The 2020 X Games Norway wrapped up last Sunday, March 8 in Hafjell with the men’s and women’s ski slopestyle competitions. With a sick rail course and a hungry field, the men put on a show for the ages in Hafjell, while the women struggled to land their double corks in challenging conditions.
The first run in the women’s contest kicked off with clean showings from Megan Oldham, Isabel Atkin, Jennie-Lee Burmansson, Maggie Voisin and Mathilde Gremaud. Burmansson put her clean style on display with a blind surface swap and a polished front swap, front 2 out in the rails, while Gremaud took an early lead with a tech front-swap rail transfer and a right rodeo 900 into switch left 720 in the jumps.
Giulia Tanno and Johanne Killi entered the podium hunt on their second runs. Tanno put down a clean rail run a including frontside 450 out and a front swap to switch, followed up by a switch 900 tail into a double cork 1080 stomped clean on the last jump. She moved briefly into first, but was quickly bumped out by Maggie Voisin, who bagged both switch and forward 270 on, 270 out in the rails and a switch left 900 to right cork 900 tail in the jumps.
The standings stayed static on Run 3 as a heavy fog moved into the top section of the course. Voisin tried to unpack her double cork 12 but couldn’t stomp it, while Johanne Killi came up short on her try at a switch double 10. On the fourth and final run Tanno, looking to advance from third place, looked for a switch 1080 but only got a 900 around. Voisin again couldn’t get her double cork 12, and Gremaud couldn’t stomp a switch double 10 in a last-ditch bid for the gold. Johanne Killi ended the show with a banger, putting down a switch double 1080 on the last jump to slide into fourth place. After three runs in sometimes challenging conditions, Maggie Voisin walked away with her second X Games slope medal, followed by Mathilde Gremaud in second and Giulia Tanno in third.
Final results, 2020 X Games Norway Women's Ski Slopestyle
I spent quite a few words hating on the new overall impression format that debuted at X Games Aspen this year. While I still maintain that the new format makes it harder for judges and less transparent for viewers, the X Games Norway slopestyle delivered exactly what this format promises: a variety of unique, entertaining runs that made for a diverse, highly watchable spectacle. The playful course design played a big part, offering the potential for endless creative variations in the rail section, while having two, rather than three bottom jumps allowed competitors to spread out their big air tricks between runs.
Ultimately, it was the creativity among the skiers that made this such a fun contest to watch. From Jesper Tjäder taming the whole elbow rail mid-course to Fabian Bösch sliding a rail uphill, this slopestyle was one of the best shows of the season.
A lot of that was thanks to Jesper Tjäder, who stepped in as an alternate for Henrik Harlaut, who was nursing some bruises from Saturday’s Big Air and Knuckle Huck contests. From a massive bomb-drop back 450 out of the ledge rail, flairs in the QP, an insane pretzel double cork and most notably, one of the most tech rail transfers ever completed in a contest, Jesper kept viewers glued in their seats on his way to a deserving fourth place finish on a course made for his creative style.
Swiss slopestyle powerhouse Fabian Bösch laced his own rail lines and blasted out matching left and right triple cork 1620s on his first two runs. With an awesome uphill railslide on his clean third run, and still throwing down in the jumps despite a crash on his final run, Fabian was able to keep a hold on third place.
Alex Hall recovered from a loose first run to put down a clean second with signature smoothness in the rails and a nosebutter double cork 12. He upped the ante on his third go, lacing up a switch 4 on and nosebutter 4 on in the rails and a switch double 1440 buick in the jumps. Always one to keep it creative, A-Hall mixed it up on his last run with clean tokyo drift tricks into the last two rails, before stomping a double cork 16 buick with authority to lock in second place.
But the day’s winner, without much dispute, was Andri Ragettli. Though his rail sections may not have been as creative as some other riders, he crushed a different 450 on, 270 out variation in each of his runs, then proceeded to run the full gamut of his trick bag in the jumps: switch double mistys to the left and right, forward left and right doubles from 12 to 16, and a stomped triple cork 1620 safety to cap it off. With four squeaky-clean runs filled with variety, Andri delivered just what the judges were looking for, and walked away with the gold medal.
Behind Jesper Tjäder in fifth place, Øystein Bråten showed off polished rail skills with big tricks like a front swap, front swap back 270 (an elusive) and a front swap, back swap to switch on the transfer rail. But he kept it noticeably mellower in the jumps, combining right 900s with a switch double cork 14 tail.
The other Norwegian in the running, Birk Ruud put down one big run including a switch disaster 450 to the down-flat-down rail and a frontside 360 swap on the next rail, followed by left and right double 14s. But he faltered with some errors in his last two runs, landing in sixth place overall. Behind him were Antoine Adelisse, who had trouble landing the big jump tricks that won him gold in Big Air on Saturday, and Colby Stevenson, who put down some of the most technical rail tricks of the whole contest but couldn’t combine them into a clean run.
That’s a wrap from X Games Norway, with Ragettli and Voisin on top in Slopestyle, Antoine Adelisse and Megan Oldham victorious in Big Air, and Alex Hall taking the Knuckle Huck!
Final results, 2020 X Games Norway Men's Ski Slopestyle