Nick Goepper (pictured here in Sochi) won his third consecutive X Games slopestyle gold medal. (Getty Images-Mike Ehrmann)
ASPEN, CO (Jan. 24. 2015)—The bluebird skies of the previous three days at X Games turned to low-light, cloudy conditions on Saturday in Aspen, Colorado. The bad visibility made an already challenging ski slopestyle course more difficult for the men’s and women’s finals. In the end, Nick Goepper (Lawrenceburg, IN) won his third consecutive X Games slopestyle gold medal and Olympic champion Joss Christensen (Park City, UT) took home the silver. On the women’s side, Keri Herman (Breckenridge, CO) also won silver.
After the elimination round on Thursday afternoon, Goepper thought his streak of slopestyle gold medals at X Games had come to end. The U.S. Freeskiing team member came to Aspen with his mind set on a three-peat; however, Goepper finished in ninth place in the eliminations—one spot off qualifying. An unfortunate injury to Canada’s Alex Beaulieu Marchand meant that Goepper was asked to fill in. He took advantage of the opportunity, stomping his first run through the slopestyle course and posting an eventual gold medal-winning score of 93.66.
“I am really bummed for ‘ABM’ [Alex Beaulieu Marchand], and I wish him a speedy recovery. I feel really fortunate to have qualified in that ninth spot and just barely have scooted in [to the finals],” said Goepper. “This is the best win I’ve had at X Games. The first one was pretty special, but this one ranks the highest.”
Goepper solidified his third consecutive X Games gold medal with a lethal combination of technical rail tricks and massive airs off the three jumps. He stomped a triple off the “money booter”—the first triple landed in a slopestyle competition this season—to put an exclamation point on the three-peat. Behind Goepper on the podium were Christensen in second and Canada’s Alex Bellemare won bronze.
The female skiers took to the slopestyle course after the men finished. The grey light, firm landings, and hard crashes during the men’s competition foreshadowed what was to come with the women. On her third and final run, Herman crashed and knocked her head, preventing her from bettering her first run’s score of 86.66. Sweden’s Emma Dahlström handled the challenging conditions, stomping her second run through the slopestyle course. She was awarded a score of 90.33, and won her first X Games medal. Behind the gold medalist were Herman and Canadian Dara Howell, winning the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Prior to 2015, Christensen’s highest finish in X Games was a seventh.
The win gave Goepper his fourth X Games medal. He has won three consecutive gold medals in slopestyle and he won a silver medal in the same event in 2012.
Sweden’s Henrik Harlaut was unable compete after crashing in his first run of the finals. Harlaut crashed while attempting a triple on the second jump, fracturing his collarbone and suffering a concussion.
QUOTES Nick Goepper, X Games ski slopestyle gold medalist I think that X Games brings out the best in guys. I also want to give a shoutout to the families of Ronnie Berlack and Bryce Astle [the late U.S. Ski Team athletes killed recently in an avalanche]. May those guys rest in peace.
I am really bummed for ABM and I wish him a speedy recovery. I feel really fortunate to have qualified in that ninth spot and just barely have scooted in [to the finals]. I had a lot of people telling me I received a gift [by being allowed to replace injured Alex Beaulie Marchand of Canada]. This is the best win I’ve had at X Games. The first one was pretty special, but this one ranks the highest.
Joss Christensen, X Games ski slopestyle silver medalist We had a lot of practice this morning. The landings are a bit firm, especially on this last jump, and so I tried to pace myself for the finals. I knew we were going to have three runs in the finals and so I went for it in all three runs. I was really stoked to put my first and second runs down. On my last one I was going for a rail trick and didn’t get it. I knew it was over at that point, and that I wasn’t going to be able to take out Nick. I am glad that we were able to have the contest today even though there was bad light, and I am so excited to have an X Games medal. I always wanted one.