On the last run of the night, Rolland knocks Gus Kenworthy off the top spot for the win in Aspen.
(Cover photo: Flip McCririck/ESPN Images)
It seemed like a sure thing—Gus Kenworthy had skied immaculately all night, stomping with authority the down-the-pipe switch double cork 1080 that every other competitor wished they could land. He’d occupied the top spot since his first run, even improving his score on the second run with what he called “the best pipe run I’ve ever done.”
Gus Kenworthy on his way to second place in Men’s Ski SuperPipe. Photo: Christian Pondella/ESPN Images
But as a famous player from another sport once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over,” and Kevin Rolland of France proved that definitively tonight when he knocked Kenworthy off the top spot on the last run of the night with an equally smooth down-the-pipe switch dub 10, left and rightside double cork 12s, and a massive double cork 10 (I still prefer to call it a Whiskey Flip to switch) on the last hit.
It was redemption for Rolland, who’d placed second the past two years, and hadn’t won X Games pipe since his winning streak in 2010 and 2011. And the victory was even sweeter because he shared the podium with his countryman Benoit Valentin, whose absolutely massive amplitude and back-to-back double cork 1260s was good enough for third, narrowly edging out American Alex Ferreira.
After a four-year hiatus, Kevin Rolland is back on top. Photo: Christian Pondella/ESPN Images
It seemed like the switch down-the-pipe 10 was the trick to be landed tonight—every competitor in the top three had one in his run. American competitor Aaron Blunck took a different take on the trick, opting for a highly unique switch down-the-pipe double cork 9, landing switch—but couldn’t quite hold on to the rest of his run. Other highlights included Byron Wells’ ultra-creative drop-ins—are the Wells the most stylish family alive?—and American Kyle Smaine going for broke with his loose-cannon style, but who also couldn’t quite put the final punctuation on his run. Meanwhile, American halfpipe heavyweights David Wise and Torin Yater-Wallace—the former with a nagging shoulder injury, the latter recovering from an illness—simply didn’t look in top form, coming in eighth and fifth respectively.
That’s a wrap on the Men’s Ski SuperPipe – stay tuned for more action from X Games Aspen 2016!
Switch left double cork 1080 safety
Right double cork 1260 mute
Left double cork 1260 mute
Right 900 tail
Left double cork 1080 Phil (Whiskey flip to switch)
Left double cork 1260 safety
Right cork 1080 blunt
Switch left double cork 1080 japan
Left alley-oop double flatspin 900 japan
Left double cork 1080 safety
Switch left cork 1080 tail
Left alley-oop flatspin 540 japan
Left cork 900 blunt
Right double cork 1260 safety
Left double cork 1260 blunt