During the finals, on the second to last kicker on the X Games Boardercross course, the impossible happened. Shaun Palmer, the only snowboarder to ever win an X Games Gold medal in BoarderCross and Drew Neilson got tangled up knocking both down. Neilson was able to regain his balance and continue riding, but Palmer was stopped when Seth Wescott, collided in from behind allowing Nielson to win the Gold. Palmer ended up forth.
The second day of the X Games was stacking up to lack excitement. The only snowboard event was the BoarderCross, and the incredibly narrow trail it was held on, made it even less spectator friendly then the discipline usually is. As usual, Palmer had already called in his win, and no one was expected anything out of the ordinary to occur.
With all this in mind, the crowd at the base of the course remained small throughout the day. More people could be found around the sides of the “Superpipe,” where the practice session was giving a preview into the Saturday’s event. The largest crowd was around the snocross course, but this group consisted mainly of redneck families in Ski-doo jackets and tight jeans. This element of the event was actually quite comical, and a definite detour from the usual snowboard contest scene.
Chris Englesman said the Boardercross was boring, but I think he was just upset because he got knocked out of the competition pretty early. He also didn’t stick around for the finals, which pretty much redeemed the whole day.
Since everyone was off doing various other things, not many people were there to see what was to occur on the Boardercross course. As I mentioned before, Palmer’s name was nearly on the check, and when he dropped into the course for his final heat and immediately got the hole shot, everyone pretty much expected that he would win as he always has. Then, on the second to last kicker it all went wrong for the Palm. Probably for the first time ever, Shaun crossed the finish line and went straight to first aid, not the podium. It’s rumored that he broke a few ribs in the collision.
The women’s race was slightly less eventful. The win went to Leslee Olson, one of the few girls to brave the death gap, which was made optional by the course. This is something that ESPN seems to do at their events. Personally, I don’t like it. Olson was rewarded for her bravery, because hitting the gap gave her a few seconds on her competitors, who had to go through the middle of it. She, along with the two other girls who hit it, were at a definite advantage. As for the men, if you didn’t hit the gap, you didn’t belong there, so everyone did.
Another feature of the Boardercross was that the time trials also served as qualifiers for Sunday’s Ultra Cross. The riders with the quickest times will participate in the crossover event, which includes skiers and snowboarders.
Men1. Drew Neilson
2. Scott Gaffney
3. Jason Ford
4. Shaun Palmer
5. Ryan Neptune
6. Seth Wescott
1. Leslee Olson
2. Carlee Baker
3. Line Oestvold
4. Alessia Follador
5. Jessica Dalpiaz
6. Julie Zell