Ski action at the Winter X Games concluded last night with the Men’s Superpipe final, where Alex Ferreira defended his 2019 win for his second halfpipe gold medal. The night before, Kelly Sildaru won the women’s superpipe competition, her first of two gold medals over the weekend.
In the women’s contest on Saturday night, a group of interesting rookies from China and Russia joined the shredfest for the first time. Fenghui Li showed off a clean air to fakie and some nice switch skiing, Kexin Zhang unpacked some big trick combos like a 1080 to switch 900, and Valeriya Demidova showed she’s got some of the best grabs in the game.
However, the night ultimately belonged to Kelly Sildaru, who’s ultra-consistent 540, alley-oop and 900 game was enough to claim the top spot ahead of Canada’s Rachael Karker and last year’s champion Cassie Sharpe. Trailing Karker in the last run, Kelly put down back-to-back 900s, alley-oop 540s and a switch 900 to polish things off and reclaim the top spot. Karker occupied second place with a huge flair on her first hit and clean (though ungrabbed) cork 900s in both directions, while Sharpe—considered by many the leader in the field—had to settle for third, even after stomping multiple runs clean with a banger cork 1080 closer. Perhaps it was her lack of a big switch trick that kept her from rising higher in the standings.
In the men’s contest, five Americans, two Canadians and a New Zealander squared off to see who would be crowned this year’s king of the stunt ditch. Rookie Brendan Mackay jumped into the lead early with a solid run including a switch double 1080 and a massive cork 900 nose, while much of the rest of the field, including many of the top names—Noah Bowman, Aaron Blunck, Nico Porteous and David Wise—crashed on their first runs. Defending champ Alex Ferreira landed a run including four doubles, sliding into the second position behind Mackay.
On run two, Bowman again went down, apparently experiencing technical difficulties with his bindings, while Blunck landed a clutch run, hammering out four double corks. Birk Irving showed off a fancy alley-oop double flatspin 720, while Nico Porteous swung for a dizzying cork 16 but couldn’t put it to his feet. David Wise again struggled to land a run, while Ferreira went even bigger and better than before, sliding into first ahead of Mackay.
On the third run, Noah Bowman nearly put a run in the bag until he crashed on his final trick, a double cork 10. Mackay put down another run to solidify his position, and David Wise finally got a run down—probably too late, given the new “overall impression” format. In the fourth run, Aaron Blunck went into psycho mode, landing a run with five hits, all doubles, not bothering to grab his skis but still moving into first nonetheless. But Alex Ferreira had one more run left in reserve, powering through a massive double cork 1260, cork 900, dub cork 14 and a switch double 1080 japan to reclaim the top spot. The night’s final results: Ferreira in first, Blunck in second and Mackay in third.