Last night Henrik Harlaut won his 6th X Games gold medal and 12th medal overall, surpassing Tanner Hall to become the winningest skier in X Games history.
Henrik accomplished the feat during the Men’s Ski Big Air finals, going 5 for 5 on his tricks including several we’ve never seen from him before, like a forward triple cork 1620 mute (without his signature nose butter) and a switch double bio 1620 safety. All in all he stomped four different 1620 variations, with a switch triple 12 mute thrown in for good measure.
Coming in second was last year’s winner Birk Ruud, who landed an incredible triple cork 1800 mute on his last jump to break into the podium. Birk was the night’s spin-to-winner, doing no less than four 1800s during the 25-minute jam session.
Birk bumped Switzerland’s Andri Ragettli into the third-place position. Andri came packing with his own set of 1620s—forward double with a tail grab, forward triple with safety to reverse mute, switch double misty, and finally, the astonishing switch triple misty with a safety grab.
It was a throwdown in rare fashion in Aspen on Friday night as competitors sought to wow the judges and the crowd alike. With the new “Overall Impression” format, riders no longer needed to land both regular and unnatural tricks, leading many skiers to leave their unnatural tricks at home. Both Harlaut and Ragettli only spun in one direction, for example, while Ruud included a token rightside spin in his repertoire.
For a minute it looked as if French styler Antoine Adelisse, who’s been on a tear lately, would make the podium as well. He started strong with a switch pre-nose triple cork 1440, and backed it up with his massive and flawless triple cork 1620 mute. After Andri Ragettli landed his own triple cork 1620 with a two-grab combo, Antoine went all out and grabbed not twice, but three times during his own triple, going from mute, to safety, to tail. Coming up at next year’s X Games: five different grabs in one trick!
Elias Syrjä went five for five on his tricks, each one more progressive than the last: switch triple cork 1440 screamin’ seamen mute, pre-safety triple cork 1080, nose butter double cork 1440 tail, switch triple cork 1260 screamin’ seamen mute, and a switch double 900 nose grab held through the landing. Sitting in seventh place after all that, if anyone can claim to have been snubbed by the judges, it’s probably him.
Alex Beaulieu-Marchand also had a good night, landing several different double bio and triple cork variations, including a stomped double bio 1440 safety to stale and a switch triple 1440 truck drive to octograb. But in this high-powered final round, even these feats weren’t enough to break into the podium, leaving him in fifth place.
Christian Nummedal landed a few big tricks, like a switch double 1800 tail and a triple 16 safety, and went for broke on his last hit with a switch triple 1800 but missed the grab. He had to settle for sixth place. Evan McEachran was simply off last night, only managing to land one trick in five attempts. For what it’s worth, that one trick was a mind-blowing switch triple cork 1620 mute.
When the dust settled, it was Harlaut atop the podium in a historic showing, as the judges rewarded his consistency, variety and flawless style. With 12 X Games medals to his name, Henrik now holds the record for skiers, one that likely won’t be broken for some time.
All in all, 61,920 degrees of rotation were spun last night throughout 40 different hits for an average of 1548 degrees of rotation per jump. Feel dizzy yet?