“The win means so much to me! Everyone was absolutely ripping, that was the sickest contest I’ve ever been part of.” – Zoi Sadowski-Synnott
ASPEN, Colorado (PRWEB) January 22, 2022
Way to kick off the most epic weekend in winter action sports! Monster Energy congratulates its team of freeski and snowboard athletes on a strong performance on the first day of X Games Aspen 2022. On day one of the 25th edition of Winter X Games, Monster Energy riders claimed a total of 8 medals (1 gold, 4 silver, 3 bronze) across five contest events at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen Snowmass, Colorado.
The medal run started in the Jeep Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle final, where 20-year-old Zoi Sadowski-Synnott from Wanaka, New Zealand, took the win with a history-making run featuring double cork 1080 rotations in both directions. She was joined on the podium by snowboard icon Jamie Anderson from South Lake Tahoe, California, in second place. Anderson is now tied for most all-time medals in Winter X Games history at 20 medals overall and will also be competing in Saturday’s Women’s Snowboard Big Air event.
The podium storm continued with newly minted Monster Energy athlete Megan Oldham from Parry Sound, Canada rising to silver medal position in the Women’s Ski Big Air contest. In the creative Wendy’s Snowboard Knuckle Huck, 18-year-old Dusty Henricksen from Mammoth Lakes, California, took bronze with mind-boggling tricks under the floodlights. Next, the epic Women’s Ski SuperPipe showdown saw 32-year-old Brita Sigourney from Carmel, California, clinch the silver medal with a powerful run. Following closely on her heels, 17-year-old Monster Army rider Hanna Faulhaber took bronze in her X Games debut.
Capping off an action-filled Friday on Buttermilk Mountain, 23-year-old Ayumu Hirano from Murakami, Japan, took home the silver medal in the Monster Energy Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe final. In a major upset, his younger brother Kaishu Hirano rose all the way to bronze medal position in his X Games debut.
X Games Aspen 2022 marks the 21st consecutive competition at the high-profile resort in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Supported by Monster Energy as the official energy drink partner of X Games, this year’s event includes 100 of the world’s best action sports athletes competing for a total of 42 medals across 14 disciplines. The three-day spectacle features Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snowboard competitions in the disciplines of Slopestyle, Big Air, SuperPipe, and the innovative Knuckle Huck, alongside Special Olympics Unified competitions.
After allowing only athletes and staff last year, X Games Aspen 2022 welcomes spectators back to competition viewing and X Fest areas amid stringent COVID-19 safety protocols. This weekend features fan activations, a festival village and DJ performances such as Illenium on Friday night. ESPN and ABC are broadcasting 13.5 hours of live competition, with 7.5 additional hours streamed live on @XGames digital channels, and all 21 hours live via the ESPN App.
Here’s how the action unfolded for team Monster Energy on day one of X Games Aspen 2022:
Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle: Monster Energy’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott Takes Victory, Jamie Anderson Earns Silver as 20th Career X Games Medal
Setting off this year’s Winter X Games on Buttermilk Mountain, the Jeep Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle final featured eight of the world’s best freestyle snowboarders. The diverse field of riders hailed from Austria, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States.
In a 35-minute jam session, riders were looking to post the highest-scoring run on the Snowpark Technologies-designed course. As a true test of well-rounded riding skills, the downhill obstacle course featured a plethora of rails and jib obstacles at the top, leading into three consecutive jumps as the finish.
As the jam session got underway, a fresh wave of snowfall created slightly challenging conditions. But the riders, including defending X Games slopestyle gold medalist and Monster Energy athlete Jamie Anderson put on a spectacular showcase for the high-energy crowd in Aspen.
As the reigning FIS Slopestyle World Champion, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott from Wanaka, New Zealand, dropped in with a score to settle. At X Games Aspen 2021, the 20-year-old snowboard phenom walked away with the silver medal behind teammate Jamie Anderson. This year, the Kiwi ripper who already took first place at Dew Tour Copper Mountain 2021, set her sights on making history with a run that would feature 1080 rotations in both directions. Could she do it?
Turns out, she could. On her second run in the final, Sadowski-Synnott put down the history-making run no rider had landed before: In the rail section, she landed switch 270 on frontside boardslide, switch boardslide 270 pretzel and a technical frontside blunt 450 out. Sadowski-Synnott then barged into the jump section with a switch backside 900 mute followed by frontside double cork 1080 melon and a perfectly stomped backside double cork 1080 on the final hit for the win.
“The win means so much to me! Everyone was absolutely ripping, that was the sickest contest I’ve ever been part of,” said Sadowski-Synnott upon winning Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle gold at X Games Aspen 2022. “I’ve been working on this new jump combo for the whole year and I’m super happy to be able to put it down.”
Friday’s slopestyle victory marks the third X Games win in the discipline for Sadowski-Synnott, bringing her overall count to six X Games medals (3 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze). In 2021, the young rider defended her slopestyle title in the 2021 FIS World Snowboard Championships in Aspen. The previous year, her breakout season won ‘Rookie of the Year’ honors in the 2020 Snowboarder Magazine Awards. As a rookie pro, Sadowski-Synnott made history by winning Slopestyle bronze at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, ending New Zealand’s 26-year medal drought and becoming a national hero.
Sadowski-Synnott was joined on the podium by her Monster Energy teammate, 31-year-old snowboard icon Jamie Anderson from South Lake Tahoe, California. Known as the most-decorated female X Games athlete, Anderson was looking for a threepeat after claiming back-to-back slopestyle gold at X Games Aspen 2020 and 2021.
But as the action in the final intensified with several riders posting flawless runs, the ‘Queen of Slopestyle’ was facing difficulty putting a perfect line together. On her first two runs, the two-time Olympic gold medalist struck out early with uncharacteristic falls. Which ultimately made her comeback that much sweeter…
On her third run, Anderson put together a flawless routine starting in the rail section with a backside lipslide fakie on the down-flat kink rail, Caballerial boardslide 270 out and gap backside boardslide 270 sameway. She then attacked the jumps by ways of frontside double cork 1080 mute, backside rodeo 540 melon, and blasted a Caballerial double cork 1080 Indy on the final hit. And like that, Anderson bumped back from eight place into a strong second-place finish!
Friday’s silver medal ties Anderson with Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris for earning the most Winter X Games medals of all time at 20 medals (8 gold, 8 silver, 4 bronze). She will have another chance to medal in Saturday’s Women’s Snowboard Big Air event, where she drops in as the defending gold medalist from Aspen 2021. Recognized as a trailblazer of the sport, Anderson won the inaugural snowboard slopestyle competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and took gold in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. She is set to represent the USA at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Finishing closely off the podium, 17-year-old Kokomo Murase from Gifu, Japan, walked away with a solid fourth-place finish. On her first run, the Japanese rookie stoked the crowd with a flawless run featuring frontside lipslide pretzel, 270 on boardslide 270 off, and switch boardslide 270 in the rails, followed by frontside 900 melon, switch backside 900 mute and frontside 900 tailgrab. Ultimately, Murase wanted to raise the difficulty by adding a backside 1080 to her routine but was unable to get a clean landing.
Entering X Games Aspen 2022 as the youngest female competitor, Murase already ranges among the world’s top contenders. The young snowboard phenom made history at X Games Norway 2018 as the first girl to land a 1260 double cork in competition and became the youngest Winter X Games athlete ever to win a gold medal at age 13. She currently owns 5 X Games medals (1 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze). Watch out for Murase in Big Air on Saturday!
Women’s Ski Big Air: Monster Energy’s Megan Oldham Takes Home the Silver Medal
As the action continued on Friday, the focus remained on female riders in the Women’s Ski Big Air final. Eight riders competed in the 30-minute jam session, looking to build a score composed of the two highest-rated tricks. Countries represented in the high-stakes final included Canada, France, Switzerland, and the United States.
The high-energy crowd on Buttermilk Mountain celebrated every move as riders sent their best aerials over the 70-feet long gap obstacle. But with constant snow creating challenging visual conditions as well as problems building sufficient speed for high-rotation moves, it took nerves and consistency to prevail.
Dropping in as the Big Air silver medalist from X Games Aspen 2021, 20-year-old Megan Oldham proved that she has the bag of tricks and consistency to rise to the podium. After setting the foundation for a high score by landing a difficult leftside double cork 1260 safety grab (45 points), she followed up strategically by landing a rightside 900 tail grab (29 points) to climb into the lead position.
But as the session intensified, Oldham found herself leapfrogged by French rider Tess Ledeux who clinched first place by landing a double cork 1620. Although Oldham proceeded to land a clean rightside double cork 1260 safety grab (44 points) to bring her score to 89.00 points overall, she walked away with a strong silver-medal finish.
After taking the silver medal in Women’s Ski Big Air on Friday, Oldham now owns four X Games medals (1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze) from four X Games appearances. Despite her young age, the Ontario native already holds an FIS Freeski World Cup Crystal Globe. She made history as the first female Canadian athlete to earn a podium finish at X Games by claiming Women’s Ski Big Air gold at Norway 2020.
Finishing just a few points outside a podium spot, Monster Energy’s Maggie Voisin from Whitefish, Montana, returned from injury to battle the world elite at X Games Aspen 2022. In the high-pressure final, the 23-year-old started her run by stomping a perfect leftside double cork 1260 (39 points). On her fifth and final attempt, Voisin landed a leftside rodeo 900 safety grab (31 points) for a total score of 70.00 points and fourth place.
As part of Team USA, Voisin currently holds seven X Games medals (2 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze). After recent podiums at FIS World Cup events, will also compete in the Slopestyle discipline on Saturday, in which she holds two gold medals (X Games Aspen 2018, Norway 2020). Voisin is currently the only American female skier to win the Slopestyle discipline at X Games. Stay tuned!
Wendy’s Snowboard Knuckle Huck: Monster Energy’s Dusty Henricksen Takes Bronze
As the sun set over Buttermilk Mountain, the crowd was treated to a unique showcase of snowboard progression. In the creative Wendy’s Snowboard Knuckle Huck event, eight riders took turns ‘hucking’ their most stylish and technical maneuvers off the Big Air ramp’s roll-over, also called the ‘knuckle’.
The rider to beat was 18-year-old Dusty Henricksen from Mammoth Lakes, California, who dropped in as the defending champion. At X Games Aspen 2021, the American snowboard prodigy made a clear statement by taking double X Games gold in Knuckle Huck and Slopestyle as a rookie.
Heading into the session, Henricksen unleashed a trick that earned him 2021’s medal: Sliding a Half Cab tail press nosegrab over the edge of the knuckle, straight into a front flip down below. As other riders unveiled their progressive moves, Henricksen stayed on top of his game by landing a stylish Half Cab nose butter rodeo 720 that had the crowd on its feet. For his final move on Run 5, the Team USA rider upped the ante by spinning a Half Cab tail press into a double front flip(!) for the bronze medal.
Friday night’s bronze brings Dusty Henricksen’s X Games medal count to 3 medals (2 gold, 1 bronze). At X Games Aspen 2021, the snowboard phenom became the first snowboard rookie to take home double gold and also the first American to win Slopestyle since Shaun White in 2009. Henricksen will represent the United States at the Beijing Winter Olympics and also competes in Slopestyle at X Games Aspen 2022 on Saturday.
Women’s Ski SuperPipe: Monster Energy’s Brita Sigourney Rises to Silver-Medal Finish, Rookie Hana Faulhaber Earns Bronze in X Games Debut
Next, a spectacular air show unfolded under the lights in the highly anticipated Women’s Ski SuperPipe final. In the 35-minute jam session, eight of the world’s best vertical snowboarders were looking to post the highest-scoring run.
The center of the action was the legendary SuperPipe on Buttermilk Mountain with its 22-feet walls and 570 feet in overall length. The exuberant crowd celebrated outstanding performances by X Games rookies and veterans in a down-to-the-wire final.
When all was said and done, 32-year-old Brita Sigourney from Carmel, California, soared all the way into second place with a highly technical run in her twelfth X Games performance. Cheered on by the spectators, the Olympic bronze medalist took the silver medal on her final run, stringing together huge leftside 900 tail grab, alley-oop mute grab, leftside 1080 safety, alley-oop switch 360 Japan, leftside 540 and rightside corked 720 on the final hit.
Friday night’s silver medal brings Sigourney’s X Games record to 5 medals overall (3 silver, 2 bronze). She made history as the first woman to land a 1080 in halfpipe competition in 2012. She earned bronze in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics and will represent Team USA for the third time at the Olympics in Beijing this February.
One of Sigourney’s toughest competitors was Monster Army rider and X Games rookie Hanna Faulhaber from Basalt, Colorado. Throughout the high-energy final, the 17-year-old Team USA rider had the crowd on her side by blasting the highest aerials of the entire night in her first time competing at X Games.
Fresh off winning the 2021/2022 U.S. National Championship in Women’s Ski Pipe, Faulhaber navigated the SuperPipe at Aspen with amplitude and technical tricks. In her best run of the final, the hometown hero blasted a stylish tail grab aerial at over 18-feet high, followed by back-to-back leftside and rightside flairs, big leftside mute 720, switch rightside 360 and a massive leftside 900 safety grab on the final wall for the bronze medal.
Following her successful X Games debut, Faulhaber will represent the United States at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The young phenom already claimed second place at the FIS World Cup event in Calgary, Canada, in early 2022. In December 2021, the young US Ski Team barged into the spotlight with a breakout performance, finishing in third place Dew Tour Copper.
Also putting on a strong showing in the final, Vermont native and X Games veteran Devin Logan rose to the occasion. In her eleventh X Games, the 28-year-old freeski icon landed a perfect run including a leftside 900, huge rightside flair, rightside 540, leftside 720 and switch 540 on the final wall for a strong fifth place finish. Logan already owns two X Games medals (1 silver, 1 bronze) and won silver in Olympic slopestyle at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. On Friday, she announced that this would be her final X Games.
Monster Energy Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe: Monster Energy’s Ayumu Hirano Takes Silver Medal, Younger Brother Kaishu Hirano Bronze in X Games Debut
Saving the best for last, the Monster Energy Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe final stoked the capacity crowd on Buttermilk Mountain with a showdown for the history books. The eight-rider final, featuring athletes from Australia, Japan, and the United States, boiled down to a duel between two athletes: Australia’s Scotty James and 23-year-old Monster Energy rider Ayumu Hirano from Murakami, Japan.
Previous to competing at Aspen this weekend, Hirano had been on a winning streak that included first place in the FIS World Cup at Mammoth Mountain, first place at the iconic LAAX OPEN in Switzerland as well as the 2021/22 FIS World Cup Crystal Globe Trophy in Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe. The energetic crowd was in for a battle as the Japanese phenom started trading high-caliber halfpipe runs with James.
In his best run of the final, Hirano perfectly put together frontside double cork 1440 Indy, Cab double cork 1440 mute, frontside double cork 1260 Indy, backside double cork 1260 mute and frontside 1080 truck driver. But with James rising to the top of the leaderboard after an ultra-technical run of his own, Hirano needed a special response: He found it on his last run of the final with his notorious frontside triple cork 1440, landed perfectly for the first time in X Games competition history. But on the following wall, he lost the handle on a Cab double 1440 and had to settle for the silver medal in an epic showdown for the X Games history books.
Friday night’s silver medal brings Hirano’s record to 4 X Games medals (2 gold, 2 silver). At Dew Tour Copper Mountain in December 2021, he landed the world’s first frontside triple cork 1440 in competition. He also owns two Olympic silver medals in snowboard halfpipe (2014 and 2018). Hirano won the 2019 Japanese National Championships in skateboard halfpipe and competed in the Skateboard Park discipline, representing Japan at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
In a major upset, Hirano was joined on the podium by a rookie: No other than his 19-year-old brother Kaishu Hirano. Attacking the Aspen SuperPipe with high speed, the younger Hirano opened by blasting a massive method air at 19’4” on the first wall, followed by back-to-back double cork 1080 and Cab 1080, frontside double cork 1260 mute and backside mute 900 for the bronze medal. Amazing start for an X Games rookie!
No stranger to high-profile competitions, Kaishu Hirano was a runner-up at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Lausanne 2020. He will be representing Japan alongside his brother in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Stay tuned for more X Games Aspen 2022! Over the course of three action-packed days, 13.5 hours of competitions from X Games Aspen 2022 will be broadcast live on ESPN and ABC, supplemented by live coverage and behind-the-scenes content across digital X Games properties. Fans can also follow the action on ESPN’s online streaming services, with select disciplines available on X Games YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter, and all 21 hours of live competitions streamed on the ESPN App. X Games Aspen 2022 will be televised globally in 192 countries and territories to more than 500 million homes.
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