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Photos: Aaron Blatt
Words: Hondo

Flying into the Aspen airport is a terrifying experience. You’re thousands of feet above the ground in a metal tube and the wind blows the plane around like it’s made out of string. On either side of you are mountains just staring at you—wanting to destroy you if you get into their way. It’s probably the scariest 25 minutes ever.

So here we are at the X Games 16 in Aspen, Colorado, where the women flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I’ve never been here before, but I’ve heard the stories, heard the rumors. Today, January 26, was the first day of X: the men’s snowboard street contest, and hot damn was it insane.

All the features were raked to perfection thanks to Clayton Shoemaker and the SPT crew. With such a tight setup there was no excuse for the riders not to put a hurting to the course. The contest broken into two heats of five riders each. In heat number one it was Zak Hale, Johnnie Paxson, Forest Bailey, Nick Visconti, and Louif Paradis. Tricks like Paxson’s ally-oop wallride onto the shipping container, Visconti’s hard-way cab 360 onto the square down-bar, and Bailey’s back tails on the shipping container, well as Kanye West would say, “that shit cray.”

Heat two was also on point with riders Phil Jacques, Ryan Paul, Dylan Alito, Ethan Deiss, and Dan Brisse. One things for sure: Alito is a loose cannon. He was taking more laps, snaking everyone, and just doing whatever the hell he wanted all day. It was awesome and refreshing. Other standouts from the second heat were Phil Jacques with amazingly clean front-side 270’s on all of the rails and Dan Brisse’s front blunt 450 on the Jersey barrier.

In the end Forest Bailey, Ryan Paul, Ethan Deiss, Nick Visconti, and Phil Jacques made it to the finals. Phil and Ethan both gave the rails a serious beating. Phil has some of the cleanest style and Ethan just rides like a wild animal.  Coming in third was Visconti who pushed it all night with tricks like  cab hard-ways on the down bars. Ryan Paul took second place straight murking the course with a mix of super technical tricks including, of course, frontflips. He always looks like he has a good time when he’s riding.

There could only be one winner though and today that was Forest Bailey. He crushed every feature out there, and to top it off he was the only rider that didn’t ride the course during practice.

The street jam was a killer way to set off the 2012 X games. Stay tuned for more coverage of X Games 16

Final
RANK NAME TOP 1 TOP 2 TOP 3 TOP 4 BEST 2
• 1 Forest Bailey Watch Live 47.00 41.00 41.00 39.00 88.0
• 2 Ryan Paul Watch Live 44.00 39.00 36.00 18.00 83.0
• 3 Nick Visconti Watch Live 38.00 38.00 35.00 32.00 76.0
• 4 Ethan Deiss 9.00 41.00 33.00 27.00 74.0
• 5 Phil Jacques 10.00

10.00