Troy's agent should be happy. Troy's agent should also tell Troy to work on his interviews. Joshua Duplechian/X Games

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Trip 2160 FTW

Troy Podmilsak wins 2024 X Games Big Air

By: Ethan Stone January 27, 2024

On a night that saw never-been-done tricks, lots of missed grabs and yet another new judging format, Troy Podmilsak delivered what it took to claim his first X Games gold medal.

The new format offered just five runs to land three different tricks, and Troy spent three of those runs working on one trick: a switch rightside double bio 1980. After finally getting a good score on the switch 19, he had one more chance to put down a second tech trick, and he delivered the goods in the nick of time, landing his monster forward right triple 2160 mute clean to edge Alex Hall out of the top spot by a single point.

Winter X Games 2024 | Men's Ski Big Air Full replay X Games YouTube

Fresh faces in the field

This year’s Big Air saw some fresh faces in the start gate. Austrian style god Daniel Bacher made his first X Games appearance, as did his polar opposite, the Italian World Cup threat Miro Tabanelli—the guy with the heaven-sent switch 1980. Sebastian Schjerve has skied slopestyle before but this was his first Big Air, and Max Moffatt jumped into the fray at the last minute, replacing Matej Svancer who pulled out due to illness.

Style in play

The night opened with style—literally—as X Games tested yet another new judging format. In addition to two technical tricks that each made up 45% of the total score, this year riders also needed to put down a style trick that made up the final 10% of the overall score.

While it was definitely cool to see X include a style element, it seemed a bit odd to only offer one chance at a style trick—a do-or-die challenge that hurt riders like Max Moffatt, who didn’t get his trick right on his only chance to do so.

Even so, the style round still delivered some of the most memorable tricks of the night. Alex Hall’s beautiful zero spin safety and Mac Forehand’s rodeo 540 opp mute tweak topped out the judging scale at nine out of ten points, while Daniel Bacher’s switch 720 japan overtweak netted an eight.

Did Alex Hall get robbed in Aspen? Discuss. Mpu Dinani/X Games

A tight contest

With 30 minutes on the jam-session clock and the first run given up to style tricks, competitors only had time for four more runs—four chances to land their best two tech tricks.

This was a tight space to get some quality skiing done, and indeed everything about this contest seemed a little tight. The speed was tight, with multiple riders struggling to go big enough to get their big tricks in. Even the landing was tight, with crash fences delineating a narrow landing strip with little room for error. One of the night’s most memorable moments was when Dani Bacher hooked an edge on the landing and blasted straight through a crash fence at full speed. Thankfully he emerged unscathed, but still, it was a sign that this year’s X Games Big Air jump wasn’t the most optimal venue for the huge throwdowns we’ve seen in the past at this event.

Skiing-wise, Alex Hall shone throughout the night as one of the only riders to land five tricks clean. Following up on his zero spin safety in the style round, A-Hall got started with a flawless switch right double cork 12 bringback to 1080, a new variation of his right dub 9 bringback that we’ve never seen before. After netting a score of 37 with that trick, Alex served up a switch left tail-butter double cork 1440 opp japan, then stepped up the same trick to an 1800. This was doubtless the biggest tail-butter rotation ever done, but unfortunately Alex seemed to struggle with the speed and wasn’t able to send it deep into the landing, which probably hurt his score by a point or two. That point or two ended up being the difference between gold and silver.

Third place went to fan favorite Dani Bacher, who like his good buddy Matej Svancer, is always on a mission to bring something new to the table. Tonight—besides skiing through fences at full speed—that included a tail-tap double cork 1080 safety and a switch tail butter 1440.

The field’s other heavy hitters didn’t have much luck. Defending champion Mac Forehand put down a huge triple cork 1800 mute as well as a never-been-done triple 16 bringback, but struggled with a switch triple 18 tail that definitely would have put him on the podium if he’d landed clean.

It also wasn’t the night for Mr. Big Air himself, Birk Ruud, who wasn’t able to find the speed for a double bio 1980 mute. Last-minute addition Max Moffatt missed a few crucial grabs—he was doubtless tired after playing a SLVSH game and slopestyle training earlier in the day. Miro Tabanelli struggled with the switch double 1980 tail that he’s landed flawlessly in other contests, and Sebastian Schjerve didn’t quite nail the grab combo on a switch left double 1800 tail to japan.

With some of these big names not bringing their A-game, the field was open for an up-and-comer like Troy Podmilsak to seal the deal, and that’s exactly what he did, landing two of the night’s biggest tricks and riding away with his first X Games gold. It probably won’t be his last.

Men's big air podium: Troy Podmilsak, Alex Hall, Dani Bacher. Trevor Brown, Jr./X Games