Kim, Langland Podium at X Games
Hailey Langland (San Clemente, Calif.) started off the day for U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes at X Games in Aspen, Colo in the women’s snowboard slopestyle competition in great fashion with smart riding that put her on the podium with a second-place finish.
“I keep forgetting that I’m still coming back from an injury,” Langland said. “Today, the only thing wanted to do is have fun and gets some old tricks back on a course that I really liked. I ended up having the best practice I have had in a long time and went on to land both of my first two runs. I was so overjoyed. I realized we are at X Games and we can’t really leave anything behind. With all the girls throwing down, I decided to step up my run and it paid off miraculously. I accomplished way more than I thought I would accomplish, so I am extremely happy.”
An ecstatic Langland shared her thoughts looking forward to the 2019 FIS World Championships coming Feb. 1-10.
“I have never competed at a World Championships before and I’m pretty excited to see how the whole thing works and experience the event,” she said.
This was Langlands fourth X Games medal. After getting called up as an alternate, New Zealand’s Zoe Sadowski Synnott won the gold medal and Finnish rider Enni Rukajarvi claimed the bronze.
The men of the U.S. Snowboard Team took to the slopestyle course following the ladies competition and put on a show with a spectacular finish. Red Gerard (Silverthorne, Colo.) was in podium contention for a good portion of the competition utilizing the quarterpipe style take offs, while the rest of the field remained more traditional. Last-minute efforts from the likes of Finnish rider Rene Rinnekangas, and one of the most successful slopestyle snowboarders of all time in Canada’s Mark McMorris, knocked Gerard to fourth place.
“The final today was at an insane level,” said Gerard. “I was hyped to land a solid run and I’m always stoked to be here at X Games. Congrats to Mark and the boys for a great performance.”
U.S. Snowboard Pro Team member Judd Henkes (La Jolla, Calif.) landed a great first run with and 85.33. Henkes would finish seventh, but proved that he is a contender at elite events such as X Games. McMorris finished in the top spot with the gold, Rinnekangas the silver, and Norway’s Mons Roisland earned the bronze.
Competition continued on day three of X Games under the lights for one of the most impressive and flawless freeski big air competitions in the history of X Games. There were very few crashes and incredible progression. U.S. Freeski Pro Team member Alex Hall (Park City, Utah) landed himself in fourth, which was quite the feat considering the star studded field. Hall showed his ability to go big with a fearless approach landing his tracks effortlessly. Finishing just outside podium contention, look for Hall to come back hungry in 2020. Norway’s Birk Ruud earned the gold, Canada’s Alex Beaulieu-Marchand the silver, and Great Britain’s James Wood earned bronze.
Finally, the night would come to a close with the ladies snowboard superpipe final. The competition began with a heartfelt tribute to the most decorated snowboarder in history, male or female in Kelly Clark (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.). Emotions ran high as Clark’s video tribute played on the big screen and she dropped in for her final run in the X Games halfpipe.
“I’m just so thankful. It’s been such an incredible journey,” Clark said. “I mean who gets to do this, have a twenty-year competitive snowboard career. Thanks to all the ladies of who pushed me to be a better snowboarder each and every day. Thanks to my friends and family who stood by me while I sacrificed everything for a single dream. To Burton snowboards for the last twenty years. Jake and Donna, you have been more like a family then a company. To the U.S. Snowboard Team, they just believed in me on the days I didn’t believe in myself. Thanks to ESPN, for putting on events like X Games and showcasing women’s snowboarding in such a wonderful way. Thank you to all the fans because without you, there are none of us.”
Chloe Kim (Torrance, Calif.) earned her fifth X Games superpipe gold medal and seventh medal in seven appearances. Spain's Queralt Castellet walked away with the silver medal and Cait Xuetong of China with the bronze. There was some speculation prior to the competition that Kim would attempt her double cork 1080 for the first time in competition, but with not many completed runs by the rest of the field, Kim stuck to her stock run which as brought her so much success.
“I am super happy to win my fifth X gold,” said Kim. “I’m looking forward to World Championships and the rest of the contest season. I have some new tricks I’m ready to try when the conditions are right.”
The final day of X Games competition will feature men’s freeski slopestyle finals and men’s snowboard superpipe finals under the lights. Tune in to catch all the action.
HOW TO WATCH
Sunday, Jan. 27
2:00 p.m. - Men’s slopestyle - Aspen, Colo. - ESPN2
Sunday, Jan. 27
8:30 p.m. - Men’s superpipe - Aspen, Colo. - ESPN