X Games XIII Big Air

Mikkel Bang. Photo: Chris Wellhausen

This year's big air played out a lot like last years. And then again it didn't.

The format was the same. 4 riders. Two go head-to-head, one advances. Mikkel Bang, Torstein Horgmo, Andreas Wiig and Travis Rice were the dudes doing the damn thing. Mikkel and Andreas got knocked out in the first round, despite some seriously heavy tricks.

So, this year, like last, it was Torstein vs. Travis in the finals. Tor did a switch back 12. And Rice did a double back rodeo. And that's how it went down again this year.

But, this time around the people were empowered. The judging was based on text messages. The viewers voted and in the end it was Travis that took it.

When the audience has the final say, flips will. They always do. And that isn't to say that Travis' double back rodeos weren't gnarly. They were. But when it came down to it, this year's big air was a popularity contest.
This sentiment was echoed throughout the night. Everyone agreed. The recognizable names got the most votes.

Consider this: Mikkel Bang put down two perfect switch backside 1260s. Tonight was the first night he'd ever done 'em. But, Mikkel was pitted against Travis in the first round and Rice came out flipping. And when the texts settled, Travis got 92 percent of the votes and Mikkel got 8.

8 percent of the votes for stomping a switch back 12. Really? Kinda weird right? Even Travis said Mikkel deserved more credit.

Those that know, knew. But, ESPN decided that that's how'd it go down. And so it went.
Travis and Torstein advanced to the finals, each rider took two runs, both dudes did their respective tricks, and the crowd gathered, and those watching at home texted their mind.

Travis got 78 percent of the vote, and Torstein pulled in 22 percent.
It was the democratic process applied to snowboarding and that's it. Was it right? Did the best man win?

Talk amongst yourselves. Fill that comment board. Let's here what you think. Is the double back rodeo 10 gnarlier or does the switch back 12 deserve the win? Or I guess the more important question is: Should big air be judged by the people?

What d'ya say?


Heat 1a

Torstein Horgmo: 67%

Andreas Wiig: 33%

Heat 1b

Travis Rice: 92 %

Mikkel Bang: 8%


Travis Rice: 78%

Torstein Horgmo: 22%