Though the X Games Oslo Big Air venue in Tøyen had been quiet throughout the week, it roared to life on Saturday with four finals back-to-back and a huge crowd to cheer on as Scandiavians dominated the competition.
It’s a given that hosting the X Games is a huge logistical investment for a ski resort, and it might be an even bigger one for a city that’s got ice on the sidewalk instead of hills and snow. In this setting, it makes sense to do a big air rather than a slopestyle—making the huge scaffolding jump a necessity. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to prepare for just one day of fun for the public, but that one day is most certainly worth all the effort.
Watch all the runs HERE
At 16:00 the women kick off the competition at the center of concentric rings of attention: people watching worldwide on the livestream, random people in the crowd on site, the media, athlete support and event staff. And a huge amount of cameras too, because don’t forget: this is a TV show!
Women’s Skiing, Women’s Snowboarding, Men’s Skiing, Men’s Snowboarding and some shitty music shows in between. Here’s tonight’s program, and what a night it is!
The women’s contest is far from laughable: Johanne Killi kicks things off with a fantastic cork 9 tail; newly 14-year-old Kelly Sildaru opts to spin rightside with a beautiful cork 720 reverse mute, barely managing to clear the landing; and Tiril S. Christiansen puts down a classy switch 10 tail.
Unfortunately not all competitors got to work their way up to their biggest tricks, with the two-jump format replacing the “jam session” format that’s been in place at the X Games in Aspen for some time. But running a jam session is apparently a lot more difficult when you have to elevator the athletes up a 57 meter high scaffolding.
On the last jump of the contest, Tiril stomps her switch 10 with authority, knocking her countrywoman Johanne Killi from the top spot and turning the Oslo X Games Women’s Big Air into a 1-2 sweep for Norway. Doesn’t get much better than that for a host country!
After the snowboard women take their turn, the ski men start their warmup with everything from switch 5s to doubles, and then the final is on. The first trick from Klaus Finne is a double cork 1440 tail that’s scored 88 points — okay, it’s REALLY on, and the scores keep going up from there. A few runs later Henrik Harlaut lands an absolutely insane nose butter double cork 1260 blunt, undoubtedly the most stylish trick of the day, while Fabian Bösch goes big on his triple cork 1620 safety to move into the lead. After that, well—you’ve got the videos and the scores to tell you what happened.
If these finals were awesome and the public somewhat responsive, we can still see how much the made-for-TV setting destroys the feeling of freeskiing with its time restrictions, advertising and the limited importance of the MCs who normally warm up the crowd.
This is the limit of a show that’s mainly focused on the TV production, a show that’s not connected to its public, a show that doesn’t allow for any kind of fantasy like a rapid-fire drop or tandem jumps.
Besides all of that, which we already know because we’re talking about X Games, this Big Air competition was a real success, with a great kicker and mostly due to the talents of the skiers we now have on the scene.
See you tomorrow for the pipe finals!