In a normal halfpipe contest, you might get the chance to see a run with double corks in all four directions, if you get really lucky. At tonight’s Men’s Ski Superpipe at the 2022 X Games, we saw one on the second run of the night—and things only went up from there.
It was a showdown for the ages in the Aspen halfpipe as a crack team of halfpipe specialists went head to head in a 35 minute showdown. The pipe had a great cut and the conditions were ideal, making for the highest-level halfpipe contest seen yet in skiing.
A fired-up crowd was on hand to witness the final event of the 2022 Winter X Games. Photo: Eric Lars Bakke/ESPN Images
In the first run, Miguel Porteous kicked things off early with the aforementioned all four doubles, the gold standard of halfpipe competition: switch right, switch left, forward right, forward left. But Birk Irving put down a monster run of his own to take over the lead, followed soon after by Aaron Blunck with all four dubs of his own. After Run 1 Irving led the pack, followed by Blunck and Porteous.
Ben Harrington of New Zealand was the contest's lone rookie. Photo: Rich Storry/ESPN Images
Run 2 saw Blunck take over the lead, lacing his run of double cork after double cork with everything grabbed. Miguel’s brother Nico Porteous, the defending champion after a big win last year, also bumped into podium contention, stomping two switch doubles into his signature back to back double cork 16s. Meanwhile, veteran competitors David Wise and Gus Kenworthy both struggled to land rightside double 12s on their final hits.
Switch-skiing pipe specialist Noah Bowman entered the chat on Run 3, delivering a huge run including a flawless switch double 1260 and an absolutely massive switch double 1080 to slide into third place. But it was old man David Wise himself who stepped up to deliver next, finally nailing his back to back double cork 12 mutes with amplitude to jump into second place.
When the going gets tough, David Wise gets going. A third-place finish showed that the grand master of halfpipe skiing isn't done yet. Photo: Joshua R. Gately/ESPN Images
Entering Run 4, Blunck held the lead with Wise in second, Porteous in third, and Bowman and Irving on the outside looking in. Bowman again delivered a beautiful run that only he could land, but toned it down on his last hit, opting for a right 10 rather than dub 12, and stayed in fourth place. Birk Irving also got another run down, but couldn’t advance.
Nico Porteous kicks off his run with a smooth switch right 900 mute. Photo: Joshua R. Gately/ESPN Images
The night’s final run went to Nico Porteous, who’d struggled earlier to land his brand-new secret weapon: a switch left double cork 1440. Going for broke, Porteous stomped the switch 14 clean, then went straight into his left and right dub 16s for what is doubtless the most technical halfpipe run landed yet by a skier. A massive alley-oop double flatspin sealed the deal: Porteous jumped up into first to successfully defend his gold medal. Blunck would have to satisfy himself with second, while David Wise finds himself on an X podium yet again, a healthy 12 years after his debut at the Games.
The evening also saw a farewell appearance from Gus Kenworthy. A longtime X competitor with five medals to his name, Gus bowed out of his X career to cheers from the crowd as he put down an (almost) clean run on his last attempt—hoodie pulled up around his helmet à la Jossi Wells.
Gus gets props from the crowd after what looks to be his final X Games appearance. Photo: Gabriel Christus/ESPN Images
Gus put on a fine show, although he struggled to land his last-hit rightside double cork 12. Photo: Joshua R. Gately/ESPN Images
This year’s X Games saw its fair share of controversy and disappointments, from judging confusion at the Men’s Big Air to a lackluster day at the Men’s Slopestyle. This halfpipe contest—a massive showing from the world’s best, all skiing their best—was the antidote.