putting together what she called the run of her life with some huge airs at the top capitalized with a big cork 7 on the bottom hit, landing her in second place behind Jaeger. Following her was the lovely and wonderful Grete Eliassen, who again failed to put together a run that the team of accomplished judges wanted to see, causing her to be left off the podium for the first time in recent memory by landing in fourth.
Don't be sad Grete...we still love you.
Hudak busts a move
As Hudak danced away in excitement at the bottom, the rest of the field made their way down the pipe without much change in the standings, until skiing’s golden girl Sarah Burke dropped in. Sarah dropped in hot and threw down two huge first hits followed by a 9 to a few alley-oops and a 5 and finished things off with a big 7, catapulting her past Jaeger into the first place spot with a score of …, earning her another X-Games gold medal to add to her growing collection.
All in all, a solid offering from the girls started the night off right and things are continuing to roll right along as Cali P is keeping the masses entertained as they eagerly await tonight’s skiing Big Air.