The love affair between action sports and Aspen, Colorado continued in its 19th year, as X Games Aspen 2020 saw athletes turn out and fans turn up. Over 110,000 spectators were in attendance over the course of the four day event, over 10 times the population of the upper Roaring Fork Valley where Aspen is located.
Those at the games saw the emergence of some notable new competitors, to go along with winning performances from already established stars. Add in energetic musical sets from Rae Sremmurd, Bazzi, Alesso and Colorado’s own Illenium, and the action sports extravaganza was as thrilling as a Superman Backflip.
Sling was there to take in all of the excitement; below, check out our exclusive interviews, along with highlights, photos, and more.
Thursday, Jan. 23
Day one of the X Games Aspen was truly an international affair. Australian Scotty James continued his remarkable win streak, taking gold in the Monster Energy Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe for the second straight X Games Aspen and extending his overall win streak to 10 straight competitions since the start of the 2018-19 season. Japanese rider Yuto Totsuka claimed silver for the second year in a row, while Switzerland’s Jan Scherrer earned his first-ever X games medal by placing third.
Pacifico Women’s Snowboard Big Air was completely dominated by Japanese competitors. Breaking out a double backside rodeo, a frontside 1080 and a backside 1080 double cork in the jam session format, Miyabi Onitsuka took home gold in her very first X Games. Last year’s champ Kokomo Murase nabbed silver and Reira Iwabuchi earned bronze.
Friday, Jan. 24
On Friday, international athletes continued their winning streak, as Canada’s Brandon Cormier took gold at the Snowmobile Freestyle competition. In his very first X Games event, Cormier announced himself as an athlete to watch, landing a very-before-seen body variel. Two-time winner Daniel Bodin took silver, while Willie Elam collected his second bronze medal in the event.
With a collection of tricks that included double cork 1260 and a switch left 1080, Tess Ledeaux of France was the winner of the Women’s Ski Big Air competition. Two-time gold medalist Mathilde Gremaud brought home the silver while Switzerland’s Sarah Hoefflin won bronze.
At the Great Clips Men’s Ski Big Air, Sweden’s Henrik Harlaut took home his sixth gold medal in the event, making him the winningest skier in the history of the X Games. The victory brought his career full circle; 11 years ago, Harlaut landed the first-ever switch 1620, a trick he brought back in his record-breaking win.
“I’ve been working on my style for 11 years, trying to perfect it and tonight was the perfect night to bring it out with some flavor,” Harlaut said. Norwegian Birk Ruud and Switzerland’s Andrei Ragettli claimed silver and bronze, respectively.
Taylor Gold lived up to his name by taking the top spot at the Snowboard SuperPipe Session, a brand new event at X Games Aspen 2020. Rather than showcase monster tricks, the event is intended to emphasize overall style, something that Gold said will be good for the sport.
“I love the new format – it definitely caters to more creativity, which we really need in halfpipe riding especially and overall in snowboarding,” he said. Jake Pates took silver and Toby Miller claimed bronze; it was the first X Games medal for both athletes.
Saturday, Jan. 26
Saturday saw the start of the Jeep slopestyle events. First up was Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle, which featured yet another winning performance by the most dominant woman in the history of the discipline, Jamie Anderson. A two-time Olympic gold medalist in slopestyle, the Lake Tahoe native took the top spot on the podium for the second year in a row. Laurie Blouin won the silver, while Kokomo Murase won bronze.
Darcy Sharpe won Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle to claim his first X Games gold medal. In his best finish at the X Games, Mons Røisland took silver, while Colorado native Red Gerard earned his first X Games medal in his bronze-winning run.
Men’s Ski Slopestyle saw Colby Stevenson win his second gold of the X Games 2020. An X Games rookie, Stevenson announced himself as an athlete to watch, winning both slopestyle and the inaugural Ski Knuckle Huck. Swiss skiers Andri Ragettli and Fabian Boesch claimed silver and bronze, respectively.
Following an afternoon performance by bass music sensation Illenium, the women took over the SuperPipe for the evening. Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru won her fourth X Games gold medal, her first in the pipe, in the Women’s Ski event. Rachael Karker won silver while Darcy’s sister Cassie Sharpe made it a big day for the Sharpe family by claiming bronze.
The Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe final saw Queralt Castellet win her first-ever X Games gold in the event. In a walkoff win, the 30-year-old threw down back-to-back 900’s along with a cab 720 for another highlight in what she’s called “the most amazing season” of her career. Japanese riders extended their impressive year at the X Games as rookies Kurumi Imai and Haruna Masumoto took silver and bronze.
Men’s snowboarding finished out the Big Air events and it was a historic night, as Mark McMorris earned his 18th medal (silver), tying Shaun White for the most medals in the history of the Winter X Games. But in a very close contest, it was Max Parrot who threw down the winning run, which featured cab, backside and frontside 1620s, along with a cab 1800. Sven Thorgren of Sweden took bronze.
Sunday, Jan. 26
The last day of the X Games opened with a familiar result: Kelly Sildaru topping the podium in Women’s Ski Slopestyle. Sildaru has now claimed gold in all four of her X Games starts in the event; even more impressively, she’s done it all before the age of 18. Sarah Hoefflin took silver and American Maggie Voisin claimed bronze.
The final snowboarding events showcased the more creative side of the sport. Jesse Paul took gold in the new Jeep Snowboard Rail Jam, while X Games rookie Zeb Powell won the Wendy’s Snowboard Knuckle Huck.
After a strong weekend for international athletes, a pair of Aspen locals topped the podium in the Great Clips Men’s Ski SuperPipe competition. In the last run of the night, Alex Ferriera secured his second straight gold in the event, bumping fellow Aspenite Aaron Blunck down to silver. Canada’s Brendan MacKay took third.
The competitions wrapped up with Brett Turcotte taking gold in the Monster Energy Snow Bike Best Trick competition. X Games rookie Morgan Kaliszuk went home with silver and after missing last year’s X Games Aspen with injury, Jackson Strong returned to take bronze.
X Games Minneapolis takes place this summer from July 16-19. The X Games will also return to Aspen in 2021 for their 20th year.