X Games Norway has been a tough one to pin down on the calendar. Two years ago, Oslo’s version of X debuted in March with full slopestyle, halfpipe and big air events. Last year, they moved to May and an outdoor scaffolding Big Air jump. This year, the Games popped up in Oslo on the last day of August as a one-day free-for-all in the Telenor Arena — complete with a Big Air inrun dropping in through a hole in the roof.
The unique format of the contest gave riders three hits to land their best tricks in two different directions (in this format, spinning regular leftside and switch leftside counts as “two different directions”). Ultimately, it was Alex Hall who was able to post the highest combined score and take the win.
MEDAL RUNS: Men´s Ski Big Air, X Games Norway 2019 (Youtube)
Hall’s key to victory was his mastery of what’s called the seatbelt japan+tail grab, a body-contorting double grab that A-Hall can seamlessly lace into his biggest contest tricks. That’s exactly what he did tonight, grabbing the seatbelt combo solidly through a forward double cork 1620 and a switch double cork 1440, and leaving the judges not much choice but to offer up the gold.
X Games Norway: Men´s Ski Big Air Full Replay (Youtube)
A-Hall was joined on the podium by Henrik Harlaut in second and Alex Beaulieu-Marchand in third. Fresh off a knee surgery but looking stronger than ever, Harlaut put down his signature switch triple “orbital” 1620 mute, backed up with a new rotation he’s been working on: a double flatspin-like 1260 safety. Meanwhile, ABM took two tries to land a massive switch triple cork 12 safety to the bottom of the landing, then stomped a clutch double bio 1080 safety to cuban on his third and final jump to secure his place on the podium.
It was an unfortunate showing for home-crowd favorites Christian Nummedal and Birk Ruud, who failed to break into the top three. Nummedal somehow recovered from a massive crash on a triple cork 16 attempt to take his final jump, while Ruud’s recent run on X Games gold medals is halted at two, at least for the time being. Canada’s Evan McEachran also struggled in the finals with a switch double 14, and will be looking forward to his next opportunity.