Last night in Aspen, Kelly Sildaru became the winningest teenager in X Games history.
Just a few months short of her 20th birthday, the Estonian ski wunderkind cruised to her second X Games gold medal in halfpipe and tenth X medal overall at the women’s ski halfpipe finals on 21 January, 2022 in Aspen, Colorado—beating out luminaries like Nyjah Huston and Shaun White in the overall medal count as a teen.
Kelly stuck to her standard run on Friday night, linking flawless grabbed spins in both directions—900s, 540s, alley-oop 540s and switch 540s. Though her amplitude wasn’t as big as others in the field, the judges rewarded her technical proficiency, flawless execution and consistent grabs.
Hot on Kelly’s heels was the American duo of Brita Sigourney and Hanna Faulhaber. One a seasoned veteran, the other an enthusiastic young gun, Brita and Hanna showed off huge hits in runs that scraped the top of the height meter. Hanna in particular went the biggest of any woman in the field, with a beautiful first-hit straight air that reached 18 feet out of the pipe. She backed up the massive amplitude with flairs in both directions and a clean cork 900, and held second place for much of the contest behind Kelly.
Hanna Faulhaber's amplitude is unmatched in the women's field. A few more rightside tricks and switch hits, and she'll be unstoppable. Photo: Tamara Susa/ESPN Images
However, she was ultimately nudged out for silver by Brita, her Team USA teammate, who stepped up her run in a big way with a huge cork 1080 halfway down the pipe.
Though the top 3 women skied well despite a a slow pipe filling with fresh snow, the night was marked as much by who wasn’t there as who was. Top halfpipe contender Eileen Gu opted to skip the X Games to focus on the upcoming Olympics, and Canada’s premiere pipe skiers Cassie Sharpe and Rachael Karker also weren’t in attendance.
Kelly Sildaru (gold), Brita Sigourney (silver), Hanna Faulhaber (bronze). Photo: Susa/ESPN