Megan Oldham made history twice, in one jump, to take the women’s big air gold at X Games Aspen 2023. The Canadian landed the first-ever triple in women’s big air which led to the first-ever perfect score of 50 in the event. She was joined on the podium by defending champion Tess Ledeux and young Scottish rider, Kirsty Muir.
The start was later than advertised, causing mild panic from those watching on YouTube, as those tuning in to watch the first freeski event of X Games Aspen 2023 had to watch someone playing a video game instead!
When the action did get underway, late alternate Grace Henderson was the first to drop. She just missed the safety grab on her right double cork 1080 to open the scoring with a 23. Sandra Eie was next, and the Norwegian did the same trick to the left, but got her grab and was rewarded with a 28. Olivia Asselin matched her score with a switch left dub 10 mute.
The scores began to climb when young Scot Kirsty Muir’s left dub 10 earned her a 38. 2018 Big Air champ Sarah Hoefflin was next to put her cards on the table, but her switch left dub 10 safety was only given a 26 from the judges.
Then a taste of things to come, when Megan Oldham tried and (heroically) failed to land a left TRIPLE 14 mute. Next was another Swiss former winner, Mathilde Gremaud, whose stylish left dub10 safety received a 29.
The defending champ, Tess Ledeux, then took the lead with a 46 from a clean left dub 16 safety.
We then went back to Grace and she did the same right dub10, but got the safety this time and got earned the extra 5 points and took her combined total to 51. Neither Sandra nor Olivia landed their second, but Kirsty Muir moved into first with a left dub14 safety. Sarah Hoefflin spun the other way this time, with a switch right double 1080 mute.
Oldham fell again on another attempted triple, but Mathilde moved into second with a new trick for her: a left dub16 safety that earned her a score of 43. Tess Ledeux was not letting her title go easily as she retook the lead with a perfect switch left dub 12. After everyone completed their second run, Tess, Kirsty and Mathilde led the pack.
Neither Grace nor Sandra landed their third jump and Olivia Asselin was unlucky to catch an edge after landing her left dub10 safety, which still got her a score of 27. Kirsty Muir stayed in second when she stomped a perfect left dub10 safety and moved to 85 points. Sarah Hoefflin wasn’t super stable as she landed a switch right dub10, still had one of the more creative grabs of the night with a double mute, but then…
Sometimes world firsts are a bit "meh," but not this one: Megan sent her triple 14 massive, stomped it clean, and styled it out with a high mute grab held through multiple rotations. Photo: Joshua Duplechian/X Games
Megan Oldham made X Games—and freeski—history when she absolutely stomped her left triple cork 1440 mute perfectly on the third try. The judges had no choice but to hand the Canadian the first-ever perfect score of 50 to a woman in X Games Big Air. The champagne would have to stay on ice though, as despite her pioneering efforts, after falling in her first two jumps, Megan still needed to land another clean run to win in the best-two-jumps format.
Gremaud kept hold of a medal place after a left dub 12 safety, but Ledeux wasn’t giving up her title easily and improved her lead by two points, with her own left dub12 safety, but of the switch variety.
Defending champ Tess Ledeux did all she could to reclaim her title, but not even she could match the heat that Megan Oldham brought to the evening. Photo: Trevor Brown, Jr./X Games
Grace Henderson seemed to step up to the next level as she stomped a left dub12 blunt, which was recognised with her high score of the night, 35. Sandra moved into fourth, but no one bothered the podium until Oldham’s right dub 12 safety. That second score was all she needed, but only just, as she squeezed into the lead by a single point.
Perhaps feeling her title slipping away, Ledeux opened up on her left dub and crashed hard. Tess stayed down for a bit, but was soon back on her feet, seemingly unscathed.
With the clock ticking down, as the girls head into the final jump, Oldham was sitting in first by a single point. Grace, Sandra and Olivia all landed their final jumps with varying levels of poise, but none were strong enough, on the night, to bother the leaders.
Aiming to move up a step or two on the podium, Kirsty Muir missed the tail grab on her left dub14, but she remained in contention for her first-ever X Games medal. Hoefflin finally got a clean switch right dub10 double mute and earned a 41, but the night just wasn’t her night, and it wasn’t enough to change her position on the leaderboard.
Oldham went all out to improve her lead, but the record-breaker crashed on her attempt at a right dub14 safety.
The stage was set for Tess Ledeux to retake the top spot and retain her big air title, but her left dub10 tail wasn’t landed cleanly enough to do it, and she relinquished her title to Megan Oldham.
On a historic night in women’s freeskiing, Megan Oldham claimed her third X Games medal, but her first gold, with Tess Le Deux having to settle for silver with Kirsty Muir getting her hands on her first X medal, a bronze. However, on an entertaining, roller coaster night in women’s big air, nothing could take the spotlight off Megan Oldham and that historic triple.
Megan Oldham is flanked by Tess Ledeux in second and Kirsty Muir in third on the 2023 X Games Women's Big Air podium. Photo: Jamie Schwaberow/X Games