The X Games returned to Norway this weekend, where the freeski action kicked off Saturday, March 8 with the Men’s and Women’s Big Air contests, as well as the Knuckle Huck.
Women’s Big Air: Oldham wins a dub 12 battle
The women were first in the start gate for the Big Air finals. With heavyweights like Sarah Hoefflin and Tess Ledeux out with injuries, Mathilde Gremaud bowing out after a crash in practice and Kelly Sildaru not in attendance, the chances were ripe for a newcomer to make podium moves.
That newcomer turned out to be Megan Oldham. Lingering outside the podium after four jumps, Oldham pulled out all the stops on her final hit, stomping a massive double cork 12 safety clean on the third try. Combined with earlier jumps like a switch 10 mute and cork 900 tail, the huge double cork propelled her from fourth place in to first ahead of Maggie Voisin.
Voisin stomped a clean double 12 safety of her own as well as a rodeo 900 japan and a right cork 900 tail, and looked to be the clear winner until Oldham’s final jump upset the ranking. Johanne Killi, meanwhile, secured third place with the help of a big switch right double cork 1080 japan, switch left cork 720 japan, cork 900 tail, and a last-hit switch right bio 1080 japan that helped her bump Giulia Tanno off the podium.
Tanno, who’d been in second place after dialing in a near-perfect double cork 1080, suddenly found herself fighting to regain a podium position on her last jump. She went all out on a double cork 12 attempt, but took a hard slam. Margaux Hackett ended in fifth with a switch bio 900 tail and a cork 900, alternate Silvia Bertagna took sixth with a cork 900 tail and a switch 900 mute, and Jennie-Lee Burmansson kept it stylish, spinning only switch and forward 540s that looked great, but kept her in seventh place.
X Games Norway 2020: Women's Ski Big Air results
Men’s Big Air: Adelisse continues his winning streak
The ski men wasted no time in putting on a show in Hafjell. The first run opened with a flurry of different 1620 rotations from seven of the eight competitors. Chief among them was Antoine Adelisse’s triple cork 16 mute, which he backed up on his next hit with his now-signature pre-nose grab switch triple cork 1440, also stomped clean.
The two tricks gave the Frenchman, who’s been on a big-air run of late, a significant opening lead, while posing the question: what else did Antoine have to bring to this contest? He answered that question on his fourth and fifth jumps, stomping a switch double cork 14 safety to tail and a powerhouse switch bio 1620 safety to silence any doubters. A few months after narrowly missing the podium at the Aspen X Games, Adelisse walked away with the gold in Norway.
Behind him in second was local boy Birk Ruud. Ruud started off the evening with a huge switch double 16 tail and double bio 14 mute to double japan, before moving on to his real showstoppers: a massive switch double 1800 tail and forward double bio 1800 mute. He somehow managed to stomp both at the very bottom of the landing, securing a well-deserved silver medal and bringing “big air” to this contest in a very literal way.
The Swiss duo of Fabian Bösch and Andri Ragettli won the night in terms of consistency, each going five for five on their tricks. Ragettli chased Bösch up the rankings throughout the contest, eventually bumping him from the top three with the help of a clean triple 16 safety and a switch double misty 16 safety. Bösch blasted out a double flatspin 1260 screamin’ seamen, double cork 16 tail, switch double 14 double japan, triple 16 safety and a switch right double misty 14, but had to settle for fifth after Ragettli, then Alex Hall overtook him in the ranking.
Hall seemed uncharacteristically off in this contest but still managed to make fourth, tossing a double cork 1620 with his signature seatbelt double grab—which apparently we’re calling a buick grab now—and a switch double 1800 cuban. Henrik Harlaut landed several clean tricks, including a double bio 16 safety and a switch triple 14 safety, to end in sixth place. Jesper Tjäder took seventh despite one of the most impressive performances of the night, with a switch double cork pretzel that must be seen to be believed, and Colby Stevenson, who like his buddy A-Hall also didn’t seem to find the groove, took a disappointing eight place.
X Games Norway 2020 Men's Ski Big Air results
Knuckle Huck: A-Hall upsets Jesper and Henrik
Saturday evening ended on an entertaining note with the second installment of the Ski Knuckle Huck. Norwegian knuckle-jib master Petter Ulsletten and The Bunch OG Lucas Stål-Madison joined six of their counterparts from the men’s Big Air field to slop style all over the knuckle of the Big Air jump during a 20-minute session.
Right out of the gate, Henrik Harlaut looked hungry for a Knuckle Huck gold, tossing a nosebutter double cork 1260 on his first hit. Meanwhile Petter Ulsletten put on an unconventional display of knuckle tactics, including a switch 270 to tokyo drift misty 630 out and an eye-opening bodyslide trick that looked like a hybrid between a polish doughnut and a rodeo 7. LSM was also in the mix with style tricks, from a layback pre-tail grab cork 180 blunt to the left side, matched with an opposite hand-drag cork 180 to the right.
But it was Jesper Tjäder who held the top position for most of the 20-minute jam, kicking things off with an opposite hand drag cork 1080 and backing it up with a nutty switch double backflip. He led coming into the final round of tricks, until Alex Hall—who’d been nosebutter 9ing and switch 10ing the evening away—unleashed a huge switch double 1440 with a tail tap to the bottom of the landing, a power move that propelled him to the top of the podium.
He may not have held onto it long—the next skier to drop was Henrik Harlaut, who looked to add a switch tailbutter to the start of his nosebutter 12. Somehow Henrik’s bindings held up through out that buttering, but gave out on the landing of the otherwise clean trick, sending E-Dollo tumbling and netting Alex Hall his third X Games gold medal.
X Games Norway 2020 Ski Knuckle Huck results