2013 Winter X Games Big Air Finals, Torstein Horgmo Wins
Photos: Chris Wellhausen
Words: Gerhard Gross
It came down to the last runs between Torstein Horgmo and Mark McMorris to decide the 2013 X Games big air winner Friday night. Three runs before, Torstein went for a switch backside double cork 1260 that looked like he was warming up to a switch backside triple cork. If you watched the video that dropped on Friday morning of Torstein doing that same trick for the first time at Keystone a few days ago you might have guessed that he would be trying it at X Games big air.
When Torstein landed a switch backside triple cork on the next try only to fall on the ride-out Mark knew he needed to step his game up if he wanted to win. In answer Mark tried a Cab triple cork 1440, a trick that had never been done before, but wasn't able to ride out. From then on it was race to see who would get their trick first, but the pressure was on Torstein most who was sitting in fourth place, just one point behind Seppe Smits.
On his last run Torstein landed a clean switch triple cork 1440, the first in a contest, earning him a perfect score of 50. As the last rider to drop, Mark went for a Cab 1440 triple cork, but with a little bobble on the landing he ended up with a score of 48. Way back on his first run Torstein landed a backside triple cork scoring him 44 points. Mark also landed the same trick on his first run but scored a 46. Since final scores come from a combination of riders' two best runs during the 18 minute finals jam Mark and Torstein were tied. In this situation the rider with the highest score on his last run is the winner. And so Torstein picked up his fourth X Games big air gold.
Overall it was a huge night for the progression of snowboarding. Although Halldor Helgason didn't qualify he landed his Lobster flip, a backside double rodeo 1260 japan, for the first time on film. Halldor actually did the trick at last year’s big air in between contest runs when no one was filming. This year he also landed a couple of toe-edge double rodeos with style that only Halldor can manage. With other rider’s getting triples and 1440s Halldor's double rodeos didn't score very high so to try to qualify he went for a triple backflip but over-rotated and knocked himself out bad enough to be carted off the course in a ski patrol sled and taken to hospital. It was a heavy bail to watch after Wednesday’s Aspen screening of Kevin Pearce’s film The Crash Reel, which deals with head injuries.
Seppe Smits, usually known for his flat spins also landed his first backside triple corks. Stale Sandbech was another to land his first contest backside triple cork and frontside 1440 back-to back on his first two runs putting him in first place for most of the event. Feeling comfortable he put on a style show on a few of his jumps with a buttery Cab 900 and backside 720 mute to switch method.
Ulrik Badertscher landed consistent backside 1620s all night.
Seb Toutant, who hurt his ribs during practice, came just 90 degrees short of a frontside triple cork 1620 on his last run in finals.
Just last year Mark and Torstein were the only two riders battling it out with triple corks in big air finals. This year riders were doing them in practice. Snowboarding has come a long way in 12 months.
1. Torstein Horgmo: 94
2. Mark McMorris: 94
3. Stale Sandbech: 91
4. Seppe Smits: 68
5. Ulrik Badertscher: 52
6. Sebastien Toutant: 48